Reminder: Register for the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29

A reminder that registration is open for the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29! Details can be found below, including the talk title and abstract for our keynote talk by Dr. Takao Hensch at Harvard University. We hope you can join us!

Dear IBACS community,

We are excited to officially invite you to attend the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event on Friday, April 29th from 2-6pm.This event will be in-person in Bousfield A106.

Affiliated faculty will give 10-minute talks, most of which are on the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Affiliated graduate students who have received IBACS funding will be presenting 5-minute “datablitz” style talks.

The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking. We hope you can join us, please register here for all or part of the event.

Schedule

2:00PM – Introduction

2:10PM – Faculty Talks (10 minutes each)

3:00PM – Graduate Student Data Blitz (5 minutes each)

3:30PM – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Takao Hensch, Harvard University

Talk Title: Balancing Brain Plasticity/Stability

Abstract: Brain function is largely shaped by experience in early life, creating windows of both great opportunity and vulnerability. Our work has focused on the biological basis for such critical periods, identifying both “triggers” and “brakes” on plasticity. Strikingly, the maturation of particular inhibitory circuits is pivotal for the onset timing of these windows. Manipulations of their emergence can either accelerate or delay developmental trajectories regardless of chronological age. Notably, many neurodevelopmental disorders are linked to alterations in excitatory-inhibitory balance, suggesting shifted critical period timing as part of their etiology. Closure of critical periods in turn reflects an active process, rather than a purely passive loss of plasticity factors. Lifting these brakes allows the reopening of plastic windows later in life, but may also underlie instability in disease states. Thus, understanding how brain plasticity and stability are balanced throughout life offers new insight into mental illness and novel therapeutic strategies for recovery of function in adulthood.

4:30PM – Panel Discussion: Featuring Takao Hensch, Erika Skoe, and Natale Sciolino

Innovations and the intersections of technology in Neuro/Cognitive Science

5:00PM – Wine and Cheese Social in Atrium

A more detailed program including speaker names and talk titles will be shared soon.

Best,

Holly Fitch, IBACS Director

Crystal Mills, IBACS Coordinator

Join us for COGS Colloquium: Dr. Hady Ba

Please join the Cognitive Science Program on 4/22 for our next Colloquium!
 
Image of Hady Ba

Speaker: Dr. Hady Ba, Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Visiting Fullbright Scholar  

Time & Location: 4pm, Friday, April 22, 2022 in Oak 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Talk TitleApe Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate 

AbstractAccording to Chomsky, statistical models of language, even though pragmatically successful can’t teach us anything about the nature of language which is rule based. Norvig disagree. According to him science goes from accumulation of data to explanation and back. In this talk, I’ll first show that despite advances in the statistical treatment of language, what happens is that the most successful algorithms for translation, completion and dialogue seem to mimic our brains treatment of language but have some limitations that we don’t know yet how to get rid of. Does this mean that we need better linguistic theories to get to the next step? To respond to this question, I will use data from animal linguistic cognition. I’ll argue that our experiments in teaching language to monkeys and the use by some researchers of tools from linguistics to analyze natural communicative production of apes show that there is a very specific, probably innate, component in humans’ ability to not only produce but also understand language. I will argue that contrary to what Chomsky think, this component goes beyond universal grammar and is probably due to the very peculiar nature of human sociability.  

Bio: An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Hady BA is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open-source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. He’s currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South and has an ongoing project on animal cognition comparing human and non-human cognition.  

Meeting opportunities: Dr. Ba will be available during the day of his talk for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom or in-person. Please contact Crystal at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you are interested.

Two Postdoctoral Research Positions

The Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in
Leipzig is an internationally recognized research institute of the Max
Planck Society and is dedicated to the study of human cognitive
abilities and brain processes. The Department of Neurology offers PhD
positions for

Deadline: 1 May 2022
**Two Doctoral Candidates (TVöD E13, 65%, 3 years)** in cognitive
neuroscience and neurophysiology.

The general topic of the position is the physiology of perception,
cognition, and emotion. The positions involve the acquisition and
particularly the analysis of behavioural (e.g., movement parameters,
task performance), subjective (e.g., questionnaires, ratings), and
neuroimaging / electrophysiological (e.g., EEG, ECG) data. The positions
are part of a collaboration between neuroscience and computer graphics.
We will investigate the neurocognition of perceiving (virtual) humans by
acquiring multimodal (mind-brain-body) data using immersive technologies
(e.g., immersive VR). The precise research topic will be adapted to the
interests and specific qualifications of the candidate.

Prerequisites are an outstanding record in a relevant area of
neurocognitive research. Educational background could be from cognitive
(neuro-) science, psychology, medicine, neuroscience, computer science,
engineering, data science, physics, or mathematics. Excellent
programming and statistical skills (Python, Matlab, R) are required. One
position requires excellent prior experience with EEG/MEG signal
processing relating to neural oscillations and evoked responses. We are
looking for scientifically ambitious people willing to work in a highly
cooperative team.

You will have an opportunity to join the Institute’s International Max
Planck Research School (IMPRS CoNI) and to participate in graduate
training programs. You will receive continuous supervision.

The candidates will be part of an enthusiastic team embedded in a
world-leading research environment with outstanding facilities and
research infrastructure (four 3T MR scanners, one of them in a clinical
setting, a Siemens Connectom MR scanner, a 7T MR scanner, MEG, EEG,
fNIRS, TMS, TDCS, focused ultrasound, VR labs, eye tracking and
psychophysics labs). All facilities are supported by experienced IT and
physics staff. In addition to strong co-operations within the Department
of Neurology and with the Clinic of Cognitive Neurology at the
University Hospital Leipzig, there are also strong interactions among
all departments and research groups at the MPI-CBS.

We look forward to receiving your complete online application (reference
number “PhD 09/22”) at:https://www.cbs.mpg.de/vacancies/open-positions.
The application should include a cover letter, personal statement, CV,
list of publications (if available), and two letters of recommendations.
The closing date for applications is **May 1, 2022**. The starting date
is June 1, 2022, or later, and the duration is three years. Salary is
based on regulations of the Max Planck Society (typically 65% TVöD level
13). The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of
individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages
applications from such individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society
strives for gender equity and welcomes applications from all backgrounds.

Further information with regard to the research can be found on the
website of the Department of Neurology (particularly the groups “Neural
interactions and Dynamics” and “Mind-Body-Emotion”):
https://www.cbs.mpg.de/departments/neurology. For questions, please
contact Dr. Vadim Nikulin (nikulin@cbs.mpg.de) or Dr. Michael Gaebler
(gaebler@cbs.mpg.de).

Join the Cognitive Sci Program on 4/22 for our next Colloquium!

Image of Hady Ba

Speaker: Dr. Hady Ba, Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Visiting Fullbright Scholar  

Time & Location: 4pm, Friday, April 22, 2022 in Oak 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Talk TitleApe Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate 

AbstractAccording to Chomsky, statistical models of language, even though pragmatically successful can’t teach us anything about the nature of language which is rule based. Norvig disagree. According to him science goes from accumulation of data to explanation and back. In this talk, I’ll first show that despite advances in the statistical treatment of language, what happens is that the most successful algorithms for translation, completion and dialogue seem to mimic our brains treatment of language but have some limitations that we don’t know yet how to get rid of. Does this mean that we need better linguistic theories to get to the next step? To respond to this question, I will use data from animal linguistic cognition. I’ll argue that our experiments in teaching language to monkeys and the use by some researchers of tools from linguistics to analyze natural communicative production of apes show that there is a very specific, probably innate, component in humans’ ability to not only produce but also understand language. I will argue that contrary to what Chomsky think, this component goes beyond universal grammar and is probably due to the very peculiar nature of human sociability.  

Bio: An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Hady BA is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open-source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. He’s currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South and has an ongoing project on animal cognition comparing human and non-human cognition.  

Meeting opportunities: Dr. Ba will be available during the day of his talk for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom or in-person. Please contact Crystal at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you are interested.

Join us at the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29

Dear IBACS community, 
We are excited to officially invite you to attend the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event on Friday, April 29th from 2-6pm. This event will be in-person in Bousfield A106. 
 
Affiliated faculty will give 10-minute talks, most of which are on the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Affiliated graduate students who have received IBACS funding will be presenting 5-minute “datablitz” style talks. 
 
The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking. We hope you can join us, please register here for all or part of the event

Schedule 

2:00PM – Introduction
2:10PM – Faculty Talks (10 minutes each)
3:00PM – Graduate Student Data Blitz (5 minutes each)
3:30PM – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Takao Hensch, Harvard University
4:30PM – Panel Discussion: Featuring Takao Hensch, Erika Skoe, and Natale Sciolino
5:00PM – Wine and Cheese Social in Atrium
A more detailed program including speaker names, talk titles, and the panel discussion topic will be shared soon.

IBACS Summer Undergrad Research Grant Application Opens TODAY

IBACS Summer 2022 Undergraduate Research Grant Program 

The application period for the summer research grant program opens TODAY, and the deadline for applications will be 11:59 pm on March 14th, 2022. It is expected that applicants will be conducting research with IBACS faculty members, focusing on any research area associated with the IBACS mission.  Faculty sponsors will need to supply a letter of recommendation. Once the applicant lists the faculty advisor of the project in the form, an email will be sent to the faculty member with directions for how to submit the letter. Applicants must fill out the online application, submit a relatively short research plan (maximum of 8 pages, not including references; 12pt Times New Roman, 1” margins, double spaced) and a budget that explains in detail how the funds will be spent. 

The budget should be constructed in the following manner:  The total award will be for up to $5,000. $3,500 should go to providing the student with a summer stipend, and it is expected that the student will spend at least 10 weeks of the summer working on this project at UConn.  Up to $1,500 can be allocated for any supplies or materials that contribute to the research, including software, participant costs and any animal expenses.  It is recommended that the student first compose the research plan and budget using a word processing program, and then upload the final versions on to the website. 

Students who received a Fall 2021/Spring 2022 IBACS grant are eligible for the summer award. However, students cannot take the summer IBACS award in combination with any other major summer award (e.g. SURF). Thus, a student can apply for multiple awards, but can only accept one. The results of the grant review will be given to the student awardees in time for them to make a decision about which grant they will accept, in case they receive more than one. 

The IBACS undergraduate award applications are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • The project description is well written and clearly explains the project.
  • The project clearly focuses on a research area associated with the IBACS mission.
  • The budget is itemized, appropriate to the project described, and reports the total cost of the project (even if it exceeds the funding requested).
  • The advisor is familiar with the student’s project and rates the student’s work to date highly. 
  • Where project applications are equally meritorious, the reviewers will take note of how the student’s project will contribute to the advisor’s research goals.
  • The student and his/her project meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The student has secured research compliance approval(s) if necessary for the project. No award will be issued until documentation of approval(s) is received.

IBACS Summer 2022 Application: https://quest.uconn.edu/prog/ibacs_undergraduate_research_grant_-_summer_2022/

 Please visit our website for more information, including important tax details. 

Now Accepting IBACS Spring Seed Grant Applications

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is pleased to announce a new call for applications to its seed grant fund. 

 

The seed fund is intended to fund activities in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (broadly construed) that are likely to lead to applications for external funding, or which otherwise contribute to the mission of the Institute. Note that funding is primarily intended to cover direct research costs such as supplies, participant fees, or per diems, as well as student support. The review criteria promote innovative, novel, and collaborative projects in the field of brain and cognitive sciences that require expertise across laboratories and traditional disciplinary boundaries. Postdocs can also apply, with a faculty mentor as co-PI. We have further expanded this year’s seed grant solicitation to include COVID recovery. This addition in scope is intended to provide funds to recover or restart relevant projects that were interrupted due to COVID-19. Full details on the seed grant program, including applications (letter of intent and full seed app) and allowable costs, please check our website.

Applications for small grants (less than $10,000) can be submitted at any time; applications in excess of $10,000 (but no more than $25,000) should be submitted by April 1st 

Please submit letters of intent as soon as possible, but at least 2 weeks prior to the seed grant application deadline (by 3/18/22), to allow time for review and feedback. 

The Institute also invites applications for affiliate memberships. 

Any questions should be directed to the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu.

COGS & IBACS Colloquium: Dr. John Hale on 2/18

The CT Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences and The Cognitive Science Program are excited to jointly host a talk by Dr. John Hale, professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Georgia.
 
Details can be found below but please note that the choice between an in-person or online talk online has not yet been made so please look out for further details. 
Time: 4pm, Friday, February 18
Talk Title: “Grammar, Incrementality and fMRI Timecourse”
If you have any questions or would like to meet with Dr. Hale, please contact Whit Tabor at whitney.tabor@uconn.edu. 

Save the Date: IBACS Meet & Speak 2022

We are excited to announce that the date of the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event will be Friday, April 29th from 2-5pm. Our current plan to hold the event in-person, however, this may change. 
 
For those of you who are not familiar with the event, affiliated faculty (from the Storrs campus and UConn Health Center) will give presentations describing, in accessible language, the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Graduate students affiliated with the Institute will be performing short “datablitz” style presentations about their involvement in Seed Funded or related research. The event will also include a keynote talk by an internationally recognized speaker relevant to the brain and cognitive sciences community, TBD. The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking.

Please save the date! A formal invite and details will be sent out as the event gets closer. Enjoy the rest of the semester and the upcoming holidays!

Reminder: IBACS Graduate Fellowship Applications Due 12/3

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is inviting applications to its Graduate Fellowship Program.

These summer fellowships are intended for graduate students working on topics with relevance (broadly construed) to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences. IBACS Graduate Fellows attend a short grant-writing workshop and will be expected to submit an application to the NSF GRFP, NRSA (pre- or post-doctoral fellowship), or equivalent, in the Fall.

Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, December 3rd, 2021.

Graduate students who are not US citizens are eligible to apply and are expected to work with their advisor to develop an external research proposal if they are not eligible for graduate fellowships. Students who were fellows in summer 2020 may apply if they submitted the external grant proposal they developed last year and it was not funded, with the expectation that they will revise their previous grant or develop a new one.

Please refer to the full details here.