Neuroscience Seminar Series

Sponsored jointly by the Ryan Institute and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program

2023-24 Seminar Series

The Neuroscience Seminar Series is held on Thursdays from 1–2 p.m. in the Great Room (111), 130 Flagg (SSRC), unless otherwise indicated. The series is jointly hosted with the INP.  For information or questions, please contact Nicole Maranhas at

2/1, Ellen McGough, PT, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, URI Physical Therapy

2/8Dorothy Schafer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School

2/22 Science Communication Fundamentals
Emily Cribas, Ph.D., Program Specialist, URI Metcalf Institute

2/29, Moses Chao, Ph.D.
Professor, Depts of Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Physiology, and Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center

3/7, David Rand, Ph.D.
Erwin H. Schell Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

Justin Parent, Ph.D.

Director, Kids Development and Stress Lab; Assistant Professor, URI Psychology

Kristin Scaplen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Neuroscience; Executive Faculty Fellow, Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences, Bryant University

4/4, Science Communication Interactive Workshop
Emily Cribas, Ph.D., Program Specialist, URI Metcalf Institute

4/11, Janis Gaudreau
URI Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Nicole Logan lab

4/18, Haley LeClerc
URI Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Jess Alber lab

4/25, Jen Mattar
URI Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, John Robinson/William Van Nostrand lab


Fall 2023

9/14 Brice McConnell, MD, PhD
Director, Sleep Research Program, Alzheimer’s & Cognition Center
University of Colorado, Denver

Elvia Mena Avila, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, URI Quinlan lab

 Victoria Heimer McGinn, PhD

Roger Williams University, Brain Waves RI (formerly Brain Week RI)

10/12 Yvonne Yang, MD, PhD**
Director, Psychiatry Research, UCLA Semel Institute

Rita Valentino, PhD

National Institute on Drug Abuse
 William Van Nostrand
Co-Executive Director, URI Ryan Institute

 Nicole Logan, PhD

URI Health Sciences
 Bharat Baidyanathan, PhD**

EMD Serono: Biopharmaceutical
|Merck KGaA
Riccardo Sirtori, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow, URI Fallini lab

**Virtual talk to be held on Zoom.

Past Speakers

Spring 2023

2/2, Oriel Feldman Hall, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University (virtual talk)
2/9, Angie Johnston, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology, Boston College
2/23, Jotham Coe, Ph.D., Synthetic and Medicinal Chemist, BioPharmaWorks
3/2, Jacqueline Webb, Ph.D., George & Barbara Young Chair in Biology; Professor of Marine Biology, University of Rhode Island
3/9, Belinda Barbagallo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Salve Regina University (and URI INP)
3/23, Jose Canton Leal, INP graduating student
3/30, Manuel Castro-Alamancos, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience, Janice and Rodney Reynolds Endowed Chair of Neurobiology, University of Connecticut
4/6, Reza Abiri, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, URI 
4/13, Mariusz Furmanek, Ph.D., P.T., D.P.T, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, URI
4/20, Lauren Thompson, INP graduating student 

Fall 2022
9/15, Richard Clements, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, URI
9/22, Anne Hart, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Neuroscience, Brown University
9/29, Joseph Schrader, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, URI
10/6, Gary Bassell, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Cell Biology, Emory University
10/13, Frank Menotti, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, MindImmune Therapeutics
10/27, Walt Besio, Ph.D, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, URI
11/3, Giuseppe Coppotelli, Ph.D, Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, URI
11/10, Zoe Hughes, Ph.D., Vice President of Biology, Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals
11/17, Mark Hartman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Kinesiology, URI
12/1, Lourdes Martinez Silva, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University

Spring 2021 
2/2, Jessica Alber, Ph.D., Ryan Research Professor of Neuroscience, URI
2/9, Gerhard Koenig, Ph.D., Co-Founder, President, CEO Arkuda Therapeutics
2/16, F. Xavier Castellanos, M.D.*, Brooke and Daniel Neidich Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Grossman School of Medicine
3/2, Jennifer Morgan, Ph.D., Director, Bell Center for Regenerative Biology & Tissue Engineering Marine Biological Laboratory
 3/9, Christine Clarkin, P.T., D.P.T., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, URI
3/23, Niall Howlett, Ph.D., Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology, URI
3/30, Lynn McCane*, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, URI
4/6, Christie Ward-Ritacco, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Kinesiology, URI
4/13, Oluwarotimi Folorunso, Ph.D., Director, McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program Harvard Medical School
4/20, Katie Dunton, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, URI

*Virtual talk held on Zoom 

Fall 2021 
9/15 Fang Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, URI
9/22 Simret Beraki, PhD, Labcorp Drug Development
9/29 Jaime Ross, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
10/6 John Disterhoft, PhD, Ernest J. and Hattie H. Magerstadt Memorial
       Research Professor of Physiology, Northwestern University 
10/13 Gordon Dash, PhD, Professor of Computational Finance and Decision Science, URI
10/20 Judy Liu, MD/PhD, Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of
       Ophthalmology and Neuroscience, Brown University
10/27 Christie Ward-Ritacco, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, URI
11/3 Jodi Camberg, Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology, URI
12/1 Yalda Shahriari, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, URI
12/8 Karla Kaun, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Brown University 

Spring 2021 (Virtual series)
3/3, Karen Echeverri, Ph.D., Eugene Bell Associate Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, University of Chicago
12/2, Amy Stamates, Ph.D., URI Assistant Professor of Psychology 
11/18, Susan E. DeAndrea, Ph.D., URI Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
11/4, Andreas Pfenning, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Computational Biology, Carnegie Mellon University
10/28, Manolo Diaz-Rios, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Biology, Bowdoin College
10/21, Claudia Fallini, Ph.D., URI Assistant Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology
 10/14, Daniela Zarnescu, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona
9/30, Sami Barmada, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Neurology and Angela Dobson and Lyndon Welch Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, University of Michigan Health System


2019-20 Seminars
This series ended on March 16 in keeping with COVID-19 campus closures.

March 3, 2020
Activity-induced Modulation of the Nociceptor after Spinal Cord Injury

Megan Detloff, Assistant Professor, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine

February 4, 2020
Innate Immune Cell Recruitment and Synaptic Destruction in Alzheimer’s Disease

Robert Nelson, Vice President of Biology, MindImmune Therapeutics, Inc.

January 21, 2020
The Pluripotential in Alzheimer’s Disease: iPS Cell Modeling for Risk and Opportunity

Yu-Wen Alvin Huang, Assistant Professor, Neurology, Brown University

December 17, 2019
Synaptic Loss: A Consequence or Driver of Age-related Pathologies

Gregorio Valdez, Associate Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Center for Translational Neuroscience, Brown University

November 19, 2019
Selective Vulnerability of the Memory Networks in Brain Aging and AD
Hwamee Oh, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University; Director of Imaging Research, Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program 

November 5, 2019
Development and Aging of a Brain Stem Cell Niche
Joanne Conover, Professor, Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut

September 10, 2019
Non-Transgenic, Diet-Induced Animal Models of AD-like Pathology and Dementia
Craig Weiss, Research Professor, Physiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine



Public Talks

March 2019:Superfoods for a Healthy Gut & Brain,” Navindra Seeram, URI Professor of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences,  provided a Brain Week Rhode Island lecture on the gut-brain connection and the potential for certain foods to prevent inflammation and protect brain health. 

May 2018: “The Inflammation Connection” W. Sue T. Griffin, Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences visited URI to give a public talk on the role of inflammation in brain health.