CINID provides a dynamic and broad-spectrum research environment with expertise and equipment that allow graduate training in a variety of cutting-edge techniques. In addition to core classes provided by the biomedical science program, team-taught elective courses that bridge research fields are tailored to meet student needs.

A key component of CINID training programs are ongoing collaborations across labs and fields. These collaborations provide exceptional opportunities for students to receive cross training in immunology, neuroscience, physiology and radiation biology as well as in specific disease models and field subspecialites.

EVMS CINID members work closely with members in the engineering department at Norfolk State University in the development of biosensors and novel methods to record neural activity and to image within the brain. These collaborations provide EVMS biomedical science students and NSU engineering students opportunities to work on joint research projects that provide hands on experience in bioscience and biomedical engineering projects.

Current CINID trainees work on projects funded by the American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

Austin Adkins, M.S.

Astronauts on the Mars mission will face several physical and psychological challenges including prolonged exposure to microgravity, potential social isolation, and exposure to Space Radiation (SR). Each of these stressors can harm physical and mental health as well as mission performance. Adkins' PhD project will examine how in-flight stressors and space radiation impact coordinated neural activity underlying fear learning and extinction. The project will help scientists understand how astronauts will cope with the physical and psychological challenges associated with prolonged spaceflight.

Mentors: Larry Sanford, PhD, and Laurie Wellman, PhD.

Funded by NASA. Read about the Space Neuroscience arm of CINID.

Shelita Hall

During the exploration and establishment of outposts on the Moon and Mars, astronauts will inevitably be exposed to dangerous quantities of space radiation composed of a mixture of particle types and energies. Hall is working on neural sensing and materials development needed to understand space radiation's effects on the nerve cells and finding ways to protect the brain. This research has strong potential to open new paths for countermeasures against cosmic radiation effects in human exploration to deep space and for aiding the development of clinical treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.

Mentor: Hargsoon Yoon, PhD

Read about CINID's work in Space Neuroscience.

Kazon Harrigan

New technologies have allowed the exploration of living brains down to the cellular level, improving our understanding of brain diseases as well as the mechanisms of higher-level thinking.  Despite advances, no current neural imaging technology allowed researchers to measure all the connections and message traffic across the cortex and deep brain structures in living animals while they were performing tasks. Harrigan is developing neural electrodes that will allow fast images to be created of activity in the nervous system across entire structures. The electrodes will allow spatio-temporal resolution as small as 100 micrometers, or 0.1 millimeters, and as fast as 5 milliseconds.

Mentor: Hargsoon Yoon, PhD

Learn about CINID's work in Instrumentation.

Alina Moriarty-Shawler

Alina Moriarty, a PhD student in the Galkina lab, recently received a Pre-doctoral Fellowship awarded by American Heart Association to study the role of fragmented sleep in the regulation of development cardiovascular disease. The title of the project is “Sleep Fragmentation and neuronal regulation of STAT4-dependent immunity in atherosclerosis”.

When a person does not get enough sleep they are at a higher risk of heart disease. Stress and not sleeping enough also results in the immune system not working properly. There is a part of our brain called the amygdala that reacts to stress and can regulate its effects on sleep. Alina will investigate whether it controls the way a person’s immune system reacts when they don’t get enough sleep and whether this person might develop heart disease. She will also test a protein, named STAT4, in the regulation of immune cells function in conditions of sleep fragmentation.

Mentor: Elena Glakina, PhD, FAHA

Funded by the American Heart Association. Read about the Atherosclerosis and Sleep Research working groups within CINID.

Maitreyee Pharande

Different areas of the brain must work together in a coordinated way to guide behavior and understanding. Pharande is creating ways to measure neural network activity in real time in rodents, assessing the sleep stages, memory and attention. She is also developing an algorithm to process these signals, which will improve understanding of neural networks and how they function. Using mathematical functions and deep learning algorithms, Pharande is searching for areas of the brain that seem to work in synch.

Mentor: Hargsoon Yoon, PhD

Learn about the CINID's work in Instrumention.