Call for IBRAiN Applications

The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) is inviting graduate students to apply for the IBACS-BIRC Research Assistantships in Neuroimaging (IBRAiN) Program. These graduate assistantships are for 10 hours per week during the Fall (2023) and Spring (2024) semesters at the Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC). During the first year, assistants will be trained in neuroimaging methods, data science, and reproducibility. Assistants will spend the remaining allocated hours at BIRC, supporting users of BIRC facilities. This could involve helping design and implement experimental procedures for fMRI, EEG, TMS etc., recruitment and prepping of participants, data analysis, or overseeing use of equipment by others. Applicants will be expected to commit to the full duration of the assistantship (Fall & Spring). Funds may be available during Summer 2024 to enable IBRAiN students to pursue their own research at BIRC. IBRAiN students also receive an allocation of 20 hours of resource time to be used at BIRC during the course of the fellowship. 

Up to three students will be supported in the 2023-2024 cycle. Students will participate in common training activities, but will primarily specialize in one ofthree roles at BIRC. Applicants should indicate which role(s) they wish to be considered for. 

1. Research software engineer. This role assists researchers in data analysis, particularly functional MRI, using existing software, and engineering and implementing new analytic tools when needed. Qualified candidates will have demonstrated proficiency in Python, MATLAB, or Julia, and Unix like computing environments. 

2. User support. This role assists researchers in using BIRC facilities, including experimental design and setup, equipment training, data management, and maintaining documentation resources. Qualified candidates will have prior experience in designing and running in-person experiments. Familiarity with Python or MATLAB is preferred. 

3. MR Operator. This role assists researchers in obtaining functional and structural MRI data by learning how to operate the Siemens Prisma 3T MRI Scanner to perform brain research studies. Qualified candidates will have demonstrated an understanding of MRI safety, a high level of reliability, and the ability to work with participants across the lifespan.

The deadline for receipt of applications will be midnight on Friday, February 24, 2023

Subject to funding constraints, these assistantships could be renewed for a further year. Please refer to the full details and access the application on ourIBRAiN webpage

If you have any questions, please contact the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu.

COGS Colloquium: Dr. Naselaris on 2/24

The Cognitive Science Program invites you to a talk on 2/24!

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Naselaris, an Associate Professor from Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota.

Time & Location: 4PM, Friday February 24th, 2023, in Oak Hall Room 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

RSVP Form 

Talk Title: “Why Do We Have Mental Images?”

 

AbstractEveryone who experiences mental imagery is the world expert on the contents of their own mental images. We argue that this privileged perspective on one’s own mental images provides very limited understanding about the function of mental imagery, which can only be understood by proposing and testing hypotheses about the computational work that mental images do. We propose that mental imagery functions as a useful form of inference that is conditioned on visual beliefs. We implement this form of inference in a simple generative model of natural scenes, and show that it makes testable predictions about differences in tuning to seen and imagined features. We confirm these predictions with a large-scale fMRI experiment in which human brain activity was sampled while subjects generated hundreds of mental images. We speculate that ongoing mental imagery may impact the structure of noise correlations in the visual system, and present a preliminary analysis of the Natural Scenes Dataset that appears to be consistent with these speculations. 

Bio: Thomas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the Medical Discovery Team on Optical Imaging and Brain Science at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research. He is co-founder and currently Executive Chair of the Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience.

UConn Sophomore Launches Brand Focused on Mental Health

“’Small wins’ feature in a big way in Davenport’s first venture and in StarMind’s initial product, The Guide – an interactive journal that combines daily logs, “morning mindfulness” activities, and areas for reflection with key psychology concepts and curated online content accessible through QR codes imbedded into an American-made navy leather-bound tome.”

View the article Here

COGS Alum Pavitra Makarla ’21 and Undergraduate Research

“’I think a lot of students are worried about whether it’s too late or too early to get involved,’ she says. ‘I think that people shouldn’t be afraid to dive in if they’re really interested, because we’re a research university, and UConn has a lot of opportunities if you’re willing to seek them out.'”

For Undergraduates, Early Research Experience Pays Off

COGS Alum Emily Kaufman ’16 Stands Up to Online Hate

A proud Husky alumna, Kaufman works as an investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. A leading authority on hate, extremism, antisemitism and terrorism, the center’s researchers, including Kaufman, monitor the online presence of groups and organizations in order to expose and disrupt them, to educate law enforcement about the workings and actions of the groups, and to help the public identify and deal with extremist threats.”

The Extremist Watchdog: Meet the Husky Who Tracks Online Hate

COGS Major Irene Soteriou ’23 Named A Truman Scholar

Truman Scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and academic excellence. Each Truman Scholar receives funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.”

UConn Junior named A Truman Scholar 

COGS Major Connor Rickermann ’23 Partners with Bike Walk Bolton

“The positive experience also led to a second partnership with Bike Walk Bolton, UConn Service Learning, and Anthropology 3340 – rising senior Connor Rickermann ’23 (ENG/CLAS), a dual degree computer science engineering and cognitive sciences major, worked with the group on an economic impact project, helping to collect data on how people use the Hop River Trail, what users like and dislike about the trail, what amenities and commodities exist along the trail, and how awareness can be heightened to the benefit of both trail users and local businesses.”

For Popular Trail, There’s Light at the End- and the Beginning, and the Middle- of the Tunnel

COGS Major Rose Pacik-Nelson ’23 receives Gilman Scholarship

“The Gilman Scholarship is congressionally funded through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the State Department. The funding supports broadening student participation in study abroad programs and encourages travel to diverse locations around the globe, along with intensive language study and internship experiences.”

UConn Produces and All-Time High 17 Gilman Scholars

Cog Sci Major Evan Zysman

A senior in the Cog Sci major, Mr. Evan Zysman, was first author on a poster presentation this month at the Boston University Conference on Language Development. BUCLD is widely considered the most prestigious (and selective) conference in the field of child language acquisition. Evan will now be first author on a paper to be published in the conference proceedings.

COGS & SLAC Talk on 12/16: Jonathan Peelle

The Cognitive Science and SLAC programs invite you to a talk on 12/16! 

 

 

 

Speaker: Dr. JonathanPeelle, an Associate Professor from theCenter for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University.

Time & Location: The talk will begin at 4PM, Friday December 16th, 2022, in the Dodd Center Konover AuditoriumLight refreshments will be available at 3:15PM. Please RSVP in advance. Virtual Attendance options are provided in the form. 

Talk Title:Cognitive consequences of acoustic challenge during spoken communication”

AbstractEveryday communication is full of acoustic challenges, including background noise, competing talkers, or assistive devices. How do listeners understand speech in the midst of this noise? Evidence from multiple sources is consistent with a shared resource framework of speech comprehension in which domain-general cognitive processes supported by discrete regions of frontal cortex are required for successfully understanding speech. These increased cognitive demands can be captured using behavior, pupillometry, and functional brain imaging. Although frequently studied in the context of hearing loss, these principles have broader implications for our understanding of how auditory and cognitive factors interact during spoken language comprehension.

Bio: Jonathan is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the neuroscience of human communication, aging, and hearing impairment at the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University. He also has two podcasts: “The Brain Made Plain” where he interviews cognitive neuroscientists about their work, and “The Juice and the Squeeze” in which he and a co-host talk about different aspects of being in academia.