News

We’re glad you’re interested in learning more about the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity (NBC) Laboratory at Florida International University (FIU)! Our team likes to keep busy. Members from the lab participate in outreach events throughout the community, present research at scientific conferences and meetings, and much more. Here, you can learn about these activities, read about recent news and scroll through photos. Would you like to know more? Feel free to contact us with questions about the stories found here!

Current News

Ranjita Poudel, a second year graduate student in Neuroinformatics and Brain connectivity lab, has been awarded the Edward and Rita Girden Cognitive Neuroscience Scholarship of $1470. This scholarship will supplement Ranjita’s Travel to the 2017 Human Brain Mapping conference this June 25-29 in Vancouver, Canada. She will be presenting a poster entitled “Behavioral decoding of functionally related brain areas consistently linked to drug cue reactivity”.

April 21st, 2017

Jessica Bartley, a Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity lab, has won 2nd place in the Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium (Education Division) for her work on the neural correlates of physics learning! Her featured poster, Understanding the Neural Substrates of Physics Problem Solving: Brain Mechanisms and Behavior Correlates, presented findings from her fMRI investigation on the neural basis of physics classroom learning and problem solving skill development.

This honor follows a 1st place award (Education Division) for Jessica’s presentation at Florida International University’s annual Graduate Student Scholarly Forum, a University-wide celebration of 100+ graduate student research projects. Jessica’s outstanding Scholarly Forum performance afforded her, as one of only 11 FIU graduate students, the opportunity to represent FIU at the statewide competition. Awards at this Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium are in recognition of research excellence for top graduate research projects across the state of Florida. Jessica was one of three FIU students to receive awards at this event.

Congratulations to the winners!

Want to learn more about the Exploring the Neural Mechanisms of Physics Learning project?

Learn more about FIU’s Graduate Student Scholarly Forum or the Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium

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April 12, 2017

Good news! Dr. Matthew Sutherland’s recent paper, entitled “Neural signatures of cognitive flexibility and reward sensitivity following nicotinic receptor stimulation in dependent smokers,” is available ‘new online’ in the journal JAMA Psychiatry (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2618129)! Congratulations, Dr. Sutherland!

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March 3, 2017

NBC Lab recently hosted a satellite conference for Brainhack Global,  a unique multi-site conference that convenes researchers from across the globe and a myriad of disciplines to work together on innovative projects related to neuroscience. Graduate students Jessica Bartley, Katie Bottenhorn, Jessica Flannery, Ranjita Poudel, and Taylor Salo presented their research!

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March 3, 2017

Good news, everyone! Three of our graduate students (Emily Boeving, Jessica Flannery, and Taylor Salo) have been awarded Merit Awards from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping to present their work in oral sessions at the annual meeting to be held in Vancouver, Canada this June. Congratulations, Emily, Jessica, and Taylor!

Learn more about the annual Organization for Human Brain Mapping Conference

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May 21st, 2016

Jessica Flannery, a graduate researcher in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity lab, has been selected to receive an Abstract Travel Award for the 2016 OHBM Annual Meeting in the amount of $1,000. The funding for these special awards was provided by the National Science Foundation and only the top rated abstracts were selected. This travel award will supplement Jessica’s travel to the 2016 Human Brain Mapping conference this June in Geneva, Switzerland, at which Jessica will present a poster on entitled, “Habenula activity following positive and negative feedback among abstinent cigarette smokers.” Congratulations, Jessica!

Learn more about the annual Organization for Human Brain Mapping Conference

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May 13th, 2016

Good news! Dr. Matthew Sutherland’s recent paper, entitled “Chronic cigarette smoking is linked with structural alterations in brain regions showing acute nicotinic drug-induced functional modulations,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions!

Congratulations, Dr. Sutherland!

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March 14th, 2016

Jessica Flannery, a graduate researcher in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity lab, has been awarded the Edward and Rita Girden Cognitive Neuroscience Scholarship of $1500. This scholarship will supplement Jessica’s travel to the 2016 Human Brain Mapping conference this June in Geneva, Switzerland, at which Jessica will present a poster on entitled, “Habenula activity following positive and negative feedback among abstinent cigarette smokers.” Congratulations, Jessica!

Learn more about the annual Organization for Human Brain Mapping Conference

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October 23rd, 2015

Jessica Bartley, a graduate researcher in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity lab, has been awarded top prize for her data blitz presentation at this year’s regional BrainHack Americas Conference. Twelve neuroimaging trainees competed at the University of Miami in a series of talks highlighting work from multiple ongoing projects. Jessica’s talk, titled “Exploring the Neural Mechanisms of Physics Learning”, featured preliminary analyses from her ongoing fMRI study to understand neural correlates of physics learning and physics problem solving. She shared 1st place and a $600 award with two other neuroimaging trainees, Iris Broce (Florida International University) and Jason Nomi (University of Miami). Congratulations to the winners!

Access Jessica’s talk on Open Science Framework

Want to learn more about the Exploring the Neural Mechanisms of Physics Learning project?

Learn more about the annual BrainHack Americas Conference

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October 5th, 2015

Exciting news! A team of 14 FIU scientists has been awarded $12.7 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) to study the impact of substance use on adolescent brain development. NIDA’s nationwide, multisite project termed the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 to 10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders. Scientists will track exposure to substances (e.g., nicotine, marijuana, alcohol), academic achievement, cognitive skills, mental health, and brain structure and function. Drs. Laird, Sutherland, and Dick represent the neuroimaging core of ABCD-FIU, of which Dr. Gonzalez is the Principal Investigator.

For a complete list of FIU scientists involved click here!

Would you like to learn more about NIDA’s ABCD study?

See what the Miami Herald has to say on the matter.

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August 3rd, 2015

Great news! Dr. Matthew Sutherland (Co-director) has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The overall objective of the NIH LRP is the recruitment and retention of highly qualified health professionals to scientific careers in clinical, pediatric, health disparities, or contraception and infertility research. Dr. Sutherland received a clinical LRP award for his research characterizing the impact of drug abuse and HIV infection on the human brain.

Would you like to know more about the NIH LRP?

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June 2nd, 2015

Good news! A recent paper, authored by Dr. Angela Laird (Director), has been accepted for publication in the journal NeuroImage! Dr. Sutherland (Co-Director), Dr. Riedel (Postdoc), and Dr. Ray (lab alumnus) are co-authors.

The paper, entitled “Neural architecture underlying classification of face perception paradigms,” examines the neural architecture of face perception studies archived in the BrainMap database. Overall, findings from the paper demonstrate that large-scale data mining approaches can inform the evolution of theoretical cognitive models. NeuroImage plans to publish the paper in 2015. Congratulations, everyone!

Would you like to know more about this, and other publications?

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May 27th, 2015

Students from Key Point Academy at First Presbyterian Church in Miami (Brickell, Florida) took a field-trip to Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique Campus. During their visit, the students toured the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum outdoor exhibits. Afterward, Dr. Angela Laird (Director) led the kindergarteners and first-graders through a “brain science” presentation, which highlighted “being a scientist,” brain health, and others. After the presentation, lab members facilitated a “brain hats” activity, designed to help students learn the major lobes of the brain, their general function, and more.

Would you like to know more about their visit?

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May 15th, 2015

Both Drs. Kimberly Ray (Postdoc, UC Davis) and Michael Cody Riedel participated in the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio commencement ceremonies earlier this month. Dr. Angela Laird, their graduate mentor, was also there. Congratulations to them both!

Dr. Kimberly Ray successfully defended her dissertation, titled “Graph Theoretical Analysis of Human Intrinsic Connectivity”, last summer. Currently, she’s a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis’s Imaging Research Center (Sacramento, California). Would you like to know more about Dr. Ray’s work?

Dr. Michael Cody Riedel defended his dissertation, entitled “Hierarchical Perspectives in Intrinsic Brain Organization,” earlier this spring. Currently, he’s a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Florida International University’s Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging Center (Miami, Florida). Would you like to know more about Dr. Riedel’s work?

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May 7th, 2015

Good news! Dr. Michael Riedel’s recent paper, entitled “Meta-analytic connectivity and behavioral parcellation of the human cerebellum,” has been accepted for publication in the journal NeuroImage!

In the paper, Dr. Riedel used meta-analytic methods to derive correspondence in cerebellar organization according to task-independent connectivity and behavioral specialization. In addition, this work highlights the heterogeneous function of the cerebellum as a component of both motor and cognitive processes. Congratulations, Dr. Riedel! His paper is set to publish in 2015.

Would you like to know more?

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April 29th, 2015

The FIU Top Scholars Award celebrates faculty for outstanding success in their fields. Distinguished members of the academic community were honored for their dedication to excellence and for their accomplishments in research and scholarship. Honorees are nominated by their respective deans through the Office of the Provost. Dr. Sutherland was recognized for his significant funding from the National Institutes of Health, to explore the impact of HIV and cannabis on brain function. Congratulations, Dr. Sutherland!

Would you like to know more about the 2015 Top Scholars Award ceremonies?

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April 22nd, 2015

Good news! Jessica Bartley, a third year Ph.D. student in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity (NBC) Laboratory, has been awarded first place in a department-wide competition of graduate research! This year’s competition of oral presentations welcomed nine FIU Physics Ph.D. students to present their dissertation research to an audience of faculty and peers. A faculty panel awarded Jessica first prize, which included a cash prize of $500, for her presentation entitled “Physics Learning Facilitates Enhanced Resting-State Brain Connectivity in Problem Solving Network”. Jessica’s work is funded by the National Science Foundation’s REAL DRL-1420627 grant.

Would you like to know more about NSF NSF REAL DRL-1420627?

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April 14th, 2015

This week, researchers from the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity Laboratory (NBC) took part in Miami’s “Brain Awareness Week,” organized by the Patricia and Phillip Frost Miami Museum of Science. At the Museum’s “Science Up Close” and “Brain Arcade” events, Dr. Angela Laird (Director), Dr. Matthew Sutherland (Co-Director), and Jessica Bartley (graduate student) moderated a set of public discussions on neuroimaging, and neurobiology behind optical illusions. Jessica was joined by Julio A. Yanes (Coordinator of Research) during the Museum’s day-long Brain Fair, where they educated children and families about ongoing research using active demonstrations with games and a “brain helmet,” equipped with LED lights representing neural networks. A great time was had by all!

Would you like to know more about Brain Awareness Week? Click here for more from FIU News and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.

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April 14th, 2015

This week, Dr. Matthew Sutherland (Co-Director) was asked to lead a public forum on neuroimaging, as part of Miami’s Brain Awareness Week, hosted by the Patricia and Phillip Frost Miami Museum of Science. The “Brain and Addiction” event, which Dr. Sutherland moderated, was centered around public discussions on medical applications in neuroimaging, addictions and the brain. Dr. Sutherland was joined by South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center’s Medical Director, Dr. John Eustace, and Assistant Vice President, David Vittoria. Conversations included altered reward processing, drugs of abuse, and treatments. Way to go, Dr. Sutherland!

Would you like to know more about Brain Awareness Week? Click here for more from FIU News and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.

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Lab member accepted to Auburn!

March 20th, 2015

Good news! Julio A. Yanes (Coordinator of Research) has been accepted to Auburn University’s doctoral program in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience! In Auburn (Alabama), Julio will be working with Dr. Jennifer Robinson, one of Dr. Laird’s long-time collaborators, in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (CAN) Laboratory. There, Julio hopes to engage in psychological, physiological and neuroimaging research, exploring the intersection between cognition and emotion. Congratulations, Julio!

Would you like to know more about Auburn University’s CAN Laboratory?

 

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Dr. Matthew Sutherland completes interview with CBS-Miami on “technology addiction.”

December 18th, 2014

Can someone be “addicted” to technology? Moreover, where does one draw the line between regular-usage and addiction in technology? Recently, Dr. Matthew Sutherland sat down with Local CBS4’s Vanessa Borge to consider these questions and more. This is another example of lab members bringing neuroscience research into the local community.

Would you like to know more about this interview?

 

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Dr. Matthew Sutherland’s paper accepted for publication in Biological Psychiatry!

December 16th, 2014

Good news! Dr. Matthew Sutherland’s recent paper, entitled Neurobiological Impact of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Agonists- An Activation Likelihood Estimation Meta-Analysis of Pharmacologic Neuroimaging Studies, has been accepted for publication in the journal Biological Psychiatry! In this paper, Dr. Sutherland compiled the results of many neuroimaging studies regrading the impact of nicotine or nicotine-like drugs on brain function. The results of this study provide a better perspective on how these drugs influence brain activity which is important for developing new strategies to help more people stop smoking cigarettes as well as the development of strategies for cognitive enhancement in nonsmokers. Congratulations, Dr. Sutherland! His paper is set to publish in 2015.

Would you like to know more about this paper?

 

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Lab brings BrainHack, international brain initiative, to Miami!

October 22nd, 2014

This week, members from the lab hosted the Miami Brainhack Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) conference at Florida International University. Brainhack is a unique conference that convenes researchers from across the globe to work together on innovative projects related to neuroscience. The Miami Brainhack EDT focused on open small-group sessions where attendees, analyzed brain imaging data and developed tools and resources for data to be shared across labs. More specifically, the group at FIU worked on developing fMRI data processing pipelines – making sure data gets from point A to point B without any serious flaws in the analyses – by moving all of their data processing to FIU’s high performance computing environment.

Would you like to know more about BrainHack EDT?

Would you like to know more about this paper?

 

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The White House invites Dr. Angela Laird to BRAIN Initiative celebration in Washington, D.C.!

September 30th, 2014

Good news! The White House has invited Dr. Angela Laird (Director) to an event to celebrate the progress being made by the federal government, universities and research institutions, foundations, the private sector, and others, to advance the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. The event, which was held at the White House complex, highlighted federally funded research projects ranging from DNA “barcodes” used to trace complex brain circuits, to the development of portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) technologies.

“I was honored to be included in the discussion, just as I continue to be proud that the NIH and NSF have seen fit to invest taxpayer dollars in my work. Studying the brain is immensely gratifying, and to do so surrounded by my amazing colleagues is an added bonus!” Dr. Angela Laird

Would you like to know more? Click here to see FIU’s coverage of the BRAIN Initiative, or here to learn more from NIH.

 

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Dr. Angela Laird named in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014” by Thomson Reuters!

August 22nd, 2014

Amazing news! Dr. Angela Laird (Director) has been named one of the world’s most highly cited researchers by Thomson Reuters in its “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014” report! Released in June, the Highly Cited Researchers section of the report recognizes more than 3,200 authors in 21 main fields of science and the social sciences. Laird is one of only 15 Florida researchers on the list. According the report, Dr. Laird ranks among the top 1% most cited for the field of neuroscience and behavior between 2002 and 2012. This means her published work in neuroscience has consistently been judged as significant and particularly useful by her peers in the research community!

Would you like to know more?

 

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Dr. Angela Laird participates in “GeekiWood” conference for students.

September 27th, 2014

FIU’s School of Integrated Science and Humanity along with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies hosted the GeekiWood conference, empowering adolescents (especially girls) to have a greater appreciation for technology, science, engineering, math (STEM) and the arts. Dr. Laird (Director) led a session on “Neuroscience and Hollywood,” where pop-culture brain myths were debunked. Movies covered included “Lucy” and “The Matrix.” Producers, educators, technicians and scientists worked with the group of more than 200 middle school girls – and boys – showing how technology can facilitates the creative process. Way to go, Dr. Laird!

Would you like to know more about Geekiwood?

 

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Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging Center receives Provost Excellence Award!

August 30th, 2014

Good news! The Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging Center (CNIC) at Florida International University (FIU) received the Provost Excellence Award for outstanding research! The Center, under the direction of Dr. Angela Laird, conducts research in various fields in cognitive neuroscience, including language, executive function, emotion, action, sensory perception and mental health. It is dedicated to expanding research with emphasis on improving the health of minority populations and reducing health disparities, in particular epidemics of HIV/AIDS and drug abuse. The center will also contribute unique findings to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.

FIU’s Provost Excellence Awards are presented at FIU Stadium during home-games. Congratulations, Dr. Laird!

Would you like to know more about FIU’s Provost Excellence Award, including other recipients?

 

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Photos

Our team has been doing some amazing work, both inside and outside the lab! For the photos you’ve seen and more, look through our Photobucket, where we archive pictures from events, conferences, and more.