Overview

The Baltimore Brain Series (BBS) is a multi-institutional talk series coordinated between the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University, in which outstanding postdoctoral fellows and graduate students are competitively selected to present their ongoing research in neuroscience at one of the partnering institutions. 

We aim  to provide a collegial setting for extraordinary early career researchers to showcase their work and receive constructive feedback, as well as to foster inter-institutional collaborations within the Greater Baltimore Area neuroscience community. Participation not only allows for practice and honing of presentation skills, but it also opens up career opportunities. For example, a post-doctoral fellow who gave a talk with BBS was invited back to the institution for a faculty interview and chalk talk.

Application Submission Closed

We have closed applications for Spring 2024 semester. Please stay tuned for Fall 2024 submission!

Upcoming talks - Spring 2024

Yuxi Chen (JHU)

National Institute on Drug Abuse

May 10th - 12:30-1:30 PM

Odor-place representations in rat lateral entorhinal cortex under context-dependent rule switches

Yuxi Chen is a neuroscience PhD candidate in Dr. James Knierim’s lab at Johns Hopkins University. Her research examines changes in the context-dependent information processing capabilities of the lateral entorhinal cortex that are closely coupled to differential aging in an odor-place associative learning paradigm.

Omar Soler-Cedeno (NIDA)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

April 16th - 12:00-1:00 PM

Dissecting the functional roles of GABAergic vs. glutamatergic neurons in opioid reward using conditional mu opioid receptor-knockout mice

Dr. Omar Soler-Cedeño is a former NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) fellow and NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) awardee working in the lab of Zheng-Xiong Xi at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where he studies the neural structures underpinning opioid reward and addiction. At NIDA, he also investigates new cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and dopamine D3 receptor ligands as potential therapeutics for opioid and psychostimulant use disorders. Dr. Soler-Cedeño earned his Ph.D. at the Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce, Puerto Rico, in the lab of James T. Porter, where he studied the ventral hippocampus and prefrontal cortex connectivity in aversive conditioning learning. His long-term goal is to become an independent investigator and establish a research program to study mental health, addiction, and chronic pain comorbidity.

Mitchell Moyer (UMB)

Johns Hopkins University

April 23rd - 1:00-2:00 PM

De novo SUR1-TRPM4 Expression in Epilepsy Contributes to Chronic Seizure Susceptibility

Mitchell Moyer is an MD-PhD student in his fourth year of PhD candidacy in the University of Maryland’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Mitchell is conducting his dissertation research with Dr. J Marc Simard MD, PhD and Dr. Alexander Ksendzovsky MD, PhD in the University of Maryland’s neurosurgery department and is studying the role of the SUR1-TRPM4 channel in chronic epilepsy.



Dominic Isaacs (UMB)

National Institute on Drug Abuse

May 10th - 12:30-1:30 PM

A vascular electrical network links brain capillary pericytes to arteriole dilation and is recruited for neurovascular coupling

Dominic is a Neuroscience graduate student in Thomas Longden’s lab at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research interests include systems physiology and biophysics. As an engineer Dominic is also excited about applying photonics and optical tools to solve tough problems. His research in the Longden lab focuses on brain blood flow control by pericytes. To study brain pericyte physiology the lab utilizes in vivo multiphoton imaging, optogenetics, and patch clamp electrophysiology to observe and influence the dynamics of brain capillary blood flow. 

Jacqueline Griswold (JHU)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

April 16th - 12:00-1:00 PM

The untold story of axon shape

Jackie Griswold is currently a 5th year graduate student in the lab of Shigeki Watanabe at Johns Hopkins. She is working on defining the ultrastructure of unmyelinated axons through electron microscopy and relating this axon structure to axon function through modeling. Outside of the lab she relaxes by volunteering in her church’s community PeacePark, bringing nature to the urban setting of Southwest Baltimore.

William Sanchez Luna (NIDA)

Johns Hopkins University

April 23rd - 1:00-2:00 PM

Heteromers of μ-opioid receptor and corticotropin release factor receptor 1 control glutamatergic transmission in the central amygdala

William Sanchez is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Sergi Ferre at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His research is focused on understanding how Mu-opioid receptor heteromers modulate synaptic transmission in the central amygdala and striatum.


Miriam Hauptman (JHU)

National Institute on Drug Abuse

May 31st - 12:30-1:30 PM

Causal inferencing relies on domain-specific neural substrates: Evidence from the case of illness causality

I am a PhD candidate in Dr. Marina Bedny's laboratory in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. My research uses functional neuroimaging to investigate the neural basis of causal inferencing about the emergence of illness. In addition to this work, I am involved in several projects that investigate the interaction between sensory experience (i.e., blindness, deafness) and the human language system.

Rajtarun Madangopal (NIDA)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

May 7th - 12:00-1:00 PM

In vivo labeling and molecular characterization of cocaine memory-specific active neurons using the photo-convertible calcium integrator CaMPARI2

Upcoming!

Avinash Vaidya (NIDA)

Johns Hopkins University

May 14th - 1:00-2:00 PM

Cognitive factors supporting structure learning

Avinash Vaidya is a research fellow in the Learning and Decision-Making Unit at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program. His research focuses on the cognitive and neural processes underlying flexible behavior.


Jewel Clark (UMB)

National Institute on Drug Abuse

May 31st - 12:30-1:30 PM

Effects of state empathy on socially induced hypoalgesia using immersive virtual reality

Jewel Clark is a PhD candidate in neuroscience in the lab of Dr. Luana Colloca at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She studies the role of placebo effects in endogenous pain modulation using neuroimaging, electroencephalography, quantitative sensory testing, and virtual reality. Outside the lab loves exploring Baltimore with her family and finding great places to get sushi. 

Maira Assuncao Bicca (JHU)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

May 7th - 12:00-1:00 PM

Novel Object Conflict Pain (NOCP) operant assay to measure contextual pain in mice

I am a pharmacist; Master, and PhD of Pharmacology with emphasis in Neurosciences; and my postdoctoral training is in Immunopharmacology, Neurobiology, and Neuroscience. My long-term research interests involve the understanding of the neuroinflammatory process, especially how inflammatory molecules and pathways by them activated can contribute to the triggering and progression of many important human diseases as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and pain. My academic training and research experience have provided me with an excellent background in multiple biological disciplines including pharmacology, physiology, chemistry, molecular biology pathology, immunology, and biochemistry. 

Ben Grissom (UMB)

Johns Hopkins University

May 14th - 1:00-2:00 PM

A single-cell multi-omic atlas of the ventral pallidum reveals VGLUT1 neuron-specific transcriptional responses in immediate and prolonged forced abstinence from heroin self-administration

Ben Grissom is a 3rd year Genome Biology candidate in the Molecular Medicine Program at UMB. He is passionate about finding practical solutions to difficult medical issues using bioinformatic, machine learning, and multiomic approaches.

Contact

To obtain the Zoom link for virtual talks,  or for any queries regarding the selection process, abstract submission or any other information on the BBS, please email our co-directors or any member of the organizing committee. We are happy to answer any questions!

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