Michael G. Wessells 73 MA, 74 PhD Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Michael Wessells ’73 MA, ’74 PhD received the Distinguished Alumni Award on Monday, April 24 in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. UMass Amherst Alumni Association President Michaella Morzuch presented the award. Also in attendance was UMass President Marty Meehan, Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, and Dean of Natural Sciences Steve Goodwin.

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2017






The Psychological and Brain Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium was held on April 27 in Tobin Hall. Undergraduates had the opportunity to share their research with faculty, graduate students, and peers. The symposium provides a celebration of the vast undergraduate research opportunities in the department. Students presented at the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Symposium the following day.

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Joseph Bergan Receives Armstrong Fund Award

The Armstrong Fund for Science has announced its awards for 2017, which will grant $30,000 each to two projects over the next two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges.

Joseph Bergan, assistant professor in psychological and brain sciences, will receive $20,000 the first year and $10,000 the second year to support his project, “Molecular profiling of intact biological tissues through accelerated antibody staining.” He hopes to develop a new strategy for preparing tissue samples with antibodies for microscopy so individual proteins and biomolecules can be studied by microscopy “where they reside,” without the need for thin sectioning and time-consuming antibody staining. “Through a series of recent advances in tissue histology and microscopy it is now possible to render large intact tissue samples transparent while preserving the architecture of biomolecules. Thus, fine structures can be precisely imaged deep inside tissue samples without the need for sectioned tissue,” he notes.

Lap-Ching Keung wins Katz Award at CUNY

​Lap-Ching Keung was just awarded the Jerrold J. Katz Young Scholar Award at the 2017 CUNY Conference at MIT. The award “recognizes the paper or poster presented at the Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing that best exhibits the qualities of intellectual rigor, creativity, and independence of thought exemplified in Professor Katz’s life and work.”

Lap received the award for his paper, co-authored with Adrian Staub, “Closest conjunct agreement in English: A comparison with number attraction,” presented at the 2016 CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing at the University of Florida. The paper presents evidence from both production studies and eyetracking during reading that agreement with a conjoined subject (e.g., The dog and the cat…) is not reliably plural when the second conjunct is singular.

Congratulations Lap!!

Professor Nilanjana Dasgupta Wins Application of Personality and Social Psychology Award

​Nilanjana Dasgupta, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and director of CNS faculty equity and inclusion, has won the 2016 Application of Personality and Social Psychology Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Dasgupta was recognized for her “groundbreaking research” that examines unconscious or implicit bias, with specific focus on the plasticity of implicit bias, for example, “the ways in which variations in social contexts cast imprints on the mind to influence the self-concept, attitudes, beliefs and behavior toward others.”

PBS graduate students Fiona Ge and Sarah Winokur receive 2016 Fall Travel Awards from the Center for Research on Families

Two CNS graduate students, Fiona Ge, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Sarah Winokur, Neuroscience and Behavior Program, have received 2016 Fall Travel Awards from the Center for Research on Families. Ge’s research broadly focuses on psychosocial factors that contribute to well-functioning romantic relationship processes. She will attend the 18th Annual Meeting for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference in San Antonio, CA with the help of her travel award. Winokur studies the neurobiology underlying parental behavior across the postpartum period. She will use the award to travel to The Society for Neuroscience Conference in San Diego, California. CRF News Release

Joonkoo Park receives CAREER award to explore how our brains process numbers and magnitude

Assistant Professor and Honors Faculty Joonkoo Park, Psychological and Brain Sciences, received a five-year, $751,000 NSF faculty early career development (CAREER) to address basic research questions about how our brains process numbers and magnitude and how such processes give rise to more complex mathematical thinking. He recently co-authored a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that reports where in the brain numerical quantity evaluation is processed. Science magazineNewsMedical.netScience DailyNews Office release

Professor Emeritus Jerrold Meyer proposes less invasive diagnostic test for Cushing’s Syndrome

Neuroscientist Jerrold Meyer, Psychological and Brain Sciences, is co-author of a recent paper in Endocrine: International Journal of Basic and Clinical Endocrinology that describes a promising new noninvasive method – measuring levels of the hormone cortisol in hair samples – of testing for Cushing’s syndrome, a disorder of excessive cortisol secretion. Meyer, whose lab conducted all cortisol measurements used in the study, collaborated with endocrinologists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Though other researchers have explored using cortisol in hair samples to study patients with Cushing’s syndrome, the authors believe theirs is the first study to correlate serum and urinary cortisol levels with the hair assay to validate it as a new diagnostic tool. News Office release

Agnes Lacreuse selected as section member at the Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health

Congratulations to Agnes Lacreuse PhD who has been selected for a 4-year term as a member of the Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, Rhythms and Sleep Study Section at the Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health! She will be contributing to the national biomedical research effort through grant application reviews, recommendations and status surveys of field research. This honorable position is representative of Dr. Lacreuse’s accomplishments in her field of study.