The CNBC is hosting an inaugural Early Career Research (ECR) Seminar Series. This series features traditionally underrepresented and minority neuroscientists at early career stages (senior graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-stage faculty), who are actively conducting exciting work in fields relevant to the CNBC community. A main goal of the seminar series is to create a platform for outstanding young scientists from diverse backgrounds to share their research and network with the CNBC community.

Because of COVID-19, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Sessions will be virtual. Each session will feature a 30-minute talk from a trainee and a 30-minute talk from an early-career faculty speaker.

Organizing Committee:

  • Susanne Ahmari, MD, PhD – Associate Professor, Pitt Psychiatry
  • Andreea Bostan, PhD – Research Assistant Professor, Pitt Neurobiology
  • Kate Hong, PhD – Assistant Professor, CMU Biological Sciences & Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute
  • Millie Rincon-Cortes, PhD – Research Assistant Professor, Pitt Neuroscience
  • Afonso Silva, PhD – Professor, Pitt Neurobiology
  • Sierra Stringfield, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow, Pitt Psychiatry
  • Gelsy Torres-Ovideo, PhD – Associate Professor, Pitt Bioengineering
  • Sossena Wood, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow, CMU Biomedical Engineering
  • Timothy Verstynen, PhD – Associate Professor, CMU Psychology & Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute

Follow us on Twitter (@CNBC_ECR_Series)

Fall 2020–Spring 2021 Schedule


Wednesday, November 18, 1 – 2 pm ET (US and Canada)

Bianfra AhanonuBiafra Ahanonu, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California San Francisco

Title: “Illuminating neural circuit dynamics of pain processing with in vivo imaging and computational techniques


Ishmail Abdus-Saboor

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, PhD

Mitchell J. and Margo K. Blutt Presidential Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Title: “A skin-to-brain circuit for social touch”


To view a recording of this seminar, contact Andreea Bostan at


Wednesday, December 2, 1–2 pm ET (US and Canada)

Sikoya AshburnSikoya Ashburn, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Title: “Cerebellar involvement in developmental dyslexia”


Natalia SanchezNatalia Sánchez, PhD

Assistant Professor of Research, Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California

Title: “It pays to be asymmetric: What we have learned from assessing the energetics of gait adaptation”


Wednesday, December 16, 1–2 pm ET (US and Canada)

Diego SzczupakDiego Szczupak, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh

Title: “Callosal dysgenesis from mice to men”


Lauren WhitehurstLauren Whitehurst, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky

Title: “Sleep’s restorative role for cognition”


Thursday, February 25, 2021 4–5 pm ET (US and Canada)

Sierra Stringfield, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh


Sade Spencer, PhD

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology, University of Minnesota

Title: “Sleep’s restorative role for cognition”


Zoom information for these talks can be found in the email announcements or you can reach out to Andreea Bostan at

To view a recording of past seminars, contact Andreea Bostan at