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FSU's interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience provides doctoral training in several broad areas of research excellence. Additional information about our program can be found on our Prospective Graduate Student page.

Application deadline is Dec. 1, 2021.

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Jessica Moser, 2021 Goldwater Scholar

Behavioral Neuroscience undergraduate major, Jessica Moser, was selected as a 2021 Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation selects award recipients who have the potential to become tomorrow's research leaders, and provides up to $7,500 in support of the recipient's educational expenses. Working with her mentor, Dr. Doug Storace in the Biology department, Jessica has been conducting research examining the role of dopamine receptors in the olfactory bulb. Her long-term career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and conduct research on hydrocephalus to find a cure for the condition.

Getting lost, particularly in new surroundings, is an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting the disease is affecting the brain’s navigation and memory systems at this stage. A potential cause for failed Alzheimer’s treatments lies in the inherent difficulty in catching the disease before the brain has become very dysfunctional. This grant is focused on identifying early changes in the brain and the ability to navigate our surroundings. The hope is that looking earlier in the disease progression will yield new insight into approaches for detecting and treating Alzheimer’s disease. We are also looking at later timepoints since more is known about later brain changes in Alzheimer’s disease.

This 5-year research project will reveal the neural circuit connectivity and behavioral function of chemically-identified brainstem neurons that act to increase threat-induced emotional responses, akin to symptoms of anxiety in humans. The project uses a new transgenic rat model to target two specific groups of hindbrain neurons that express glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and project to the limbic forebrain. Given evidence that brainstem GLP1 neurons and limbic GLP1 receptors are similar in rats and humans, results from this basic science project have potential translational relevance for understanding the neurobiological bases of normal threat responses and pathological anxiety responses in humans.

Dr. Hull is recognized, being named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for her research investigating the neuroendocrine control of male rat sexual behavior. Her studies have shown that dopamine is released in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) as soon as a male rat encounters a receptive female; release is further increased during copulation. Stimulation of dopamine receptors in the MPOA controls genital reflexes and sexual motivation. Glutamate is also released there and may control ejaculation. This brain area is essential for male sexual behavior in all vertebrate species that have been studied, from fish through humans.

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad. This prestigious award will provide funding for Behavioral Neuroscience major Djaina-shae Dervil to expand her studies in Italy this summer.