Intricacies of the Brain

Two UAlbany students, along with three faculty researchers, were among the first class of the SUNY Research Foundation’s Brain Summer Scholars Program, a 2014 initiative to study brain disorders. The program is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

Hear More from Quilong MinChosen to participate in the intensive 10-week program were Thomas Yocono ’15 and Roi Ankawa ’16. Yocono, an honors physics major, studied the functional connectivity of the brain’s amygdala in children aged 9-12 with Professor Hoi-Chung Leung of Stony Brook University. The student’s findings concluded that prolonged stress and anxiety in this age group increased the risk of developing anxiety disorders and/or depression later in life, similar to the connectivity patterns of young adults.

Ankawa, an honors biochemistry/molecular biology major, supported the research efforts of UAlbany psychologist Ewan McNay on the link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in regard to the correlation between lack of insulin and brain cell deterioration.

UAlbany biologist Annalisa Scimemi hosted SUNY Oneonta student Marvin Rodriguez for research on “Software development for 3D reconstructions of synapses,” and UAlbany neuroscientist Gerwin Schalk worked with Stony Brook student Vyassa Baratham on “Single-Trial Detection of Spatiotemporal Patterns in Brain Signals.”

In addition to the BRAIN initiative, UAlbany continued to place students in its annual Summer Research Institute, which offers qualified underrepresented minority undergraduates in the STEM disciplines an enriching seven-week research experience under the direction and guidance of UAlbany faculty members and researchers.