Brain Sciences Awards 2016

2016 American Legion Family awards ceremony. (l-r) Marc Pisansky, Past National Commander Dan Ludwig, Department Commander Jim Kellogg, Brain Sciences Foundation president James Munson, Brain Sciences Center director Apostolos Georgopoulos, Jennifer Zick.

2016 American Legion Family Student Awards go to Pisansky and Zick

The Brain Sciences Scholarship was created in 1997 to recognize the outstanding academic achievements of students, involved in brain research, at the University of Minnesota and Brain Sciences Center.  The award was created by the American Legion family's Brain Science Foundation who presents it, each year, to aide in the educational pursuits of these exceptional students. Recipients this year are Marc Pisansky and Jennifer Zick.

Marc PisanskyMarc Pisansky's research

"My interests involve understanding the genetic and neural underpinnings of emotions and psychiatric disease. Towards this end, my graduate research comprises projects that:

  • (1) model socio-emotional behaviors (e.g., empathy) in mice,
  • (2) modulate brain processes underlying these behaviors, and
  • (3) characterize genetically engineered mouse models of psychiatric disease.

My future/post-doctoral research aims to interrogate the neural circuitry underlying these emotional processes and mouse models of disease using state-of-the-art neuromodulation techniques. Ultimately, this work promises to advance the neuroscientific understanding of substrates underlying normal emotional states and identify potential targets for treating psychiatric diseases, including autism, schizophrenia, and addiction.

Lastly, in conjunction with this research, I have several pedagogical involvements, including teaching coursework in psychology and neuroscience, as well as training undergraduate/graduate students in the laboratory."

Jennifer ZickJennifer Zick's research

"My research focuses on investigating the mechanistic underpinnings of network dysfunction in schizophrenia. It has long been believed that communication between brain regions is dysfunctional in schizophrenia, but the way in which this dysfunction arises as well as its manifestations at the local circuit level are unknown.

In my thesis work, I hope to provide a better understanding of these processes through three main approaches. First, I have been applying new analytical techniques to investigate patterns of neural dysfunction in a primate pharmacological model of schizophrenia, using an existing dataset from the Chafee lab. Second, I am collecting analogous neural data using a mouse genetic model of schizophrenia with the idea that comparison of neural dysfunction across animal models will be helpful in identifying the core pathophysiology of the disease. Lastly, we are using computational modeling techniques to simulate how changes in the timing of neural activity can affect brain function at the network level; this is an extension of the experimental projects and serves to provide a theoretical framework to understand the mechanisms of network dysfunction that lead to cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. My ultimate career interests as a student of both medicine and research are to improve the mechanistic understanding and treatment of neuropsychiatric disease in humans."



LPS for Vets 2015 Justin Hall, Pam Hall, Dr. Brian Engdahl and Nate Hall

2016 LPS for Vets Charity Golf Classic Benefiting the Brain Sciences Center

"LPS for Vets" is an annual golf fundraising event that started a decade ago by LPS and friends to raise funds and awareness for local organizations dedicated to improving the lives of our Veterans. On Saturday June 11, 2016 Logistics Planning Services will be conducting its 14th Annual Charity Golf Classic at White Eagle Golf Club in Hudson, WI to benefit our military veterans and specifically to benefit the Minneapolis VA Brain Sciences Center in its Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) research.

Funds raised by this event are pledged to the breakthrough research being conducted by Dr. Georgopoulos (VA Clinic) and Dr. Engdahl (University of MN) in their work to help soldiers and all victims of PTSD. Thanks to the neuroscience breakthroughs of Drs. Georgopoulos and Engdahl, they can diagnose PTSD with 97% accuracy and as a result, in the past two years alone, there has been a 50% increase in military personnel being diagnosed and helped.

Read more information about the event at

Dr. Brian Engdahl and Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos with with Paige Krumwiede and Pam and Larry Hall of LPS.



Shikha Jain and Adam Carpenter

The pilot study run by Shikha Jain Goodwin, Ph.D., and Adam Carpenter, M.D., asks one group of participants to double their current levels of activity. (Photo by Scott Streble)

Multiple sclerosis and exercise study featured in UofM Foundation article

from "Can exercise benefit people who have multiple sclerosis?" by Barbara Knox

"Working with postdoctoral researcher Shikha Jain Goodwin, Ph.D., Carpenter designed a study, which has already enrolled eight veterans who have MS, that divides patients randomly into two groups: one that maintains their current level of activity and another that aims to increase their current level of activity by 100 percent. So if one person currently walks 3,000 steps a day, the study goal becomes 6,000 steps a day." Read more ...


Updated May 24, 2016