NTP Seminar and Subgroups

Below is information regarding NTP Seminar and subgroup assignments for the 2021-2022 school year. If you have any questions or concerns, please email the NTP Office at ntp@mailplus.wisc.edu.

NTP 900 – Monday Seminar Dates 

Click here for the PDF.

Fall 2021:

Sep. 13—Faculty Research Presentation – “Human brain evolution and development: insights from functional genomics” – Dr. Andre Sousa, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience

Sep. 20—Student Research Presentation – “title” – Korri Burnett (Halloran)

Sept. 27—Student Research Presentation – “Hierarchical neural circuitry supporting 3D object-motion processing” – Lowell Thompson (Rosenberg)

Oct. 4—Faculty Research Presentation –”Retrograde transport is essential for mitochondrial homeostasis in axons.” –  Dr. Katie Drerup, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Integrative Biology

Subgroup 301: Efficient coding of natural environments

Faculty Leader:  Xin Huang                  NOTE:  Subgroup will meet virtually

About half a century ago, Horace Barlow (1961) hypothesized that the spikes generated by neurons in the sensory system formed a neural code for efficiently representing sensory information and that the neural code minimized the number of spikes needed to transmit a given signal. Conceivably, if signals in natural environments follow certain statistical regularities, an efficient coding system should best represent signals that happen more frequently and also reduce redundancy in the sensory input. In more recent years, exciting progress has been made in testing the hypothesis of efficient coding using approaches of statistical modeling, neural computation, and sensory neurophysiology. The results have further shed light on the function of the sensory system given ecological constraints. In this subgroup, we will draw examples from the visual and auditory system to discuss some of the theoretical ideas, computational models, and neurophysiological experiments that are centered on efficient coding.

Oct. 11— Subgroup 301 – Presentation #1, Kort Driessen

Oct. 18— Subgroup 301 – Presentation #2, Lowell Thompson

Oct. 25 – Subgroup 301 – Presentation #3, Graham Findlay

Subgroup 302: Molecular and cellular pathology of retinal disease

Faculty Leaders:  Colleen McDowell and Freya Mowat

Student TA leaders:  Emma Geiduschek and one other (TBD soon)

The retina is the innermost, light-sensitive layer of tissue of the eye. The optics of the eye create a focused two-dimensional image of the visual world on the retina, which translates that image into electrical neural impulses to the brain to create visual perception. The retina has 10 distinct layers which can be grouped into 4 main processing stages: photoreception; transmission to bipolar cells; transmission to ganglion cells; and transmission along the optic nerve. Damage to any of the cells types in the retina can lead to disease and loss of vision. This subgroup will explore molecular and cellular pathology of retina ganglion cell death in glaucoma as well as mitochondrial damage on macular function in aging and disease.

Nov 1— Subgroup 302 – Presentation #1 – Tara Loughery “Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Apoptotic Cell Death in Glaucoma”

Nov 8— Subgroup 302 – Presentation #2 – Serena Wisner “Changes in Mitochondria Metabolism and Function in Age-Related Macular Degeneration”

Nov 15 – NO Seminar – SfN meeting

Nov 22 – Subgroup 302 – Presentation #3 – Briana Ebbinghaus “Inflammation and Retinal Pathologies”

Subgroup 303: Developing Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors From Bedside to Bench and Back Again: The full cycle of Clinical Translational Research

Faculty Leader:  Mahua Dey                                  Student TA leader:  Jack Shireman                satisfies ETHICS

A significant portion of NIH directed funding is devoted to the study of basic science mechanisms with the understanding that they will be translated into the next generation of therapies for society’s most challenging illnesses. This subgroup will examine highly translational research that seamlessly blends the boundaries between basic science and clinical medicine in the area of immunotherapy as it relates to one of the hardest to treat cancers: malignant brain tumors. A particular emphasis will be placed on understanding clinical findings that inspired the fundamental basic science hypotheses which then directly led to clinical trials in order to give students an idea of the processes involved in conducting true translational clinical science.

Nov 29— Subgroup 303 – Presentation #1, Henry Stephenson

Dec 6— Subgroup 303 – Presentation #2, Danielle Carrol

Dec 13 – Subgroup 303 – Presentation #3, Sudharsan Kannan

Spring 2021: 

Student Research Presentations: Claire Erikson, Will Mayner, Olivia Surgent, Akshay Kohli

January 31: Student Research Presentation 1 – “Promoting brain health through identifying and communicating dementia risk to cognitively unimpaired research participants” – Claire Erikson

February 7: Student Research Presentation 2 – Will Mayner

February 14: Student Research Presentation 3 – Olivia Surgent

February 21: Student Research Presentation 4 – Akshay Kohli

Subgroup 304: Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (VCID)

Faculty Leader: Jane Paulsen                                                                                                  satisfies ETHICS

February 28 – Subgroup Presentation 1

March 7 – Subgroup Presentation 2


March 21 – Subgroup Presentation 3

Subgroup 302: Great Papers: Snyapses

Faculty Leader: Luis Populin and Matt Jones

March 28 – Subgroup Presentation 1

April 4 – Subgroup Presentation 2

April 11 – Subgroup Presentation 3

Subgroup 303: Dates will be used for other speakers (Faculty, Diversity, etc.)

April 18 – Subgroup Presentation 1

April 25 – Subgroup Presentation 2

May 2 – Subgroup Presentation 3

Subgroup Requirements and Assignment Process

  • Students in their 1st, 2nd, 3rd year are required to take one subgroup each semester. 
  • Students in their 4th year (or beyond) are required to take one subgroup each year. 
  • One of the main goals of subgroups is to help increase your breadth of knowledge in neuroscience, so use this opportunity to learn about unfamiliar topics! 
  • A tentative date and time has been assigned for some subgroup meetings.  These are, indeed, “tentative” and may be adjusted if there are conflicts within the group.  If you are assigned to a subgroup and cannot resolve a schedule conflict, please contact the NTP Office. 
  • Several subgroups do not yet have student TA leaders (noted on the descriptions/calendar).  If you are interested in participating in one of those subgroups as the Student TA leader, please reach out directly to the faculty leader(s) for that subgroup. 
  • If you’re interested in being a speaker for one of the subgroup talks, you’ll have an opportunity to volunteer in the survey emailed to you.  
  • Note that first year students are exempt from giving a talk in the first semester, but will have priority for giving a talk in Spring 2021. 
  • All students are expected to give at least one of their subgroup talks by the end of their 2nd year. 
  • Assuming we don’t have enough volunteers, we’ll use our priority list to assign speakers.  If you are curious about that priority list or where you sit on the list, please don’t hesitate to drop a note to Sharon or the NTP Office email (and, yes, Sharon is working on making both the speaker assignment process and the priority list more transparent and accessible, but its just not quite there yet!). 

 Assigning students to subgroups is a nontrivial challenge.  Here are the guidelines we follow: 

  • Subgroups need to be balanced in enrollment. The number of seats available in a given subgroup is simple math (total number of seats needed/total number of subgroups = # seats in a subgroup).  Sometimes we make minor adjustments, but we use this as a solid guide. 
  • Students in their 4th year (or beyond) are assigned first – we need to be sure they are in a subgroup. 
  • Looking at the speakers for the semester, we try to assign them to their top choice – easier to give a talk if you’ve expressed some interest in the topic. 
  • Students in their 1st, 2nd, 3rd year are assigned based on their preferences. In recent years, we’ve been able to assign everyone within their top 2 choices and, usually, can get everyone their top choice for at least one, if not both subgroup assignments.   
  • Preference Surveys are due by 9am on Friday, August 27th.  We will process all surveys received by that time first; if we receive your survey after that time, we will assign you based on remaining seats and you may not be assigned your 1st or 2nd choice.