We are so pleased to welcome Drs. Sebnem Tuncdemir and Andres Grosmark to be our newest Faculty members in the Neuroscience Department at UConn Health.
Sebnem received her MS degree in Biology from Pennsylvania State University, focusing on the characterization of a novel inhibitory neurotransmitter plasticity in the CNS. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from NYU, studying mechanisms supporting the maturation and functional integration of interneurons into the developing neocortex. During her postdoctoral training under the guidance of Dr. Rene Hen at Columbia University, she gained skills on the in vivo analysis of the function of adult neurogenesis and aimed to understand neural circuits that generate memory-guided behaviors. She is a recipient of K99/R00 BRAIN Initiative Career Transition Award titled “Dissecting the neural circuit for discrete cue representation in the Dentate Gyrus”. For the past years, Sebnem’s studies have been published in Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron and Cell Reports, etc. After joining UCONN Health, she will begin to dissect the heterogeneous components of the memory circuits that are disrupted in mood and anxiety-related disorders such as depression and PTSD. She will apply novel technologies to both monitor and control genetically identified neural networks in real time.
Andres graduated from Duke University with dual majors in neuroscience and philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. Rutgers University where he published the Science article: “Diversity in neural firing dynamics supports both rigid and learned hippocampal sequences”. During his postdoctoral training in Dr. Attila Losonczy’s lab at Columbia University he learned awake behaving two-photon calcium imaging techniques, which he combined with electrophysiology to study long-term memory formation and consolidation in the hippocampus. This novel approach resulted in his recent study “Reactivation predicts the consolidation of unbiased long-term cognitive maps”, published in Nature Neuroscience. During his training he has also published multiple studies in Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Communications, etc and received funding from prestigious private institutions. His research at UConn-Health will continue to focus on how long-term memories are consolidated, how these processes go awry in neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, and how memory can be rescued from these pathological states. A particular focus of his research will be on how these processes and pathologies are shaped by the interaction of two key behavioral states, each with distinct functions and pathologies: the awake state, and the resting state. He plans to tackle these open questions by monitoring the ongoing activity of large neural ensembles, together with neural decoding methods, and closed-loop optogenetics.
Sebnem and Andres have lab space at E4013 & E4014 on the 4th floor, and they both are available for developing collaborative research and looking forward to training students at all levels.