August 15-16, 2017
Muenster University Center Ballroom, University of South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota

Registration Opens: June 26
Registration Deadline: July 28
For more details, contact

The Neurobehavioral Research Symposium brings together researchers from the fields of neural and behavioral sciences, providing a forum of collegial interaction and collaboration.

Presentations include talks from internationally recognized experts in the field, invited speakers and poster presentations from CBBRe students and faculty. Students who have recently completed the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research in Addiction at USD will present their work at the poster session.

Visit our Google sites page to learn about previous symposiums, including profiles of the featured speakers from the event along with a link to their websites for additional information.

All are welcome to attend the scientific and social sessions and are encouraged to present research at the poster session held on August 15. Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to be considered for a poster presentation prize.

The research symposium is made possible through support from the University of South Dakota, the Sanford School of Medicine, Sanford Health, the Center for Brain and Behavior Research and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, grant number R25-DA033674.

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View symposium schedule

Poster Session

The poster session will be held on the afternoon of Aug. 15. Students, postdoctoral researchers, staff and faculty are encouraged to present their research during the session and should indicate on the registration form if they would like to be considered for a presentation prize. Posters should be no larger than 40 inches high and 60 inches wide.

Meet With Speakers

Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoc fellows who register for the symposium can choose to have lunch with one of the invited speakers on August 15. Indicate your preference on the registration form. Lunch groups are limited in size so register early to secure a place.

Continuing Education Units

Indicate on the registration form if you would like to earn a continuing education unit (1 unit = 10 hrs) while attending the symposium. Further details will be sent to you upon registration.

Directions and Parking

The symposium will be held in the ballroom on the second floor of the Muenster University Center on the Vermillion campus of the University of South Dakota. Parking is available adjacent to the Muenster University Center. Parking lots 2, 3 and 4 will be available to CBBRe attendees without a permit to park on the days of the symposium, but parking meters will be enforced as normal.

View Parking Map

2017 Invited Speakers

Pablo CastilloPablo E. Castillo, M.D./Ph.D.
Harold and Muriel Block Chair Professor
Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Talk Title: “Presynaptic plasticity: Novel functions and mechanisms”

Pablo Castillo is the Harold and Muriel Block Professor of Neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Universidad de la República in Uruguay and postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University. Castillo is a world expert in synaptic plasticity, a biological process critically involved in experience-dependent modifications of brain function. He has made significant contributions to our understanding of various forms of activity-dependent plasticity at both excitatory and inhibitory synapses under normal and pathological conditions. In his studies, he combines molecular, genetic, pharmacological and electrophysiological techniques in the mammalian brain. His work has been largely published in top-tier journals, and he is the author of several widely cited review articles and book chapters.

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Amy JanesAmy C. Janes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital
Talk Title: “Cue-reactivity, craving and multi-modal neuroimaging of nicotine dependence”

Amy Janes is a neuroscientist at McLean Hospital and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. While she began her research career studying addiction in preclinical models, her current National Institutes of Health-funded studies use clinical neuroimaging to clarify how individual differences in brain function, chemistry and structure influence tobacco use and relapse. She also uses these tools to study other addictive disorders and to clarify links between drug use and psychopathology, with the goal of using neuroscience to inform personalized treatment development. Janes directs the Functional Integration of Addiction Research Laboratory as well as the clinical-basic training track of the NIDA-funded T32 post-doctoral training program.

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Randolph NudoRandolph J. Nudo, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor & Vice Chair, Research Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Director, Landon Center on Aging
University of Kansas Medical Center
Talk Title: Closed-loop neuromodulation: An emerging modality for therapy after brain injury

Randolph Nudo's research focuses on translating basic science research into more effective clinical interventions for neurological disorders that accompany aging. He is recognized for his work on the effects of rehabilitative training on functional plasticity after stroke and is a frequent speaker at national and international symposia on stroke, neurology, physical therapy and rehabilitation.

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Jeffrey TaskerJeffrey G. Tasker, Ph.D.
Catherine and Hunter Pierson Chair in Neuroscience
Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology
Tulane University School of Science and Engineering
Talk Title: “Glucocorticoid desensitization of the noradrenergic excitation of the HPA axis”

Jeffrey Tasker received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Colorado in 1981 and his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Bordeaux, France in 1986. He received postdoctoral training in the physiology department at the Tulane University Health Science Center and in the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. He joined the faculty of Tulane University as an assistant professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology in 1991 and currently holds the rank of professor. He has benefitted from continuous research support from the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years and has published over 80 research papers, reviews and book chapters. The research in his laboratory uses electrophysiology, molecular biology and genetic manipulations to study the electrical activity and molecular signaling of neuroendocrine cells of the hypothalamus and principal neurons and interneurons of the basolateral amygdala, with the goal of gaining insight into such central nervous system conditions as stress, depression, obesity and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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2017 Internal Speakers

Brenna BrayBrenna Bray
Ph.D. Candidate
Basic Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Specialization
Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota
Talk Title: “The ventral hippocampus: A gatekeeper of stress effects on motivation and drug withdrawal”

Brenna Bray is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the University of South Dakota’s biomedical sciences program, specializing in neuroscience. She is founder and chair of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe) Student Organization and has served as the CBBRe Internal Advisory Committee Graduate Student Representative. Bray has presented her research at multiple national and international venues and has earned a variety of grants and fellowship awards, including a Graduate Research and Creative Scholarship Grant, a Student Fellowship Award from the 2017 International Meeting on Steroids and the Nervous System and a Kent Young Investigator Travel Award. Her research combines neurochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral techniques to explore the effects of stress and corticosterone in the ventral hippocampus on reward function in a rat model of amphetamine withdrawal.

Lee BaughLee Baugh, Ph.D.
Basic Biomedical Sciences, University of South Dakota
Talk Title: "Tiring from trying: A potential relationship between errors in motor control and post-stroke fatigue”

Lee Baugh received his B.A. from the University of Waterloo in psychology and his M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Manitoba in brain and behavior. He conducted postdoctoral work at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University before joining the faculty at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota in 2011, where he is now an associate professor and director of the Human Functional Imaging Core. Baugh’s primary research interests examine how skilled actions are learned and performed and how these processes can be affected by neurological damage, such as that observed following stroke. To do this, Baugh utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach including functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography and the advanced analysis of kinematic data.

Kathleen Brown-RiceKathleen Brown-Rice, Ph.D.
Counseling and Psychology in Education, University of South Dakota
Talk Title: “Psychological and neural characteristics of adult children of alcoholic parents depend on current alcohol use”

Kathleen Brown-Rice received her Ph.D. in counseling and counselor education from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She is a licensed professional counselor, licensed mental health provider, certified addiction counselor, licensed clinical addiction counselor, qualified mental health provider, approved clinical supervisor and national certified counselor. She has worked as a professional counselor in various clinical mental health settings assisting clients with mental health and substance use issues. Brown-Rice’s research efforts are on developing and enhancing ethical and competent services to clients and focus on three main areas: Professional counselor supervision and training, Native American mental health with an emphasis on the implications of historical trauma and risky substance use. To further understand emotional regulation, resiliency and intergenerational transmission of mental health and substance use disorders, she incorporates neural imaging and genotyping.

Gina Forster

Gina Forster, Ph.D.
Basic Biomedical Sciences, University of South Dakota
Talk Title: "Psychological and neural characteristics of adult children of alcoholic parents depend on current alcohol use”

Gina Forster obtained her Ph.D. from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia in psychology with an emphasis on neuroscience. She completed postdoctoral work in the U.S. before taking a faculty position at the Sanford School of Medicine in 2005, where she is currently a professor and the co-director for the Center of Brain and Behavior Research, the Summer Program in Undergraduate Research in Addiction and the Center for Genetics and Behavioral Health. Forster’s research aims to understand the neurobiology underlying anxiety and substance abuse in both animal models and human subjects, utilizing in vivo neurochemical techniques, functional MRI and a variety of behavioral assays. Forster’s research has been funded by the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health and has been recognized by a variety of awards, including the President's Research Award for Established Investigators in 2016.

Brandon Gray

Brandon Gray
Ph.D. Candidate
Clinical Psychology, University of South Dakota
Talk Title: "Evidence of the etiological role of peritraumatic dissociation in borderline personality disorder"

Brandon Gray is a fifth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology training program at the University of South Dakota, specializing in disaster mental health and working under the mentorship of Sara Lowmaster. He also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology in 2013 and his Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology in 2016 at the University of South Dakota. Recently, he spent the summer interning in the evidence and research unit of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department. His research focuses primarily on the mechanisms or processes that lead individuals to differing trajectories following traumatic experiences and how these models can inform large-scale, community-based prevention and intervention efforts.

Thayne MunceThayne A. Munce, Ph.D.
Sanford Sport Science Institute, Sanford Children’s Health Research Center
Talk Title: “Hard-hitting research: Brain injury risk in youth football”

Thayne A. Munce is the exercise physiology manager of the Sanford Sports Science Institute at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is an assistant scientist in the Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford Research. Munce also holds appointments as an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and as a research scientist with the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital. He serves on the leadership board of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Munce performs research encompassing several areas of athletic health and performance with the intent of translating evidence-based knowledge into practical applications on the playing field and in the clinic. Much of his current work focuses on studying brain injury risk and concussion in sport and thermoregulation during exercise and heat stress. In addition to his research, Munce has successfully helped many athletes optimize their performance and reduce their risk of injury through individualized athletic assessments and performance consultations.

Samuel Sathyanesan

Samuel Sathyanesan, Ph.D.
Basic Biomedical Sciences, University of South Dakota
Talk Title: Re-purposing and re-engineering: psychiatric applications of an old anemia drug

Samuel Sathyanesan obtained a Ph.D. in molecular physiology from the University of Notre Dame, where he worked on cloning and purifying plant antifreeze proteins. He then switched fields to pursue a postdoctorate in molecular psychiatry at Yale University. He subsequently joined the Yale faculty and established a neurovascular lab studying antidepressant mechanisms. He moved to USD in 2013 and is currently investigating the molecular and behavioral actions of erythropoietin. Sathyanesan's research has been recognized by a National Association for Research on Schizophrenia And Depression young investigator's award, and his research is currently supported by National Institutes of Health.