Seminars & Events
Monday, February 11, 2013: Dr. Daphne Soares (University of Maryland College Park) will speak on "The Sensory World of Cavefishes" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, March 4, 2013: Dr. Joe Cheer (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Endogenous Cannabinoids and the Pursuit of Reward" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Friday, April 12, 2013: Dr. Jill McGaughy (University of New Hampshire) will speak on "The Role of Cortical Norepinephrine in the Ontogeny of Executive Function" at 3:00 pm in Schaefer Hall 106.
Dr. Erin Johnson '02 recently received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and was inducted as an alumni member of Nu Rho Psi.
Ron Saul, "Chronic activation of the substantia nigra nociceptin/orphanin receptor induces motor deficits similar to Parkinson's disease," 2008. Saul, the 2008 winner of the Neuroscience Award, infused a drug into the substantia nigra of rats and measured the resulting motor behaviors, mood disturbances, and cognitive abilities.
Piantadosi, Sean (2010). Examining the Effect of Voluntary Exercise on Spatial Memory, Fear Conditioning and BDNF Levels in the Hippocampus of Male and Female Rats. Mentor: Dr. Anne Marie Brady
In aging humans, voluntary exercise has been shown to improve cognition, increase brain and hippocampus volume, and raise levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Sex differences in the effect of exercise have also been found, with females performing significantly better than males on cognitive tasks. Animal studies have replicated and expanded these human findings, with one notable exception: The effect of exercise in both male and female rats has not yet been studied. Existing literature suggests that the circulating hormone estrogen interacts with exercise, and that there are non-learning and memory associated differences between males and females following voluntary exercise. Other areas of research, such as chronic stress, have found stable sex differences in both the brain and behavior. Taken together, an argument for the possibility that exercise has sexually dimorphic effects can be made. The present study investigated whether 4 weeks of voluntary wheel running affected spatial memory, fear conditioning and hippocampal BDNF levels differently in male and female rats. Results showed that performance on an object placement task of spatial memory improved following exercise in both males and females. However, in males, both auditory and contextual fear conditioning were impaired following exercise, while female performance did not change. No changes in hippocampal BDNF were observed following exercise. Possible confounds, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.