Student Research

Prizes for outstanding research, fellowships for summer research with faculty, honors projects and independent study are among the many opportunities our students have in the field.

bowdoin neuroscience researchOne of the strengths of the Neuroscience Program at Bowdoin is the number and breadth of research opportunities available to students.  Advanced neuroscience majors are encouraged to undertake a program of independent study or honors research in the senior year. In addition, many students pursue research at Bowdoin over the summer or during their sophomore and junior years.  Students work closely with faculty members on projects of their own interest or on projects related to the research interest of the faculty member. In this setting, students are able to apply the skills they have learned in other courses, and to develop their skills in experimental design, critical thinking, and scientific writing. Student projects are often of very high quality; students have been co-authors with faculty on a number of publications, and honors students frequently present their research at national or regional neuroscience meetings.

The program encourages students who are interested in the honors program to begin planning early, as it is often possible for students to begin their research during the summer after their junior year or earlier. This concentrated research time has been a valuable educational experience for many majors. Students pursuing honors in neuroscience give oral presentations at the end of each semester, and write a senior thesis.

Summer Research Opportunities for Students

Howard Hughes Summer Fellowship

Paller Neuroscience Summer Fellowships

INBRE Summer Fellowships

Student Summer Research Projects


Applicants interested in any of the fellowships listed should contact a member of the Biology, Biochemistry or Neuroscience Faculty.

The Munno Neuroscience Prize Fund

regenerated cellThe Munno Neuroscience Prize Fund was established in 2001 by David Munno, a member of the Class of 1999. With majors in biochemistry and neuroscience, David Munno graduated magna cum laude. His honors project was aimed at understanding the development and regeneration of synapses by which neurons communicate. He is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Calgary, Department of Neuroscience, continuing to study the means by which brain cells develop and regenerate their modes of communication. Income from the fund will be used annually to award the Munno Neuroscience Prize to the Bowdoin student who has conducted the most outstanding research in neuroscience.    

Summer 2008 Research Projects

Summer 2005 Research Projects

  • Braulio Peguero - Patterns and Modulation: Val1-SIFamide alters neuronal output in the Stomatogastric Nervous System
  • Thu-Nga Ho - Systems of Homarus americanus, Panulirus interruptus, Cancer borealis, and, Cancer irroratus
  • Melissa Coito - VAL-SIFamide's effects on the rate and strength of cardiac contractions in the Homarus americanus
  • Madeleine Pott - Comparative Study of the Effects of the Neuropeptide Val1-SIFamide on the Cardiac Sac Pattern Generator in the American lobster, Panulirus interruptus
  • Elizabeth Sheldon - The role of semaphorin as a molecular guidance cue for dendritic regeneration in the cricket auditory system
  • Katie Mitterling - Declarative Memory and the What, Where, When Task: What Role Does the Hippocampus Play in the Memory System in Rats
  • Meaghan Kennedy - Neuropeptides and social behavior: The relationship between expression patterns of the vasotocin receptor in the goldfish brain and individual differences in social behavior
  • Vanessa Lind - Relating Vasotocin Gen Activity to Social Behavior in Goldfish
  • Alex Bender - Pheromone Induced Vasotocin Release in Newt Brains
  • Justin Kievits - The Effects of Peptide Gene Knockouts on Social Behavior in Goldfish
  • Priscilla Chan - Autonomic Influences on Social Behavior in Goldfish
  • Ellen Beth - Vasotocin Behavorial Mechanisms in Goldfish
  • Szymon Rus - Cricket DNA Transfection through a Helios Gene Gun
  • Joeseph Adu - Autonomic Influences on Social Behavior in Goldfish
  • Whitney Rabacal - Mapping the distribution and co-localization of a novel neuropeptide Val-SIFamide with other neuropeptides in the stomatogastric nervous system of the crab Cancer borealis and other crustaceans through imunocytochemistry

Summer 2005 Paller Fellowship Research Projects

Summer 2004 Research Projects

Honors Projects

Recent research projects completed by majors in the program include:

2006

Alex Bender - “Quantification of Vasotocin Release in Response to Sex Pheromones in Roughskin Newts” (Advisors: P. Dickinson and R. Thompson)

Jena Davis - “Cortical Representations of Hippocampally-Dependent Declarative Memory in Rats” (Advisor: S. Ramus)

Meaghan Kennedy - “Neuropeptides and Social Behavior: Gene Sequences for Alternative Versions of the Vasotocin Receptor in the Goldfish Brain.” (Advisor: R. Thompson)

Vanessa Lind - “Relationship of Vasotocin Gene Activity and Social Approach Behavior in Goldfish (C. auratus)” (Advisor: R. Thompson)

Kristen Maynard - “The role of semaphoring during compensatory regeneration in cricket auditory interneurons” (Advisor H. Horch)

Katie Mitterling - “Differences in Hippocampus and Septum Volumes in Storing and Non-Storing Birds Across Seasons “ (Advisor: S. Ramus)

2005

Rebecca Bartlett - “The effects of female pheromone on somatosensory neural activity in Taricha granulosa and its possible mediation by AVT” (Dickinson/Thompson)

Ellen Beth - “Influences of Vasotocin on Social and Anxiety-related Behaviors in Goldfish” (Thompson)

Claire Discenza - “Interactions between the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex in rat long-term declarative memory (Ramus)

Braulio Peguero - “The effects of the novel peptide Val¹-SIFamide on the central pattern generators in the stomatogastric ganglion of the American lobster, Homarus americanus” (Dickinson)

Pieter Scheerlinck - “Val¹-SIFamide evokes a novel pattern in the pyloric IC neuron of the stomatogastric system in the lobster, Homarus americanus” (Dickinson)

Alissa Waite - “Interactions between the orbitofrontal cortex and the hippocampal memory system” (Ramus)

Suen Wong - “Three-Dimensional analysis of compensatory growth in  in Gryllus bimaculatus auditory interneurons” (Horch)

2004

Matthew Boersma - “Anticipatory neuronal firing in the orbitofrontal cortex in rats” (Advisor: S. Ramus)

Scott Herrick - “The effect of hippocampal lesions on spatial and non-spatial declarative memory tasks in rats” (Advisor: S. Ramus)

Christian Johnson - “The effects of proctolin on gastric-pyloric interations in Homarus  americanus” (Advisor: P. Dickinson)

Kat Martens - “Morphological examination of Thin and Thick Bundle Nerve Regenerations in the claws of Procamarus clarkii” (Advisor: H. Horch)

Jennifer Scangos - “Peptide Effects on Social Behavior of Female Goldfish” Advisor: R. Thompson)

2003

Leah Hoxie - “Is Laughter the Best Medicine? The Effects of Laughter on Salivary Cortisol and IgA Concentrations” (Advisor: R. Thompson)

Tyler Dunphy - “Proctolin Modulation of two Neural Networks in the Stomatogastric Nervous System of Homarus americanus” (Advisor: P. Dickinson)

Thurston Riday - "Neuromodulatory Effects of CabTRP on the Pyloric Rhythm of Panulirus interruptus" (Advisor: P. Dickinson)

Minimum requirements for honors in Neuroscience »