IBACS-Sponsored Events

IBACS End-Of-Year Event - Full Program

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Register Now for the IBACS End-Of-Year Event on 5/1

Registration is now open for the 2024 IBACS End-Of-Year Event on Wednesday, May 1st from 10am-2pm. This exciting event will be in-person in the Rome Ballroom on the Storrs Campus.  

Affiliated faculty and graduate students will give 5-minute data-blitz style talks on their IBACS-funded research, and we will hear brief presentations from figures in the administration – we anticipate impressing them with the diverse interdisciplinary research of you, our IBACS affiliates! 

We strongly encourage anyone who has received IBACS support to participate. The event is particularly important this year, as we hope to present compelling evidence that future IBACS funding is a worthwhile investment for UConn. We will be breaking into groups to brainstorm ideas for larger multi-lab center and program project proposals.  

May 1 Schedule  

10:00AM – Welcome & Opening Remarks from UConn Leadership 

10:30AM – Data Blitz (5-minute talks) 

11:30AM – Break-Out Sessions: Brainstorming re: Center/Program Proposals 

12:00PM – Break 

12:15PM – Poster Session & Lunch  

 2:00PM  – End Time

We hope you can join us! Register here: 

Registration Form: https://forms.office.com/r/EQ0UuspEAk 

A more detailed program will be shared soon. Please see below for the details of the poster session.  



IBACS Leadership  


Poster Session Information:  

The poster session will provide an opportunity for IBACS Affiliates to network with the broader community. Posters should describe your lab’s mission, methods/data, active projects, lab members, and future challenges/directions. We hope all Affiliates will participate, but we particularly expect those who have received IBACS funding to participate. We encourage multiple lab members to attend so presenters take tursn viewing other posters. To facilitate preparation, we will provide a template (see below) and will cover your printing costs. We will display the posters in the IBACS Arjona hallways for years to come.  

To present a poster, please fill out the form below so we can follow up about printing. Please forward to your lab members and anyone who might be interested. 

Poster Interest Form: https://forms.office.com/r/NF2qcx5B7Q 

Poster Template

Save the Date: IBACS End-Of-Year Event on 5/1

We are excited to announce that our annual end-of year celebration will be held on Wednesday, May 1st in the Rome Ballroom, tentatively from 11am-2pm. Please save the date! The event this year will be different than our typical “Meet & Speak”. While we will have some presentations from recent funding recipients, the majority of the event will be dedicated to networking. We plan to do this by hosting a poster session where IBACS-affiliated labs can share a bit about themselves with the broader community with hopes of fostering new collaborations. The posters can include overall questions, mission, methods/data, active projects, lab members, and future challenges/directions, etc. We hope all labs will participate, but we will follow-up with labs who have received directing funding from us in recent years. In addition, we invite multiple lab members to attend the event so presenters can be swapped out frequently to encourage all to enjoy the event. To incentivize participation, we will provide a template/example (email ibacs@uconn.edu) and will cover the printing costs. We’d like to keep the posters to display in the hallways of Arjona for all to view for years to come.  

We know putting together posters like this can take time, which is why we are reaching out early. Further details about the event will be shared at a later date, but for now, please save the date on your calendars and fill out this brief form if your lab plans to create a poster so we can be sure to follow-up about printing. Please also forward to your lab members and share with anyone who would be interested. Thank you!

IBACS/BIRC Talk on 3/28: Dr. Ping Li

We are excited to announce the next talk in the IBACS/BIRC speaker series. Out next speaker if the semester is Ping Li from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Ping Li, PhD, is Sin Wai Kin Professor in Humanities and Technology, Chair Professor of Neurolinguistics and Bilingual Studies, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University. He previously served as President of the Society for Computation in Psychology and Program Director at the U.S. National Science Foundation while being a Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Information Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. Li’s research is focused on investigating the neurocognitive and computational bases of language acquisition, bilingualism, and reading comprehension in both children and adults. He uses digital technologies and cognitive neuroscience methods to study neuroplasticity and individual differences in learning to understand the relationships among language, culture, technology, and the brain. Li is currently Editor-in-Chief of Brain and Language and Senior Editor of Cognitive Science. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Date/Time: Thursday, 3/28/24 from 9AM-10:30AM Eastern Standard Time

Format: Virtual on Zoom or join the in-person watch party in Arjona 339 with coffee and donuts!

Zoom Registration: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArcOCrqDwsGtdnezJcZJypkorMVRwr600D#/registrati

*Note that you must register to obtain the Zoom meeting details. Please use your University email address

Talk Title: Naturalistic Reading Comprehension in L1 and L2: What can “model-brain alignment” tell us about its neurocognitive mechanisms

Abstract: With the rapid developments in generative AI and large language models (LLMs), researchers are assessing the impacts that these developments bring to various domains of scientific studies. In this talk, I describe the “model-brain alignment” approach that leverages the progress in LLMs. Along with recent proposals on shared computational principles in humans and machines for naturalistic comprehension (e.g., listening to stories, watching movies), we use model-brain alignment to study naturalistic reading comprehension in both native (L1) and non-native (L2) languages. By training LLM-based encoding models on brain responses to text reading, we can evaluate (a) what computational properties in the model are important to reflect human brain mechanisms in language comprehension, and (b) what model variations best reflect human individual differences during reading comprehension. Our findings show that first, to capture the differences in word-level processing vs. high-level discourse integration, current LLM-based models need to incorporate sentence prediction mechanisms on top of word prediction, and second, variations in model-brain alignment allow us to predict L1 and L2 readers’ sensitivity to text properties, cognitive demand characteristics, and ultimately their reading performance. Overall, our work highlights the utility of the model-brain alignment approach in the study of naturalistic reading comprehension at multiple levels of cognitive processing and multiple dimensions of individual variation.

IBACS/BIRC/DEV Talk on 2/2: Dr. Amy Margolis

We are excited to announce the next talk in the IBACS/BIRC speaker series co-sponsored by the Developmental Division in Psychological Sciences. Dr. Amy Margolis, PhD is an Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Director of the Environment, Brain, and Behavior Lab, as well as the Columbia Psychology, Psychiatry, and Public Health Collaborative Learning Disability Innovation Hub funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  Dr. Margolis uses neuroimaging and EEG to study the effects of prenatal exposure to neurotoxicants on brain and behavior outcomes. Her lab’s research focuses on identifying neural correlates of environmentally-associated reading and math problems in children living in the context of economic disadvantage. In addition the lab studies environmentally-associated phenotypes of attention, substance use, and thought problems.
Date/Time: Friday, 2/2/24 from 12:20 - 1:10PM EST
In-Person Location:  Konover Auditorium
Virtual Option: Zoom Link: https://yale.zoom.us/j/93361692933      Meeting ID: 933 6169 2933

Talk Title: The Role of Environmental Chemicals in the Etiology of Learning Difficulties: A Novel Theoretical Framework  

Abstract: Children from economically disadvantaged communities have a disproportionate risk of exposure to chemicals, social stress, and learning difficulties. Although animal models and epidemiologic studies link exposures and neurodevelopment, little focus has been paid to academic outcomes in environmental health studies. Similarly, in the educational literature, environmental chemical exposures are overlooked as potential etiologic factors in learning difficulties. This talk will present evidence from animal models and longitudinal, prospective birth cohort studies that support this theory of environmentally-associated phenotypes of learning difficulties.  Data reviewed point to the effects of prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on reading comprehension and math skills via effects on inhibitory control processes and hippocampal brain volume. Long term, this work may help close the achievement gap in the United States by identifying behavioral and neural pathways from prenatal exposures to learning difficulties in children from economically disadvantaged families, an understudied group at highest risk. 

There will be a happy hour at the Graduate Hotel's Trophy Room from 4pm-5pm. All are welcome!

For meeting requests, please email: kelsey.davinson@uconn.edu. For all other questions, please email ibacs@uconn.edu. Flyer is attached for posting.

IBACS/BIRC/DEV Talk on 1/26: Dr. Nick Turk-Browne

We are excited to announce the next talk in the IBACS/BIRC speaker series. Our first speaker of the semester, co-sponsored by the Developmental Division in Psychological Sciences, will be Dr. Nick Turk-Browne from Yale University.  Nick Turk-Browne, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale. The Turk-Browne lab is broadly interested in how we see (perception), how we control what we see and how it controls us (attention), and how we store what we see in our heads (learning and memory) — and especially in how all of these parts of the mind interact. They use a combination of functional neuroimaging and behavioral/psychophysical experiments to explore these topics.
Date/Time: Friday, 1/26/24 from 12:20 - 1:10PM EST
In-Person Location:  Konover Auditorium
Virtual Option:Please email ibacs@uconn.edu
Talk Title: Learning & Memory in Early Human Development 
Abstract: Cognitive neuroscience provides a rich account of how brain systems give rise to diverse forms of learning and memory behavior. However, these theories are mostly based on adult data and often neglect early development, perhaps the greatest period of learning in life. A key challenge for studying cognition in young children is the limited behavioral measures available, especially in infants. Neural measures from EEG and fNIRS provide a window into the infant mind, but have coarse spatial resolution and lack access to deep-brain structures such as the hippocampus that are critical for adult learning and memory. I will present our recent efforts to adapt fMRI, a technique that addresses some of these limitations, for studying awake human infants during cognitive tasks. I will focus on one line of studies concerning a mystery about how the developing brain supports learning and memory: The hippocampus is important for statistical learning in adults, and statistical learning is a core building block of the infant mind, yet the hippocampal system is often assumed to be immature in infants because of their inability to form durable episodic memories (resulting in infantile amnesia). This and our other fMRI studies in awake infants are advancing understanding of the functions and plasticity of the youngest minds and brains.

There will be a happy hour at the Graduate Hotel's Trophy Room from 4pm-5pm. All are welcome!

For meeting requests, please email: kelsey.davinson@uconn.edu. For all other questions, please email ibacs@uconn.edu. Flyer is attached for posting

Grant writing for grad students and postdocs: an introduction to NIH fellowship grants

The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) invites graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to our panel discussion, "Grant writing for grad student and postdocs: an introduction to NIH fellowship grants". 

Grant writing is a fundamental skill for most career scientists, but one that is often mysterious to trainees. In this panel discussion, recent fellowship recipients Hannah Thomas (PSYCH), Anne Marie Crinnion (PSYCH), and William Armstrong (PNB), will talk through the process of applying for their first NIH grant. Discussion will focus on the NIH-sponsored F31/F32 fellowship mechanisms, but the conversation is intended to be useful for any grad student or postdoc considering a career in the sciences.  Learn why, how, and when you might consider applying for a grant, discover tips and tricks, and find out more about developing grant writing skills. 

This event will be held on January 22nd, 2024 at 4pm in Arjona 307 (we will change the room if interest exceeds capacity)

Please register in advance and submit questions for the panelists here

Grant Panel for Faculty & Post-docs Sponsored by IBACS on 1/17/24

The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) invites faculty members and post-doctoral researchers to our panel discussion, "Hot Tips for Getting Grants", where you’ll hear from 3 expert grant-getters and have an opportunity to ask questions! The panelists are Amy Gorin (PSYC), Alex Jackson (PNB), and Seth Kalichman (PSYC). The discussion will be moderated by IBACS Director of Research, Inge-Marie Eigsti.

This event will be held on January 17th, 2024 from 4-6:30PM in the Arjona, room 307. Light refreshments will be served. 

Please register in advance and submit questions for the panelists here. We hope you can join us!

IBACS & BIRC Talk Series: Dr. Andrew Jahn

We are excited to announce a new talk series sponsored by BIRC and IBACS. Our first speaker will be Dr. Andrew Jahn at the Univeristy of MichiganAndrew Jahn, PhD is a neuroimaging consultant at the University of Michigan's UMOR Functional MRI Laboratory in the Radiology Department. Dr. Jahn teaches neuroimaging analysis, functional and structural connectivity, machine learning, and other topics related to cognitive neuroscience. He has hosted neuroimaging workshops at several research institutions across the United States, including the University of Washington, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Harvard University, and others. His research focuses on the role of prediction within the medial prefrontal cortex, and how this applies to domains such as pain, cognitive control, and linguistic processing. He will give his talk, Trends in Best Practices for fMRI Research on Thursday, December 7 via Zoom at 2:30pm ET. 

Talk title: Trends in Best Practices for fMRI Research

Abstract: With the advent of several different fMRI analysis tools and packages outside of the established ones (i.e., SPM, AFNI, and FSL), today's researcher may wonder what the best practices are for fMRI analysis. This talk will discuss some of the recent trends in neuroimaging, including design optimization and power analysis, standardized analysis pipelines such as fMRIPrep, and an overview of current recommendations for how to present neuroimaging results. Along the way we will discuss the balance between Type I and Type II errors with different correction mechanisms (e.g., Threshold-Free Cluster Enhancement and Equitable Thresholding and Clustering), as well as considerations for working with large open-access databases

Registration is required to attend this seminar. Please register hereWe ask that you please use your university/institution email address so we can track attendance. Once you are registered, you will receive an automatically generated email from Zoom with the meeting information.

If you have any questions, please email ibacs@uconn.edu.

26th Annual Neuroscience at Storrs - Sponsored by IBACS

You are cordially invited to the 26th ANNUAL NEUROSCIENCE AT STORRS SYMPOSIUM on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Dodd Konover Auditorium on the Storrs campus.

For our Keynote Speaker this year, we are lucky to host Dr. Alex Kwan from Cornell University. His seminar is titled: "From dendrites to circuits: dissecting the drug action of psychedelics."For information about Dr. Kwan, please visit: https://www.engineering.cornell.edu/faculty-directory/alex-kwan

Expert Clinical Panel: Professionals from UConn, Yale, and private practice will discuss current and future directions of psychedelic medicine.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN: Please click the link and scroll down to “Neuroscience RSVP 2023” to register: https://neuroscience.uconn.edu/neuroscience-at-storrs-rsvp/

POSTER SESSION AND DATA BLITZ REGISTRATION: We will be hosting short-format podium presentations (data blitz) from grad students and postdocs and a poster session from grad students, postdocs, and undergrads. Students and postdoctoral fellows are enthusiastically encouraged to participate in the poster and data blitz presentations. Please click the link and scroll down to sign up to present a poster and/or data blitz talk.https://neuroscience.uconn.edu/neuroscience-at-storrs-rsvp/

💲💲💲***Best Poster Competition***💲💲💲
            1st place $100
            2nd place $75
            3rd place $50

*** For general inquiries about the event, please contact Dr. Greg Sartor (gregory.sartor@uconn.edu) in the Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences ***

Millikan Fest - Sponsored by IBACS

October 5th and 6th: This year, we are celebrating our own Ruth Millikan’s remarkable contributions to philosophy, with the 40th anniversary of her groundbreaking book, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories (LTOBC). The Fest will bring together major figures working in Philosophy, Linguistics, Psychology, Animal Communication, Neuroscience, and more, to critically and creatively engage with Millikan's pioneering work.

Our invited participants include Josh Armstrong (UCLA), Rosa Cao (Stanford), Robyn Carston (UCL), Francois Recanati (College de France), David Papineau (King's College), Andrew Melnyk (Missouri), Peter Schulte (Zurich), and Daniel Dennett (Tufts). For more details and to register, please visit the conference website.