Department of Neuroscience

Neuroscience Seminar Series

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Neuroscience seminars attract distinguished leaders and scientists from around the United States and internationally. They are an important aspect of the rich academic environment that is cultivated in our department. The 2021/2022 Neuroscience Seminar Series will launch on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 and conclude on Friday, May 27, 2022. Due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community, the format for the series will continue to be virtual (via Zoom) until further notice. The date and time for all seminars remain Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon (CST). Our weekly events are open to all members of the larger neuroscience community at the Texas Medical Center.  

Join via Zoom

To receive Zoom login information or weekly reminders, please contact Sheila Gurwitch at gurwitch@bcm.edu. There will be a unique zoom link set up for each seminar to ensure the security of our series.  

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Seminar Speakers April - May, 2022

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April 1, 2022: Nicola Allen, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Nicola Allen is associate professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Seminar title: Astrocyte regulation of neuronal synapses. Seminar host Dr. Benjamin Deneen, Professor of Neurosurgery and Dr. Russell J. and Marian K. Blattner Chair in the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor. 

April 8, 2022: Tiffany Schmidt, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Tiffany Schmidt is an associate professor in the Neurobiology Department at Northwestern University. Seminar title: Illuminating visual circuits. Seminar host: Dr. Melanie Samuel, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and the Huffington Center for Aging at Baylor College of Medicine.  

April 15, 2022: Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D.

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11 a.m. in Cullen auditorium (and streamed by Zoom). Dr. Kafui Dzirasa is K. Ranga Rama Krishnan Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Center for Neuroengineering at Duke University Medical Center. Seminar Title: Discovering and regulating brain networks underlying emotions. Seminar host: Matthew McGinley, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
 

April 22, 2022: Kimberly Stachenfeld, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Kimberly Stachenfeld is a Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind/Google where she is working to make machines that learn structure in the world that can support efficient learning and planning, using insights from neuroscience. Seminar title: Representation Learning, Relational Reasoning, and the Hippocampal-Entorhinal Circuit. Faculty host:host: Dr. Xaq Pitkow, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence at Baylor College of Medicine and Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University.
 

April 29, 2022: Alice Lam, M.D. Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom.  Dr. Alice Lam is an assistant professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital.  Seminar title: The Crossroads of Alzheimer’s Disease and Epilepsy. Faculty host: Dr. Jeannie Chin, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

May 6, 2022: Na Ji, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. in Kleberg Auditorium (and streamed by Zoom). Dr. Na Ji is the the Luis Alvarez Memorial Chair in Experimental Physics and an associate professor of neurobiology at the University of California Berkeley. Seminar title: Imaging the brain at high spatiotemporal resolution. Faculty host: Dr. Francois St. Pierre, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University.

May 13, 2022: Melanie Samuel, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. in N-315 Auditorium in Alkek (and streamed by Zoom). Dr. Melanie Samuel is an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine. Seminar title: It’s not you, it’s me: Cell intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that govern neural connectivity. Faculty host: Dr. Paul Pfaffinger, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

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Seminar Speakers January – March, 2022

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Jan. 7, 2022: Sonia Villapol, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Villapol is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and the Center for Neuroregeneration at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI). Additionally, Dr. Villapol is an assistant professor of neuroscience in neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in NY. Seminar title: “The role of the gut microbiome in the neuropathology of brain injury”. Faculty host: Trent Watkins, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

Jan. 14, 2022: Jeffery L. Twiss, M.D., Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Twiss is a professor and the SmartState chair in childhood neurotherapeutics in the Department Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina and Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience at the School of Medicine Columbia. Additionally, he is the associate dean for research and graduate studies (research concentration – neurobiology) at the University of South Carolina Seminar title: Targeting axon-intrinsic mechanisms to improve neural repair. Faculty host: Trent Watkins, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

Jan. 21, 2022: Annapurna Poduri, M.D., Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Poduri is an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, associate in neurology at the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Department of Neurology, and the director of the Epilepsy Genetics Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Seminar title: Mosaicism in Epilepsy: from Human Genetics to Models. Faculty host: Hsiao-Tuan Chao, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Pediatrics-Neurology, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and investigator in the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Jan. 28, 2022: Rodrigo F. Morales, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Morales is an associate professor of neurology at the Mitchell Center For Alzheimer's Disease & Brain Disorders at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston. Seminar title: Amyloid-beta conformational 'strains' and their potential role in Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Faculty host: Joanna Jankowsky, Ph.D., professor in the Departments of Neuroscience, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Feb. 4, 2022: Demaris Lorenzo, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Lorenzo is an assistant professor of cell biology and physiology at the UNC Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Seminar Title: Genetics and Functional Mechanisms of the SPTBN1 syndrome. Faculty host: Matthew Rasband, Ph.D., professor and Vivian L. Smith endowed chair in neuroscience and director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, Baylor College of Medicine.

Feb. 25, 2022: Gina Poe, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Poe is professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology Jane and the Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. Seminar Title: What we do and don’t yet know about how sleep serves memory consolidation and removal of unnecessary synapses to refresh novelty-encoding pathways. Seminar host: Neuroscience Graduate Program students, represented by Jacqunae Mays, neuroscience Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Mauro Costa-Mattioli, Ph.D.

March 4, 2022: Malú Gámez Tansey, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. by Zoom. Dr. Malú Tansey is the Norman and Susan Fixel professor of neuroscience and neurology and co-director of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease and the Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center at the University of Florida. Seminar title: Targeting chronic inflammation and solTNF to lower risk for development of age-related neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Tansey was invited to give a lecture in our seminar series by neuroscience postdocs and her host is Dr. Ahmet Uysal, postdoctoral associate in the lab of Dr. Daoyun Ji.

 

March 11, 2022: Bosiljka Tasic, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Bosiljka Tasic is the director of Molecular Genetics at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Wash.  Seminar title: Cell types of adult mouse cortex: definition and experimental access. Faculty host: Mirjana Maletic-Savetic, M.D. Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics, neurology and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

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March 18, 2022: Helen Bateup, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Helen Bateup is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Seminar Title: The mutli-faceted roles of Tsc-mTOR signaling in neural development, function and disease. Seminar Host: Neuroscience Students, represented by Mr. James Okoh (class of 2018) in the lab of Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli.  

March 25, 2022: Mayank Mehta, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Mayank Mehta is a professor of physics and astronomy, neurology, and neurobiology at the Brain Research institute at the University of California Los Angeles. Seminar title: To be Announced. Seminar host: Daoyun Ji, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and molecular and cell biology at Baylor College of Medicine.

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Seminar Speakers December 2021

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Dec. 3, 2021: Michelle Olsen, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Olsen is an associate professor and the director of graduate studies at the School of Neuroscience at Virginia’s Tech. Seminar title: BDNF signaling onto astrocyte TrkB.T1 - a novel mechanism driving astrocyte structural plasticity. Faculty host: Hyun K. Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Section of Neurology, and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, and member of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Dec. 10, 2021: Christos Constantinidis, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Constantinidis is a professor of biomedical engineering, neuroscience, and ophthalmology & visual sciences at Vanderbilt University. Seminar title: Plasticity of working memory through training and deep brain stimulation. Faculty host: Dorina Papageorgiou, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dec. 17, 2021: Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Brown is the Warren M. Zapol professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and Edward Hood Taplin professor of computational neuroscience and health sciences & technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also an investigator in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. Seminar title: Rethinking General Anesthesia. Faculty host: Andreas Tolias, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of Center for Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence at Baylor College of Medicine.

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Seminar Speakers September – November 2021

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Sept. 10, 2021: Michelle Antoine, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Michele Antoine is a Distinguished NIH scholar and the acting chief of the Section on Neural Circuits at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at NIH. Seminar title: Circuit homeostasis: keeping a level head when the brain gets hot. Seminar host: Mingshan Xue, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and Caroline DeLuca Scholar in the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.

Sept. 17, 2021: Melissa Blessing, D.O.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Blessing is an assistant professor in the Departments of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Seminar title: Autopsy as Research; Oncologic and Forensic Collaborations in Neuroscience and Beyond. Seminar host: Russell Ray, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; McNair Scholar, Baylor College of Medicine.

Sept. 24, 2021: Michelle D. Jones-London, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Michelle Jones-London is the chief of the Office of Programs to Enhance Neuroscience Workforce Diversity at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at NIH. Seminar title: NINDS Strategies for Enhancing the Diversity of Neuroscience Researchers. Seminar host: Jennifer L. Johnson, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in the Departments of Genetics and Neuroscience, in the lab of Dr. Huda Zoghbi.

Oct. 15, 2021: Elly Nedivi, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Elly Nedivi is the William R. (1964) and Linda R. Young professor of neuroscience and investigator in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Seminar title: Mapping inputs to individual L2/3 pyramidal neurons, with implications for cortical ‘read out’ of visual input. Seminar host: Kimberley Tolias, Ph.D., associate professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Oct. 22, 2021: Barani Raman, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Barani Raman is professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Seminar title: Do insects smell like primates see color? A hypothesis for olfactory coding. Seminar host: Fabrizio Gabbiani, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. 

Nov. 5, 2021: Costantino Iadecola, M.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Costantino Iadecola is the director and chair of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Anne Parrish Titzell professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Seminar title: The microvascular side of neurodegeneration: from bench to bedside. Seminar host: David Ress, Ph.D., associate professor in the Departments of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

Nov. 12, 2021: Jun Ding, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Jun Ding is an associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. Seminar title: Motor learning induced cortical and striatal synaptic plasticity. Faculty host: Joanna Jankowsky, Ph.D., professor in the Departments of Neuroscience, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Nov. 19, 2021: Lisa Topolnik, Ph.D.

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11 a.m. via Zoom. Dr. Topolnik is a researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec and professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Bio-informatics of Laval University’s College of Science and Engineering. Seminar title: Hippocampal disinhibitory circuits: cell types, connectivity and function. Faculty host: Xiaolong Jiang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, and researcher in the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital.

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Seminar Series Journal Club

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Join us! Seminar Series Journal Club is held Wednesdays preceding the week's Friday speaker.

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Additional Journal Clubs

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See other opportunities in neuroscience.