Neuroscience Futures Seminar Series

2022 - 2023

A collage of junior scientists and clinician-scientists hard at work

Spotlighting junior scientists and clinician-scientists

The Department of Neurology in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and the OHSU Brain Institute are excited to launch a new lecture series designed to spotlight junior scientists and clinician-scientists.

The seminar series is designed with three broad goals in mind:

  • Engage neurology and neuroscience researchers from minoritized groups to promote a more diverse future.
  • Provide a platform for junior scientists and clinician-researchers to showcase their work and network with the local neuroscience community.
  • Promote an action-oriented effort to increase diversity in the national and international academic community.

Elucidating the Mechanism underlying Stress and Caffeine-Induced Motor Dysfunction using a Mouse Model of Episodic Ataxia Type 2

Heather Snell, Ph.D.

Heather Snell, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher, Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 4 p.m. PT virtual

Dr. Heather Snell completed her undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and English literature at Louisiana State University. She then returned home to Fort Worth, Texas, to complete her Ph.D. at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in the laboratory of Dr. Eric B. Gonzales. Her work combined cellular biology with pharmacology, receptor modeling, and whole cell electrophysiology to investigate the interactions of the GABAA ρ1 receptor with a class of drugs called guainidine compounds which block acid sensing ion channels (ASICS). Her current work, first as a Postdoctoral Fellow and now as an Associate Researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Kamran Khodakhah, focuses on understanding the receptors and channels underlying the intrinsic activity of the GABAergic cerebellar Purkinje cells in health, but also in cerebellar disorders, such as the most common form of Episodic Ataxia, Episodic Ataxia Type 2 (EA2).

Upcoming Neuroscience Futures seminars


Leanna Hernandez Headshot

Jan. 10, 2023
Neurodevelopment in Autism and Related Childhood Disorders: From Genes to Complex Phenotypes (password pNRRaph5)
Leanna Hernandez, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA

Neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and schizophrenia, are etiologically complex and characterized by diverse clinical and neurobiological features. This intrinsic heterogeneity makes it very challenging to identify early biomarkers of disease risk and develop targeted treatments. In this talk, Leanna Hernandez, Ph.D., presented her work using a genetics-first approach to 1) parse neurobiological heterogeneity in autism and related childhood disorders, 2) understand the shared genetic etiology between co-occurring conditions, and 3) identify early brain-based biomarkers of risk for future psychiatric symptoms.

Soledad Cogno 200

Oct. 12, 2022
Minute-scale oscillatory sequences in medial entorhinal cortex (password aJFG63Gg)
Soledad Gonzalo Cogno, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Moser lab, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Trondheim, Norway

Soledad Gonzalo Cogno, Ph.D., received her undergraduate degree in physics and her Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from the Balseiro Institute, Argentina. Her work is focused on understanding the network dynamics that emerge in the medial entorhinal cortex during sensory-minimized conditions.

Tahra Eissa PhD

June 14, 2022
Integrating behavioral, electrophysiological and computational approaches for improved understanding of brain dynamics: from epilepsy to decision-making (password rZuZUkA5)
Tahra Eissa, Ph.D., Research Associate, Department of Applied Math, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Tahra Eissa completed her undergraduate degree in bioengineering at Cornell University, motivated by her work with the special needs community. Her graduate work at the University of Chicago with Dr. Wim van Drongelen and initial postdoc at Columbia University with Dr. Catherine Schevon focused on identifying biomarkers for locating the seizure focus in epilepsy patients. Her current postdoctoral position at University of Colorado Boulder with Dr. Zachary Kilpatrick pivoted her focus to study how humans adapt their decision-making strategies to their environment, and she is now combining these two interests to study how the brain implements these flexible strategies and what happens when there are cognitive deficits.

Victoria Abraira Headshot

May 10, 2022
Wired for touch: New discoveries about the sense that binds us to others (password XtDggir2)
Victoria Abraira, Ph.D., Assistant professor, W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Rutgers University

Dr. Victoria Abraira received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California and her graduate degree in Neuroscience from Harvard University. As a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins/Harvard Medical School, she set out to understand the cellular and synaptic substrates underlying innocuous touch perception by elucidating the functional organization of sensory neurons in mouse hairy skin and uncovering the neural codes of touch perception in the spinal cord dorsal horn.

Hakeen Lawal Ph.D.

January 11, 2022
Here, There, and Everywhere: Molecular mechanisms of cholinergic synaptic transmission during aging
Hakeem Lawal, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Delaware State University

The second speaker in the series on January 11, 2022, was Hakeem Lawal of Delaware State, a historically black college and university (HBCU). He presented his story and his work on cholinergic transmission in Drosophila. Dr. Lawal's personal story as he related in his talk is his - from Nigeria to Alabama to UCLA to Delaware State - but it illustrates obstacles that exist. His example to give back as a role model and mentor are impressive, and provide lessons for us all.

Monica Santisteman Ph.D.

October 26, 2021
Role of perivascular macrophages in neurovascular dysfunction induced by hypertension
Monica Santisteban, Ph.D., Leon Levy Research Fellow, Weill Cornell Medical

The inaugural speaker in the series on October 26, 2021, featured Monica Santisteban from Weill Cornell Medical College. She talked about her research on the role of perivascular macrophages in neurovascular dysfunction and cognitive impairment in hypertension. Dr. Santisteban is a native of Costa Rica and moved with her family to Florida as a teen, where her undergraduate mentor supported and encouraged her to apply to graduate programs. After a very productive training and with support from her PhD and postdoctoral mentors, she started her independently funded research program in 2020. Her journey to science emphasizes the importance of good mentorship in scientific training, particularly for minority students.

Join us virtually

To increase exposure, the quarterly talks will be virtual and available to attendees both within and outside OHSU.

Nominate a speaker

If you are interested in nominating speakers for our 2023-2024 series, please fill out this form. Self-nominations are encouraged!

Questions? Contact Kate Stout, community outreach and engagement, OHSU Brain Institute.