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Meet the #PLOS #SfN16 Contributors

The PLOS Neuroscience Community will be returning for a third year to the Society for Neuroscience conference, to be held November 12-16, in San Diego, CA. We’re thrilled to introduce our phenomenal team of students, postdocs and faculty who will be live-tweeting and blogging the meeting. Read on to meet the contributors and learn about the fascinating neuroscience, outreach issues and social events they’re planning to cover.


 Emilie Reas (@etreas): I’m a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego and editor for the PLOS Neuroscience Community. I’m fascinated by how the brain creates and retrieves memories, and how neural changes during aging and disease cause the loss of memory and other cognitive functions. Outside of lab, I love to indulge in long runs, travel and writing. Follow me at #SfN16 where I’ll be tweeting and blogging about memory, aging and beyond!


headshot Elena BlancoSuarez Elena Blanco-Suárez: I am a postdoc in the Salk Institute in the molecular neurobiology lab of Nicola Allen. I study novel astrocyte-secreted factors that are involved in synaptic plasticity in the developing brain. I use in vitro and in vivo techniques to dissect the mechanisms of these newly discovered factors. I will be blogging my favorite sessions from #SfN16.


Nipun Chopra Nipun Chopra (@NipunChopra7): I am about to defend my PhD dissertation at IU School of Medicine. My research examines the microRNA regulation of proteins implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.


Kurt Kurt Fraser (@Kurt_Fraser) is a second year graduate student in biopsychology at The Johns Hopkins University where he works with Dr. Patricia Janak. His research interests lie in understanding individual differences in motivation and how dopamine functions within the amygdala complex during reward-related learning. At #SfN16 he’ll be tweeting all things reward, motivation, addiction, dopamine, and recent advances in understanding the link between neural circuits and behavior.


Gulati,Tanuj Tanuj Gulati (@tanuj_gulati): I am a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Francisco. I am working in the areas of procedural learning, especially its sleep-related processing. Skill learning is a special case, as unlike the memory of a fact/ episode, it takes time and practice to assimilate. And it is also sub served by different neural structures (e.g. striatum, cerebellum). In my work, I have used brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) as a proxy for skill learning. Modern systems neuroscience approaches of high-density electrophysiological recordings, and causal neural manipulations are making it possible to elucidate the neural basis of procedural learning and I will be covering this area at #SfN16. Additionally, I will also cover research on memory functions of sleep, as well as novel neurotechnology geared towards movement disorders.


Anahita_Hamidi-300x200 Anahita Hamidi is currently a PhD Candidate in the UC Davis Neuroscience program. She works with mouse models to study the neural basis of memory formation and retrieval. In addition to research, she is an active freelance science writer and maintains a blog at: She is also a core team member of NeuroEditor – an initiative aimed at improving the way neuroscience is communicated both within and outside of academia. She is committed to open and clear communication of science for all. Also, she can’t seem to stop asking questions and drinking coffee.


Izbicki_Headshot Patricia Izbicki: I am a second-year neuroscience doctoral student at Iowa State University As a classical pianist and harpsichordist, I have experienced the physical and psychological effects of music. However, the neural mechanisms, clinical implications, and educational benefits of these effects have not been completely determined. My main research interest is to understand more about the effects of music on the brain and nervous system along with the clinical and educational implications.


clantz Crystal Lantz is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland in College Park, where she uses in vivo electrophysiology to study the primary visual cortex. She is interested in the regulation of experience-dependent plasticity, and how it can be rejuvenated to treat amblyopia. When she’s not in the lab, she enjoys backpacking, fly fishing, and sewing. This year at SFN she will be tweeting about inhibitory neuron function, development, and circuitry, as well striate cortex plasticity.


Marthe Ludtmann Marthe Ludtmann: I am postdoctoral scientist at the Institute of Neurology (UCL, UK). Most of my research centres around the use of live cell imaging technologies to unravel cellular changes in Parkinson’s disease. I am particularly interested in mitochondria and changes in the bioenergetics status of the cell. This is my first SfN meeting and I will be tweeting about my conference experience, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease research.

DanLurie Dan Lurie: I am a 3rd year PhD student in Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. My work uses fMRI to grow our understanding of the large-scale functional architecture of the human brain, and how whole-brain activity and connectivity dynamics relate to ongoing cognition. I am particularly interested in identifying the mechanisms underlying the control of brain dynamics, and working to integrate existing knowledge about the neural basis of cognitive control and working memory with emerging insights from complex systems, network science, and machine learning.


ChrisMadan Christopher Madan (@cMadan) is currently a postdoc at Boston College. Chris studies memory and decision making, and is particularly interested in what factors makes some experiences more memorable than others and how these influences can manifest in decision making. Recently Chris has also been investigating inter-individual differences in brain morphology.


Aaron Sathyanesan photo Aaron Sathyanesan (@UnctionFunction): I’m a postdoctoral fellow at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. My current research is focused on understanding how the brain computes adaptive motor behavior, and how this behavior is altered in developmental disorders. I’m ever curious about emerging neurotech to visualize neurons and glia in action. At SfN16 I will be tweeting and blogging about all things locomotion, cerebellar disorders, brain miniscopes and much more!


LizanneSchweren Lizanne Schweren: I’m a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge (UK), in the Department of Developmental Psychiatry. I’m trying to work out what makes the adolescent brain so highly vulnerable to developing depression and other psychiatric problems. I’m also wrapping up my PhD work on the long-term effects of stimulant treatment on the developing brain in ADHD. I’ll be tweeting and blogging about everything with the slightest relation to psychiatry and mental health, and in particular developmental psychiatry. Please do send me a tweet if you’re seeing/doing/presenting anything along these lines! When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy running and writing.


Marieke Marieke van Vugt: I am an assistant professor in the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the University of Groningen. My lab does research in the domain of computational cognitive neuroscience, with a focus on decision making, mind-wandering and mindfulness. I am particularly interested in how these cognitive functions are implemented by brain oscillations, so I will be tweeting about these topics and more.

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