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Megan Perkins Successfully Defends Dissertation

April 6, 2022

Congratulations to Megan Perkins in Dr. Vizzard's lab. She successfully defended her dissertation entitled, "Effects of Imatinib Mesylate on Urinary Bladder Function and Inflammatory Mediators in Mice with Cyclophosphamide-Induced Cystitis". Well done, Dr. Perkins!

NGP Student Spotlight: Megan Perkins

March 29, 2022

Student Spotlight: Megan Perkins! This monthly series spotlights NGP students to showcase different aspects of neuroscience research at UVM and the individuals performing it. This month’s spotlight student is Megan Perkins! Megan is from Austin, Texas and received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Looking for a change, Megan headed north for her graduate studies to the wonderful state of Vermont. She joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2015 and is advised by Dr. Margaret Vizzard.

"When I talk to people who are not familiar with neuroscience research, they often ask me what the bladder has to do with the brain, and I find myself going on a rant, 'There’s more to the nervous system than the brain and the spinal cord!'"


Blog Student Spotlight: Nick Fontaine!

March 1, 2022

Student Spotlight: Nick Fontaine! This monthly series spotlights NGP students to showcase different aspects of neuroscience research at UVM and the individuals performing it. This month’s spotlight student is Nick Fontaine. Nick earned his B.S. in Neuroscience at UVM and worked with Dr. Hugh Garavan on human neuroimaging research as an undergraduate. Nick joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2019 and is advised by Dr. Jom Hammack.

"I was always really curious about why people acted the way they do. [...] The more I learned about psychology, the deeper I wanted to go to understand the neural machinery driving such actions on a cellular level."


On the Blog - Conference Retrospective: The Whole Venn Diagram of Epilepsy Research at AES 2021

February 2, 2022

Erin Cullen, an NGP student in Dr. Matt Weston’s lab, attended the American Epilepsy Society (AES) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL in December 2021.

"It was my first national scientific conference, almost everyone around me had an MD or PhD or both on their nametags, I’d learned more about my field’s cutting edge in the last few days than I had in my previous four years of graduate school, and now, I felt like a middle schooler trying to sneak into an R rated movie."

Read her story here!


Blog Student Spotlight: Jenan Husain!

January 28, 2022

“I grew up watching Indian soap operas and there's this famous trope of main characters suffering from complete retrograde amnesia, forgetting all of their past memories. Though a very unlikely scenario in real life, this did spark my initial interest in the brain.”


Blog Student Spotlight: McKenna Perry!

November 16, 2021

Student Spotlight: McKenna Perry! This monthly series spotlights NGP students to showcase different aspects of neuroscience research at UVM and the individuals performing it. This month’s spotlight student is McKenna Perry. McKenna earned her B.S. in Neuroscience at Mercer University and did summer research in Dr. John Green’s lab at UVM as an undergraduate. She joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2019 and is advised by Dr. Denise Peters.


Blog post: NGP-CMB R Seminar, a Student-Run Workshop for 21st Century Scientists!

November 8. 2021

To help students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) and Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences Program (CMB) get familiar with the important skillset of data science, NGP students Jeff Brabec and Montana Lara designed the NGP-CMB R Seminar. The seminar introduces basic data analysis and visualization with R for students with or without prior data science experience. The seminar style allows for brief presentations about specific coding and analytical techniques with real-time coding and problem solving. While there is a set syllabus on topics covered, they also have office hours where they can dedicate more time to specific data-related problems and continue to build a computational community. Read more to learn about this useful seminar!


Blog Student Spotlight: Theresa Legan!

October 25, 2021

Student Spotlight: Theresa Legan! This monthly series spotlights NGP students to showcase different aspects of neuroscience research at UVM and the individuals performing it. This month’s spotlight student is Theresa Legan. Theresa is originally from Connecticut and completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a concentration in neuroscience, at Williams College. Theresa was a collegiate athlete as an undergraduate, playing for the Williams College softball team. She joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) in 2017 and is advised by Dr. Gary Mawe.


NGP White Coat Ceremony

October 15, 2021

On Friday, October 15, we held our annual Lab Coat Ceremony and Reception in honor of the second year NGP students choosing a dissertation lab. It was great to celebrate in person again this year with friends, family and the NGP community joining us at the Davis Center, and online as well!

Jenan Husain will be joining Benedek Erdos’ Lab in Pharmacology. Pranav Mathkar will be joining Matt Weston’s Lab in Neurological Sciences. Dan Peipert will be joining Dimitry Krementsov’s Lab in the Department of Biomedical and Health Sciences. Abigail Testo will be joining Julie Dumas’ Lab in Psychiatry. 

Welcome to your labs, students!


Student Blog Post: "Neuroplasticity and the acquisition of maladaptive behaviors"

October 14. 2021

New blog post from first-year NGP student Clemens Probst!
"The fact that learning is accompanied by changes in neuronal representations is just beginning to play a major role in psychiatric thinking. The prospect of getting rid of old and adverse neuronal connections and replacing them with new ones has significant therapeutic implications for people who are suffering from mental illness and I hope to contribute to this effort with my own research here at UVM."


Student Blog Post: "The Gene Hunt in Autism Spectrum Disorder"

October 6. 2021

New blog post from Montana Kay Lara, a PhD candidate in the UVM Neuroscience Graduate Program! This month, she discusses new insights into the genetic architecture of Autism spectrum disorder.


NGP Student Blog Is Back!

October 4, 2021

Great news, the NGP Student Blog is back! We're excited to share our first Student Spotlight: Callum Thomas! This monthly series spotlights NGP students to showcase different aspects of neuroscience research at UVM and the individuals performing it.


NGP Student Megan Perkins Gives Advice in a Recent Blog Post

September 17, 2021

Megan Perkins is a sixth-year student in the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Vermont. She plans to graduate in the fall 2021 and, below, offers advice to incoming graduate students just starting their journeys.


Patrick Mullen Successfully Defends Dissertation

August 5, 2021

Congratulations to Patrick Mullen in Dr. Chris Francklyn and Dr. Alicia Ebert's lab. He successfully defended his dissertation entitled, "Investigating the mechanisms linking mutations in the protein synthesis apparatus to neurological disease". He has accepted a faculty position right here at UVM in the Biology Department. Well done, Patrick!

Katharine Beča Successfully Defends Dissertation

July 12, 2021

Congratulations to Katharine I. K. Beča in Dr. Margaret Vizzard's Lab on her successful defense of her dissertation entitled, "Mediators of Bladder Dysfunction in a Rat Model of Cyclophosphamide-Induced Cystitis". She will now be working as a Biomedical Science and Health Writer at a company called Palladian Partners in Silver Spring, Maryland. Palladian Partners works with nonprofit and government clients, such as the NIH and FDA, to translate research into strategically targeted communications to improve public access to important health and science information.

Here is a taste of Katharine's written work in the Larner College of Medicine Blog.

Congratulations, Katharine!

Zhaojin Li Successfully Defends Dissertation

July 7, 2021

Congratulations to Zhaojin Li, Cipolla Lab, for her successful defense of her dissertation entitled, "Functional Characterization of Leptomeningeal Anastomoses in Physiological Condition and Chronic Hypertension". She has accepted a Senior Research Associate position at Calico, a pharmaceutical company founded by Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc., in south San Francisco. She will be joining an in vivo sciences/pharmacology team, working on aging and age-associated diseases. Best of luck, Zhaojin!

Willie Curry Successfully Defends Dissertation

June 14, 2021

Willie Curry, Dr. Rod Scott's Lab, successfully defended his dissertation entitled, "The Effects of Interneuron Progenitor Cell Transplantation on Network Dynamics in an Animal Model of Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy". Join us in congratulating his success!

Wolfgang Dostmann awarded the 2020-2021 Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award

June 3, 2021

Wolfgang Dostmann, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and NGP faculty, was awarded the University of Vermont’s 2020-2021 Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award at the rank of professor. The award recognizes Dr. Dostmann’s “commitment to the greatness and virtue of instruction and ... efforts at cultivating an inclusive environment conducive to exceptional learning.”

Read more about the 2020-21 Kroepsch-Maurice awardees>>

Yu Han Successfully Defends Dissertation

May 14, 2021

Congratulations to Yu Han, Dr. Prelock's lab, on her successful defense of her dissertation entitled "Brain-Behavior Connections Underlying Emotion and Theory of Mind in Autism Spectrum Disorder". She has accepted a postdoc position working with Dr. Shaun Purcell at Harvard Medical School. Best of luck, Yu!

Cipolla Among 11 Leading Scientists Honored at International Stroke Conference

March 23, 2021

NGP faculty member, Marilyn Cipolla, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences, was one of 11 scientists honored for their exceptional achievements during the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2021, which took place March 17-19. Dr. Cipolla was selected as the recipient of the Thomas Wills Lecture Award, which recognizes contributions to the investigation and management of stroke basic science. Dr. Cipolla’s presentation, titled “Targeting Brain Arterioles for Acute Stroke Treatment,” was made available to attendees as an On Demand, pre-recorded session.


Adrian Dutkiewicz Successfully Defends Dissertation

February 26, 2021

NGP student, Adrian Dutkiewicz, Ph.D., defended his dissertation, titled “Network and Cellular Effects of the Mu Opioid Receptor in Cortical Interneurons,” on February 26, 2021. A mentee of Anthony Morielli, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences, Dr. Dutkiewicz is now a postdoctoral research fellow at Eurofins.

Daniella Thorsdottir Successfully Defends Dissertation

February 17, 2021

NGP student in Dr. Benedek Erdo's Lab, Daniella Thorsdottir, successfully defended her dissertation entitled: "The Role of BDNF-Mediated Neuroplasticity in Cardiovascular Regulation within the Hypothalamus and Brainstem”. Congratulations, Daniella!

Patrick Mullen Awarded the 2020-21 Rodney L. Parsons Anatomy and Neurobiology Award

February 8, 2021

The University of Vermont Graduate College announced that the winner of the Rodney L. Parsons Anatomy and Neurobiology Award is NGP's own Patrick Mullen! Pat is a PhD candidate in Dr. Alicia Ebert and Dr. Chris Francklyn's lab.

Read more>>

Dr. Christopher Francklyn Named AAAS Fellow

November 24, 2020

NGP faculty member, Christopher Francklyn, along with Taylor Ricketts and Rory Waterman are new UVM Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society.

Read More>>


NGP Virtual White Coat Ceremony

November 13, 2020

On Friday, November 13, NGP held our annual Lab Coat Ceremony and Reception in honor of the second year NGP students choosing a dissertation lab. This year due to COVID-19 the event was held virtually, but that did stop us from celebrating with friends, family and the NGP community.

Nick Fontaine will be joining Jom Hammack's Lab in Psychological Science, College of Arts & Sciences. McKenna Perry will be joining Denise Peters' Lab in Rehabilitation and Movment Science, College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Amanda Sidwell will be joining Kalev Freeman's Lab in the Department of Surgery, College of Medicine.

Welcome to your labs, students!

Watch the whole ceremony now:

NGP Blog Reborn

October 30, 2020

After a three-year hiatus, the NGP Blog is once again LIVE! Check out our latest post to learn about the blog’s current moderators and stay tuned for commentary from NGP students on all sorts of neuro-related topics.

Visit the NGP Student-Run Blog

NGP Students Receive Graduate Alumni Dissertation Fellowship Award

October 20, 2020

Congratulations to Patrick Mullen and Zhaojin (Scarlett) Li, NGP students, who have received a UVM Graduate Alumni Dissertation Fellowship Award! This award is presented to a doctoral student in their final year of completing research in the lab of a Larner College of Medicine faculty member. Well done and well-earned, Pat and Scarlett!

Jaworski Creates First Fund for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diane Jaworski

October 12, 2020

When she was growing up, former NGP faculty member Diane Jaworski, Ph.D., remembers her parents bringing her to volunteer at a soup kitchen, one of many ways they encouraged their daughter to give back. Her father, Witold “Victor” Jaworski, was a Polish displaced person who immigrated to the U.S. after World War II. Her mother, Jane (née Czyzewski), was born in the U.S. to Polish immigrants and, though she wanted to be a nurse, could not afford to go to college. They always stressed to their children the importance of education and service to others, saying: “You may not have what you want, but you have what you need. Many don’t have what they need. We need to help them.”

This generosity of spirit inspired Jaworski to create a new fund at the Larner College of Medicine, named for her parents, the first to specifically support the work of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI). In addition to promoting ODEI-specific initiatives, the fund allows ODEI leaders to allocate dollars to a variety of student groups engaged in advocacy.

In her 25-plus years at UVM, Jaworski has been at the front lines of diversity and equity work: She serves as an advisor to the American Medical Women’s Association and the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. The medical students she mentors–particularly the student-led SJC, a group that has worked with faculty to weave teaching about social justice into the curriculum–inspire her to stay engaged.  “I see the wonderful work the SJC is doing with the health disparities curriculum,” she says. “I want to support those efforts.”

Make a gift to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

John McInnis Successfully Defends Dissertation

John McInnis

September 14, 2020

Congratulations to John McInnis, Dr. Jeffrey Spees's lab, on successfully defending his dissertation entitled, "Regulation of neuroinflammation after ischemic stroke by astroglial endothelin receptor type-b signaling." He will be starting a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Sanofi in their ALS research group.

Nick Toker Successfully Defends Master's Thesis

Nick Toker

September 10, 2020

Congrats to Nick Toker, Dr. Jeffrey Spees's Lab, who successfully defended his Master's thesis entitled “Exosomes Isolated from Murine Astroglial Cells and Human Blood Samples Contain the Notch 1 Intracellular Domain.”  He will be working for Spectrix doing cell culture for Bristol Myers Squibb and supporting their cancer small molecule drug development program.

CMB/NGP Annual Retreat Done Virtually

August 26, 2020

Each year, the NGP and the CMB Program co-host an off-campus retreat that provides an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the research going on in our community, and highlights the successes of our faculty and students. This year our Retreat was conducted virtually, opening up further opportunities to showcase this year's theme: “Rooted Together in STEM”.

We were pleased to welcome Keynote Speaker, Raven Baxter (Raven the Science Maven), Nationally Acclaimed Science Communicator & Molecular Biologist to inspire and enlighten us in resiliency, science communication, and civil rights.

Watch Raven Baxter's Keynote Address: "Self-Advocacy and Resiliency in your STEM Journey”

Download our annual "Year in Review" (PDF)

Mark Nelson Receives COBRE Award for Vermont Center for Cardiovascular and Brain Health

August 17, 2020 

Congrats to NGP faculty member Mark Nelson his recent COBRE award for his work on the Vermont Center for Cardiovascular and Brain Health!


Matt McCabe Successfully Defends Dissertation

Matt McCabe

July 31, 2020

Congratulations to Matt McCabe, Dr. Matt Weston's lab, on successfully defending his dissertation entitled, "Altered fast synaptic transmission in an in vitro mouse model of epileptic encephalopathy." He will be starting a position at Q-State Biosciences.

Mahafuza Aktar Successfully Defends Master's Thesis

July 14, 2020

Congrats to Mahafuza Aktar who successfully defended her Master's thesis entitled “Effects of chronic stress on the pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST).”  She will be joining the UVM psychological sciences Ph.D program this fall, working with Dr. Sayamwong Hammack in the general/experimental psychology program.

NGP Discontinues GRE Requirement

July 9, 2020

NGP will no longer require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores for application to our program.  Many studies indicate that GRE scores do not predict success in graduate school, and the NGP had informally discontinued their use in the application process for the past several years.   Further,  the use of  GRE exam results can introduce bias against underrepresented minorities and women. We are happy to remove any possibility of such biases.

This new policy is effective immediately. Therefore, candidates interested in matriculating into our program for the 2021-2022 academic year are not required to submit GRE scores with their applications.