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USD CBBRe Undergraduates Present Research at 2019 Society for Neuroscience Conference

Rachel Rucker presenting her research at the FUN conference. She stands in front of her poster discussing with two audience members. Rachel Rucker is one of the four CBBRe students who presented their research at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Conference session that took place at the annual Society for Neuroscience Conference Oct. 19-23.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Five University of South Dakota Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe) students were accepted to present their research at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) Conference session that took place at the annual Society for Neuroscience Conference (SfN) in Chicago Oct. 19-23.

The students who were accepted to present included:

  • Brittany Bamberg, a junior medical biology major from Corsica, South Dakota
  • Carly Cooper, a sophomore medical biology from Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Rachel Rucker a sophomore chemistry and medical biology major from Yankton, South Dakota
  • Conrad MohrEymer a senior chemistry major from Reliance, South Dakota
  • Madeleine Nelson a junior medical biology major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Bamberg presented the research she completed under the mentorship of William Mayhan, Ph.D., “The Effects of In Utero Exposure to Alcohol,” after being accepted as a recipient of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research in Addiction (SPURA) award. Following graduation, Bamberg plans to enter the Sanford School of Medicine through the medical alumni scholarship and pursue a degree in medicine.

Cooper is a recipient of a SPURA award and has been working with Lee Baugh, Ph.D., on her project, “The Rhythm of the Night: An Examination of the Role of the Human Circadian System on Decision Making and Motor Performance.” Cooper is also a Certified Nurse’s Assistant and has experience providing care for mentally impaired residents, including those with dementia, brain trauma and age-related diseases.

MohrEymer is a medical alumni scholar and SPURA awardee. He has been working with Baugh analyzing fMRI data for his project, “Time for a change? Brain Activity and Behavioral Performance Reveal Different Dynamics at Short, Intermediate, and Long Delay Intervals During a Delay Discounting Task.” MohrEymer has presented his work at local symposiums, and he completed a preceptorship at the Vermillion Hospital.

Rucker is a National Goldwater Scholarship recipient as well as a UDiscover recipient with Brian Burrell, Ph.D. She presented her research, “Diacylglycerol Lipase: Does Mutation of the Catalytic Region Influence Membrane Localization?” at the conference. Rucker plans to pursue a career in translational research on pain systems.

Nelson presented her research, “Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Responses to Synthetic Cannabinoids,” she completed under the mentorship of Dr. Doug Martin after being accepted as a recipient of the SPURA award. Nelson hopes to attend the Sanford School of Medicine and pursue a degree in medicine. Madeleine also serves as the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/ Doctors Without Borders - USD chapter President.

SfN, founded in 1969, seeks to promote scientific discovery and education in the field of neuroscience, and it now has over 37,000 members in more than 95 countries. FUN’s mission is to enhance undergraduate participation in research and recognize excellence in neuroscience education.


CBBRe provides outstanding training of research students and fellows, feeding the pipeline of creative independent scientists in the fields of neuroscience and behavioral science within the northern plain states and nationally. The core members of the center are recognized in their field and are actively involved in research and the education of students, and in service to the neuroscience community.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News