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Undergraduate Summer Research

The Center for Translational Mental Health Research’s Undergraduate Research Program offers young scientists a unique opportunity to engage in hands-on, cutting edge neuroscience research under the mentorship of highly successful clinical and basic neuroscientists in the Department of Psychiatry.

Fourteen undergraduates participated in the 10-week summer program this year, many of whom will continue their work at the Center in the coming year. The program is designed to prepare talented students for doctoral training leading to a successful career in mental health research.  In addition to offering students the opportunity for guided independent research and peer group training in the skills needed for a successful research career, it also features ongoing engagement in a longitudinal program of research and exposure to the clinical challenges of schizophrenia and related disorders. 

The following students participated in this year’s program and presented their findings at a special two-day event hosted by the Center on July 28-29, 2016 at the Starzl Biomedical Science Tower:

Age-Associated Alterations in Amygdala-Ventromedial Prefrontal Connectivity in Psychosis
Natalie Coe (Mentor: Maria Jalbrzikowski, PhD)

Chronic Cocaine and SIRT1 Activity
Natalie Fitzgerald (Mentor: Colleen McClung, PhD)

Deficits in Attentional Modulation of Auditory Sensory Signals in First Episode Psychosis
Sarah Fribance (Mentor: Dean Salisbury, PhD)

Generation of a Synaptic Protein Library for the Creation of a Targeted Proteomics Assay
Joseph Kannarkat (Mentor: Matthew MacDonald, PhD)

Quantitative Scale Assessing Ultrastructure Quality of Post-Mortem Human Brain Tissue
Anisha Konanur (Mentor: Jill Glausier, PhD)

Resting State EEG Abnormalities in Early Course Psychosis and Clinical High Risk Individuals
Berend Malin (Mentor: Peter Bachman, PhD)

Neurodevelopmental Profiles of Hippocampal Connectivity in First-Episode Psychosis
Rachel McKinney (Mentor: Deepu Murty, PhD)

Alterations in Calretinin Expressing Inhibitory Interneurons in the Prefrontal Cortex
Kate Miller (Mentor: Kenneth Fish, PhD)

Using Facial Muscular Movements to Understand Emotion Regulation in Preschool-Aged Children
Rebekah Mondelus (Mentor: Susan Perlman, PhD)

Alteration of Left ECN Connectivity in Cognitively Healthy Participants: Effect of Amyloid Burden
Janki Patel (Mentor: Howard Aizenstein, MD, PhD)

Immune Activation in the Visuospatial Working Memory Circuit in Schizophrenia
Erin Sipple (Mentor: David Volk, MD, PhD)

Involvement of Calcineurin in the Regulation of Cocaine Associated Memories
Mason Trinkle (Mentor: Mary Torregrossa, PhD)

Gene Expression Analysis in the Basolateral Amygdala of Mice: Effects of Sex-Specific Factors on Expression of Serotonin- and Dopamine-elated Genes
Georgia Vasilakis (Mentor: Marianne Seney, PhD)

The Consequences of Chronic Circadian Disruption on Reward Behaviors
Blake Vuocolo (Mentor: Ryan Logan, PhD)

For more information about this unique program, please visit the Undergraduate Research Program page on the Center’s web site.