Neuroscience seminar periods are used for presentations from visiting neuroscientists and for senior comprehensive presentations/examinations (see below) that are presented by senior Neuroscience majors. Sophomores and junior neuroscience majors are encouraged to attend the seminars and comprehensive exams.

Neuroscience Seminars are Thursdays at 4:30 PM. Neuroscience seminars are open to the public and all are welcome.

  • Refreshments served at 4:15 PM.
  • Occasionally, Monday Biology Seminars with relevance to Neuroscience are listed (4 PM).


To be announced 


Monday, October 15th, 2018 (Biology Seminar)

Katie Kindt, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders

Using transgenic zebrafish to light up hair-cell synapse formation and function

Sensory hair-cells are required to reliably transmit auditory and vestibular information to the brain. While the majority of hearing loss is due to damage of sensory hair cells, there is accumulating evidence that in cases of noise-induced hearing loss, the pathology may be due to damage of hair-cell synapses rather than hair cells. Therefore, to restore hearing loss after synapse damage is it critical to understand 1) the molecular requirements and 2) the function and assembly of synapses in vivo. Our research studies leverage the strengths of the zebrafish model system by using genetics and in vivo imaging to dissect the molecular and functional requirements underlying hair-cell synapse function and assembly. Recently we examined how ensembles of sensory hair cells function in vivo using optical indicators in intact zebrafish. Our imaging unexpectedly revealed that the majority of hair cells are synaptically silent. Latent hair cells can be rapidly recruited after damage, demonstrating that they are synaptically competent. Therefore synaptically silent hair cells may be an important reserve that acts to maintain sensory function. Although it is not yet known, it will be exciting to see if our data are generalizable to other hair-cell organs and model systems. 

Host: Josef Trapani 

Monday, March 27th, 2017 (Biology Seminar)

Ethan Scott, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia.

"Sensory Processing in Larval Zebrafish: Perspectives from Whole-Brain Calcium Imaging"

Research Summary - In the Scott Lab, we are interested in the workings of the brain at the level of cells and circuits. We aim to understand how sensory stimuli are perceived and processed in the brain, and how the brain then interprets these stimuli to produce adaptive behaviors. Because of the brain’s extraordinary complexity, these questions are difficult to address by looking at individual cells. The flow of information through the brain relies on the coordinated activity of thousands or millions of cells, and on ensembles of neurons that are active simultaneously. For this reason, our research involves imaging activity in thousands of cells and seeking salient patterns of activity across these populations. In a range of projects, we characterize the neurons and circuits that respond to various visual, auditory and vestibular stimuli; that play a role in the integration of information from these modalities; and that filter sensory information to produce behavior. 

Host: Josef Trapani

Monday, October 24th, 2016 (Biology Seminar)

Jake Krans, Ph.D.  
Associate Professor, Western New England University

"Picking Up the Slack: How Giant Muscle Proteins Buy the Nervous System Time to React"

Research Summary: Dr. Krans' research aims to better understand mechanisms of plasticity in neuromuscular control. His methods and approaches are cross-disciplinary, combining engineering, genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience and evolutionary frameworks. He has used several model organisms to probe for parsimonious conservation of molecular mechanisms within motor plasticity, but most recently has combined novel genetic and physiologic approaches in the larval fruit fly preparation to understand macro-protein structural plasticity. Dr. Krans’ research has led to the development of new biomechanic instruments and he holds a patent for a novel sensing apparatus aimed to improve tactile feedback in prosthetic devices. 

Host: Josef Trapani

 Seminars from past years:


Tags:  Seminars 2016-2017