This is Going Beyond

We may be ten years young, but our students are wise beyond their years. The students below have taken their graduate careers to the next level by securing extra funding through fellowships and scholarships. Tell us more about yourself and your research!

 

 

LAURA CORTES

Forger Lab, Neuroscience

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

I am studying how early-life epigenetic mechanisms (specifically DNA methylation) shape sexual differentiation of the mouse brain. Furthermore, I am interested in how sex steroid hormones interact with DNA methylation enzymes to alter expression of cell markers in sexually differentiated brain areas, such as the preoptic area of the hypothalamus, that are implicated in parental and sexual behavior.


STEPHANIE HARE

Turner Lab, Neuroscience

GSU Provost Dissertation Fellowship

My research interests lie at the intersection of neuroscience, psychology, mental health policy, and philosophy – particularly ethics. With a firm background in both neuroscience (BS, Neurobiology, University of Wisconsin Madison) and philosophy (MA, Loyola University Chicago), I am drawn to interdisciplinary perspectives on neuroscience and its impact on society. As a neuroethicist, I consider neuroscience as a double-edged sword equipped with the power to positively transform peoples’ lives (potentially enhancing individual happiness and liberty) on some occasions, while undermining individual liberty and happiness on other occasions.


MEG SOSNOWSKI

Brosnan Lab, Psychology

Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation

In my research, I study how naturally-occurring hormones affect the way that we think using non-human primates as model species. I perform voluntary cognitive tests with socially living capuchin monkeys and apes in order to assess their decision-making strategy and performance; I also develop and code computer “games” to this same end. I then assess hormone levels non-invasively and correlate endogenous hormone levels with performance, decision-making, and behavior. This past year, I’ve worked on correlating capuchin testosterone changes with changes in group demographics, as well as studying how oxytocin relates to capuchin affiliative behaviors. Overall, I aim to better understand the conservation of hormonal effects in the brain throughout primate evolution.


CHRISTOPHER FIELDS

de Vries Lab, Neuroscience

Mental Health Research Dissertation

Grant to Enhance Workforce Diversity

My research focuses on how the innate immune system mediates gut-to-brain control of anxiety and compulsive behavior. Toward this end, I study how differing types of immune challenge uniquely affect behavior, using big data to profile behavioral syndromes. In my graduate project, I am studying the behavioral effects of gut-derived lipopolysaccharide, which coats the outer surface of gram negative bacteria-a major component of the gut microbiome. My overall goal is to understand the connections between gut microbiota, host immunity (including sex differences therein), and host behavior to develop tractable gut-based treatments to behavioral disorders.


JOHNATHAN BORLAND

Albers Lab, Neuroscience

NIH National Research Service Award

I was recently awarded a National Research Service Award Fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate sex differences in how oxytocin within the mesolimbic dopamine system modulates social reward using a variety of molecular genetic, pharmacological and behavioral approaches, including the development of gene edited hamsters. I plan to continue investigating the neuronal mechanisms underlying social behavior after completion of my fellowship and earning my doctorate degree.


MARY FERNANDES

Tone Lab, Psychology

NSF Graduate Research

Fellowship Program

I study the neurobiological correlates of anxiety and depression. Specifically, I am interested in the brain mechanisms associated with social behavior in these populations and how these mechanisms change as a result of clinical interventions (i.e. CBT, mindfulness, etc.).