University Relations

Victoria Interrante, PhD
Computer Science & Engineering

Associate Director
Jeanette Gundel, PhD
Professor, Linguistics


Spring Research Day 2017

Keynote Speaker: Véronique Bohbot, McGill University, Quebec, Canada

"Early detection and intervention in healthy older adults at risk of Alzheimer's disease"

"A larger hippocampus has been associated with healthy cognition in normal aging and with a reduced risk of numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Schizophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and Depression. The hippocampus is implicated in spatial memory strategies used when finding one's way in the environment, i.e. it is allocentric and involves remembering the relationship between landmarks. On the other hand, a compensatory strategy dependent on the caudate nucleus can also be used, i.e. the response strategy, which relies on making a series of stimulus-response associations (e.g. right and left turns from given positions). Measures of spontaneous navigation strategies from ages 8 to 80 yrs have shown a decrease in spatial memory strategies across the life span, along with a reduction in activity and grey matter in the hippocampus.

Interestingly, those using spatial memory in old age showed increased fMRI activity and grey matter in the hippocampus, suggesting a tight relationship between structure and function maintains in aging. Furthermore, super heathy individuals with the ApoE4 genotype, using response strategies, had atrophy in the entorhinal cortex, a region known to predict conversion rates to Alzheimer's disease. In order to reverse this process and stimulate the hippocampus, we spent 5 years to develop a 16-h spatial memory improvement program that promotes the use of spatial strategies in over 50 different virtual environments, varying in size and complexity. Results indicate that completion of our cognitive intervention was associated with spatial memory improvements, increases in activity and grey matter of the hippocampus. Our findings suggest that spatial memory, which involves learning the relationship between environmental landmarks, is critical to hippocampal function which in turn, may have an impact on the incidence of neurological and psychiatric disorders."


Spring Research Day (SRD) is an annual all–day, university–wide symposium that showcases the work of graduate students. Breakfast (coffee & pastries) and lunch (sandwiches) will be provided. Student presenters are invited to attend a dinner with our keynote speaker.

The Center for Cognitive Sciences encourages interdisciplinary involvement for all departments. This year, we invited all University of Minnesota graduate students to submit abstracts for posters or 10-to-15 minute oral presentation on developing research ideas.

SRD2017 Highlights

SRD2017 Program



9:30 - 9:40


9:40 -10:00

Link Swanson - "Bayesian Neuroscience of Psychedelic Drugs."


Maria Heath - "Interpretations of Non-Standard Capitalization on Twitter."


Lucy Landy & Cari Dutcher - "Thermodynamic Properties of Water Soluble Organics in Atmospheric Aerosols."

10:35 - 10:50

Anthoni Fortier - "Split-Ergativity in Newari, A Verb-Movement Approach."

10:50 - 11:00


11:00 - 11:15

Windy Torgerud - "Confidence reflects internal information gain."

11:15 - 11:35

Mari Gades - "The relation between withdrawal-potentiated startle and morphine self administration."

11:35 - 11:55

Joshua Preston - "The Legal Implications of Detecting Alzheimer's Disease Earlier."

11:55 - 1:00


Keynote speaker
1:00 - 2:00


Dr. Bohbot - "Early detection and intervention in healthy older adults at risk of Alzheimer's disease."

Poster session


Brian M. Sweis , Amber E. McLaughlin, Katelyn M. Murray, Andrew R. Thompson , A. David Redish , Mark J. Thoma - Chronic drug use and relapse changes the algorithms  underlying valuation in decision-making."

Tatyana Matveeva, Marc Pisansky, Amy Young, Jonathan Gewirtz - "Deficits in emotion and cognition in serine racemase deficient mice: an animal model of negative symptoms in schizophrenia."

Jessica Van Gilder, Panayiota Kendeou - "What matters more — the ‘literariness' of a story, or what a reader thinks it is? Exploring the Influence of Genre Expectations on Transportation and Empathy."

Purav Patel, Sashank Varma - "Grounding Mathematics in Formal Ideas: An Empirical Synthesis."

Rachel Johnson; Lisa James - "Cognitive Screening in Veterans with Pure and Comorbid PTSD: a MoCA analysis."

Andrei Semenov, Lori Levine, Anna Henderson, Jackie Aufricht, Phil Zelazo - "Improving Child Executive Function Skills Through High Quality Family Routines."

Sun-Kyung Lee, Soyeon Shim, and Joyce Serido - "Emerging adults: Stressed with student loan debt."

Windy Torgerud, Hannah Schewe, Dominic Mussack, Ganesh Rakate, Paul Schrater – "Confidence reflects internal information gain."

Chelley Rose Chorn Henry, Apostolos Georgopoulos – "Systematic hypercorrelation across time in brain networks in schizophrenia."

Evan Stuempfig – "Pilot study on the effects of social interaction on acute pain perception when using virtual reality."


3:30 - 3:40



Updated May 10, 2017