The Academic Minute for 2016.1.25-1.29


Academic Minute from 1.25 – 1.29

Monday, January 25
Janet Rubin – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
My cell and molecular biological investigations over the last 20 years have been aimed at understanding the control of bone remodeling. In the last several years, we have studied how mechanical forces, including strain, shear and vibration, alter the lineage decisions which are made by mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) precursors of bone, fat and other musculoskeletal elements. Our fundamental studies have characterized signaling pathways by which loading prevents adipogenesis and promotes osteogenesis. The MSC cytoskeleton undergoes reorganization upon stimulus of the same mechanical signal pathways, both affecting βcatenin delivery to the nucleus as well as other signals. Recently we have found that intranuclear actin induces osteogenesis in MSC, and enhances other osteogenic programs.

Tuesday, January 26
Martin Gerdes – New York Institute of Technology
Heart Failure
Martin Gerdes completed his Ph.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1978 and was recently recognized as the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Throughout his career, work has focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of maladaptive ventricular remodeling in heart failure and potential treatments. He has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and has been the PI on ~$30M in NIH funding during his career. He has identified key cellular mechanisms involved in dilated heart failure, including a maladaptive change in myocyte shape.

Wednesday, January 27
Florin Dolcos – University of Illinois
Anxiety Disorders and Optimism
Prof. Florin Dolcos is a Faculty Member in the Department of Psychology, a member of the Beckman Institute’s Cognitive Neuroscience group, and the Director of the Social, Cognitive, Personality, and Emotional (SCoPE) Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His main research interests are in understanding the neuro-behavioral mechanisms of emotion-cognition interactions, in healthy and clinical populations.

Thursday, January 28
Germund Hesslow –  Lund University
Classical Conditioning and the Cerebellum
Germund Hesslow studied philosophy, psychology and medicine at Lund University in the seventies and eighties and received PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology in 1984 and 1988 respectively. He taught philosophy of science for many years and is associate professor of philosophy since 1986. His work in neurophysiology was focused on the cerebellum. In 1989-1990 he did a postdoc with Christopher H Yeo in London to learn about Pavlovian conditioning. Yeo had demonstrated the role of the cerebellar cortex in this form of learning. After returning to Sweden, Hesslow set up his own lab in Lund to study the physiology of nerve cells in the cerebellum. He has focused on two problems, the nature of feedback regulation of learning and the mechanisms underlying timing of conditioned reflexes.

Friday, January 29
Kathrin Rothermich – McGill University
Social Communication
I studied Linguistics and Educational Science at the University of Leipzig (Germany) and obtained my PhD in Cognitive Science at the Max Planck Insitute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (also Leipzig) and the University of Potsdam (Supervisor: Prof. Sonja A. Kotz). After that I took part in a transatlantic exchange program in auditory cognitive neuroscience and studied for 10 months at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research in Montreal (Université de Montréal, Supervisor: Prof. Isabelle Peretz). Since 2013 I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Neuropragmatics and Emotion Lab at McGill University (Supervisor: Prof. Marc D. Pell) and investigate the neural correlates of social communication with a focus on speaker intentions (such as sarcasm and pro-social lies) as well as emotion perception. To study social communication and emotion perception I mainly use behavioral, electrophysiological and eye tracking measures in both healthy and clinical populations (with a focus on Parkinson’s Disease patients). Additionally, I am interested in social inference and communicative appropriateness during social interactions, within and across different cultures.