Congrats to NSF GRFP Winners

The Neuroscience graduate program is proud to announce that Gabriela Manzano-Nieves and Valerie Estela have both been awarded NSF Fellowships for 2015 and that Haley Goodwill and Robyn St. Laurent have received Honorable Mentions.  More information about the NSF program can be found here.  Congratulations to all of you!

Eric James wins New England Science Symposium Poster Prize!

On Saturday, April 11, Eric James (NSGP 4th year in the Aizenman Lab) was awarded the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Department of Neonatology Award at New England Science Symposium at Harvard Medical School for his poster presentation on the potential role of HDACi activity in the onset of VPA-induced neurodevelopmental disorders.  Click here for more information on the awards.  Congratulations Eric!

Two new NSGP Open Grad Education Awards

Liz McDonnell (NSGP 2nd year) and Prannath Moolchand (NSGP 3rd year) join Arielle Nitenson and Adam Nitenson as part of the Open Graduate Education cohort.  The program is designed to open up the curriculum across programmatic borders to provide unique opportunities for PhD students to earn a Master’s degree in a secondary field.  More information about this year’s awardees can be found here.  Congratulations Liz and Prannath!

NeuroPracticum 2015 Lab Course at MBL

First-year Neuroscience Graduate Program students spent 8 full days at the bench in January learning essential neuroscience techniques as part of a hands-on, in-depth course called NeuroPracticum. The course is held every January at the Marine Biological Laboratories ( This course provides unique training for students in an informal, and intense format and includes electrophysiology, molecular biology, imaging, and behavior. Before coming to MBL, students complete a semester of didactic course work. At MBL, they put their new knowledge into practice and work side-by-side at the bench with Brown University and MBL faculty. This year Neuroscience Graduate Program students were joined by three graduate students from other programs, supported in part by the Brown Institute for Brain Science (

Why does this differ from “lab rotations” that Brown Neuroscience students undertake during the regular academic year? A student can only rotate in a few laboratories and learn a few techniques during rotations. And, a given laboratory can only handle a few rotation students per year. The NeuroPracticum course allows Brown University neuroscience graduate students to have an intense and practical experience at the bench with techniques that are the basis of modern neuroscience, – working side by side with professors who are expert in the techniques and systems. This intense experience integrates the practical with the theoretical; students understand both the strengths and limitations of techniques discussed in the classroom only when they use these techniques. The intense format of the course creates remarkable bonding among the faculty and graduate students.

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NSGP Student Garrett Neske Publishes on the Brain’s Balancing Act

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Garrett Neske (NSGP 5th year student), along with co-authors Saundy Patrick and Barry Connors explored how different neurons types within cerebral cortex  participate in the generation and control of persistent network activity.  Congrats Garrett!  For more information see press releases here: Brown Press Release & Medical Daily.


NSGP Student Adam Nitenson Featured on the Brown University Website

NSGP student Adam Nitenson and the Brown University Open Graduate Education Program featured on the Brown University web site on January 14th. [link]

Innovate to Innervate!

This past weekend, NSGP students Amanda Duffy, Arielle Nitenson, and Adam Nitenson joined family and friends in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Boston.  Their team – “Innovate to Innervate” – raised over $1500, with over $400,000 raised by all the teams!  For more information, see the team website at:


The Human Brain: Research and Its Impact on our Daily Lives

Former NSGP grad director and current NSGP Steering Committee chair, training grant PI, and trainer Diane Lipscombe, led a lively discussion about a signature Brown initiative focused on human brain research as part of the 250+ celebration. This was one of several Fall Celebration Forums featuring Brown alumni and faculty and aligning with the core elements of Building on Distinction: A New Plan for Brown, the University’s strategic plan. Forum participants included Ricardo Dolmetsch ’90, Global Head of Neuroscience, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research; Galen Henderson MD’93, Director, Neurocritical Care and Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School; and Melanie Leitner, PhD ’93, Associate Director, Clinical Research, ALS iHub, Biogen Idec, Inc. A video of the event can be seen here.

NSGP Shines at Research Matters! Symposium

As part of the Brown 250+ anniversary programming, the graduate school hosted a Saturday session entitled “Research Matters!”, which celebrated 125 years of graduate study at Brown by featuring short talks by graduate students and alumni on “why my research matters.” Lauren Quattrochi (MCB) a current graduate student in an NSGP lab and Sophie Lebrecht (CLPS) a recent graduate from another, both presented, as did our own Eric James. See a video of Eric’s talk here.  More information about the event can be found here.


Annual NSGP Retreat Welcomes New Graduate Students

The Neuroscience Graduate Program and departmental colleagues once again headed to Bristol for our annual retreat at the Haffenreffer Estate.  We welcomed nine incoming students, heard short talks from both local and NIH colleagues, enjoyed a traditional clambake, and played an intense game of Jeopardy.  Great way to kick off the 2014-2015 academic year!

2014-15 Neuroscience Class

New students for 2014-2015 are: Matt Schiel (GPP), Dennis Burke (GPP), Valerie Estela, John Fisher, Julie Guerin, Diana Burk, Robyn St. Laurent, Veronica Ryan, and Ozan Baytas.

Organizers for the 2014 retreat were Liz McDonnell-Clark, Megan Leyrer, Torrey Truszkowski, and David Brandman (not shown).

Organizers for the 2014 retreat were Liz McDonnell-Clark, Megan Leyrer, Torrey Truszkowski, and David Brandman (not shown).