Student Research

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:

Life Sciences Fellowships

Paller Neuroscience Summer Fellowships

INBRE Summer Fellowships

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


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.

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.  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.    

Student Research Projects:

2017 Research Projects

Michael Amano: Physiological implications of sexually dimorphic auditory interneuron recovery in Gryllus bimaculatus (Advisor: H. Horch)

Christina Andersen: Does vasotocin produce a context-dependent effect in Carassius auratus: Testing its effects on male courtship (Advisor: R. Thompson) 

Felice Chan: Investigating sex steroid hormone effects in the optic tectum using the visual system of the common goldfish (Carassius auratus) (Advisor: L. Wilson)

Monique Lillis: Effects of the downregulation of semaphorin 1a and 2a on the auditory system of Gryllus bimaculatus (Advisor: H. Horch) 

Xuan, Qu: Mechanism and modulation of the stretch feedback in the heart of the American lobster, Homarus americanus (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Eleanor Quenzer: Behavioral effects of injury-induced compensatory growth in the auditory system of the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus. (Advisor: H. Horch)

Nicole Sekula: Rapid effects of estrogens on visual processing in male Carassius auratus (Advisor: R. Thompson) 

Sara Spicer: Characterization of expression of sema1a variants in high-plasticity areas of the G. bimaculatus ​nervous system (Advisor: H. Horch) 

Dennis Zambrano: Characterization of Semaphorins 1a and 2a in the Developing Embryo of the Cricket Gryllus bimaculatus (Advisor: H. Horch) 

2016 Research Projects

Nicole Ampatey: Anatomical Visualization of Novel Membrane Bound Androgen and Estrogen Receptors in Male Carassius auratus 

Andrew Engel: Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Long-Term Memory 

Sophia Janes: Interactions of external peptide modulation and dendrite mediated stretch feedback in the cardiac ganglion of the American lobster, Homarus americanus 

Michael Kang: Modulation of Responses to Phasic Stretches by Neuromodulators GYS and SGRN in the Cardiac Central Pattern Generator of the American Lobster, H. americanus 

Tess Lameyer: Characterization and distribution of allatostatin type-C (AST-C) neuropeptides and receptors in crustaceans 

Jacob MacDonald: Attentional Inhibition of a Distractor on Memory Facilitation

Madeline Rutan: Effects of Injury on Alternative Polyadenylation of Neuronal Synaptobrevin in the Cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus 

Shanna Yue: Rapid Effects of Sex Steroid Hormones on Visual and Olfactory Processing in Male Carrasius Auratus

2015 Research Projects

Leigh Andrews: Selective Attention and Memory: Event Related Potentials and the IOR Effect

Mark Chen: Non-nuclear Distribution of Estrogen Receptors in the Brain of the Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

John Hobbs: Consequences of Cercal Deafferentation on the Medial Giant Interneurons in the Terminal Ganglion of the Cricket Gryllus bimaculatus: A Molecular and Morphological Analysis

Laura Keller: Permeability of the stomatogastric ganglionic sheath to neuropeptides in the lobster, Homarus americanus

Lucia Saidenber: Investigating the Role of Semaphorin 2a in Dendritic Plasticity Following Deafferentation in the Auditory System of the Adult Cricket

Julia Gomez: Rapid, Non-genomic Effects of Estradiol on Social Behavior and the Brain in Goldfish, Carassius auratus

2014 Research Projects

Morgan Butler: Quantification of Dendritic and Axonal Regeneration Following Unilateral Auditory Deafferentation of the Cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus

Mara Chin-Purcell: Dendrites of Cardiac Ganglion Regulate Heartbeat of American Lobster, Homarus americanus, Through Stretch Feedback

Mollie Friedlander: Sexual differences in functional recovery following injury to the auditory system of the adult field cricket

Elizabeth Harmon: Cellular Mechanism Mediating Stretch Feedback in the Heart of the American lobster, Homarus americanus

Megan Massa: Rapid Effects of Testosterone on Responsiveness to Sex Pheromones in Male Carassius auratus

Elizabeth Owens: Effects of Temperature on the Cardiac System of the American Lobster, Homarus americanus

Jennifer Stauffer: Assessing the Function of Highly Conserved Noncoding Elements in Drosophila melanogaster via Captured Segment Exchange

Adam Zhang: Quantification of Sema1a and Sema2a expression in the auditory system of Gryllus bimaculatus

2013 Research Projects

Ketura Berry: Investigating the causative role of semaphorin-2a in compensatory growth in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

Jordan Francke: Using Immediate Early Gene Expression to Investigate Rapid, Non-Genomic Effects of Testosterone on Carassius auratus Visual Processing in the Optic Tectum

Isabel Low: Characterization of semaphorin in the central nervous system of adult crickets following deafferentation

Diedre Michaud: Rapid Effects of Estradiol on Visual Processing in the Retina of Goldfish Carassius auratus

Renee Symonds: The Cardiac Neuromuscular Transform of Homarus americanus: a Computational Model of Neuron-Muscle Dynamics

2012 Research Projects

Ben Berg: Regulation of a Truncated Goldfish Vasotocin Receptor After Exposure to Pre-Ovulatory Females (Advisor: R. Thompson) 

Jillian Berkman: The Neuromodulatory Effects of SGRNFLRFamide on the Cardiac Ganglion of the Homarus americanus (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Erin D'Agostino: Activation of Vasotocin-related Neural Circuitry by Androstenedione in Male Goldfish, Carassius auratus (Advisor: R Thompson) 

Dijoia Darden: Localizing the estrogen receptor that mediates the rapid testosterone and estradiol influence on visually guided sexual behavior and sperm release in male goldfish  (Advisor:  R. Thompson) 

Katherine McNeil: Truncated Vasotocin Receptor Expression in Carassius auratus (Advisor: R. Thompson) 

Adam Mortimer: Localization of Homam CLDH and its effects on the cardiac central pattern generator in Homarus americanus (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Rachel Schwemberger: The rapid effects of water-soluble β-estradiol on retinal responses to light stimuli in male Carassius auratus (Advisor: P Dickinson/R. Thompson) 

Anirudh Sreekrishnan: Characterization of the Effects of Pyrokinin Peptides on the Cardiac Ganglion of Homarus americanus (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Abishag Suresh: The Identification of the Pyrokinin-Family Neuropetides in Homarus americanus: An Immunohistochemically Guided Approach (Advisor: P. Dickinson)

Ahmed Syed: The effects of the neuropeptide SGRNFLRFamide on the cardiac muscle in the American lobster, Homarus americanus (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Alex Williams: Modeling Excitatory Chemical Synapses in Rhythmic Neuronal Networks: A Computational Model Inspired by the Crustacean Cardiac Ganglion (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

2011 Research Projects

Stan Berkow: Factors affecting the electroretinogram: Development of an ERG protocol in goldfish, Carassius auratus

Michaela Calnan: Compensatory response of cricket auditory neurons to injury: What role is played by activity in sensory neurons?

Taylor Johnson: Localization of  estrogen receptor GPR30 in the goldfish brain

Molly Kwiatkowski: The modulatory PS neurons use different neurotransmitters in different locations to coordinate motor patterns in the American lobster, Homarus americanus

Hannah Peckle: The role of VAMP in compensatory dendritic sprouting in Gryllus bimaculatus

Sara Powers: Identification of neural circuits activated by androstenedione in male goldfish, Carassius auratus

Rohit Sangal: Investigation of the Differential Expression of Semaphorin-2a due to Deafferentation in the Cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus

Shikha Sheth: The Role of the Hippocampus and the Orbitofrontal Cortex in Learning and Memory of Sequenced Non-Spatial Events

2010 Research Projects 

Julia Bond: Rapid behavioral influences of steroid hormones via non-genomic mechanisms in male goldfish

Matthew Ginther: The Role of the Hippocamus in the Memory for a Sequence of Events

Katherine Gribble: Expression of the guidance factor semaphorin 2a in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus following denervation

Daniel Hetherman: Morphological consequences of semaphorin knockdown on compensatory dendritic sprouting in the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus

Alex Keeney: The Effects of the Pheromone Androstenedione on Male Social Approach Behavior in Goldfish, Carassius auratus 

Terrence Pleasant: The role of the hippocampus in "episodic-like" memory in rats

Nicholas Simon: Temporal Dynamics of Association Cortex-Parahippocampal Interactions in a Continuous Delayed Nonmatched to Sample Task in Rats

2009 Research Projects

Emily Gabranski: The neuropeptide myosuppressin functions as a cotransmitter to reconfigure two neural networks into a single pattern generator

Liza Shoenfeld: Rapid testosterone modulation of the visual system in goldfish

2008 Research Projects

James Harris: Proteomic Analysis of Compensatory Dendritic Regeneration in the Cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus (INBRE Pre-Doctoral Fellowship summer 2008)

Huber, Kristen Elizabeth.  (2008)  A comparison of the modulatory effects of native FMRFamide-related peptides on the stomatogastric nervous system in the American lobster, Homarus americanus.  

Stevens, Jacob. (2008)  Complex modulation of cardiac activity by FMRFamide-related peptide hormones in the American lobster, Homarus americanus.  

Devenyi, Ryan Allyn.  (2008)  Modulation of contractions of the gm4 muscle of the gastric mill by FLRFamides in Cancer crabs.  

Dennison, Roberta Jean. (2008) Regulation of central pattern generators by the ganglionic sheath in the American lobster, Homarus americanus.  

2007 Research Projects

Vijay Kotecha: Physiological effects and mechanisms of peptide neuromodulationon the lobster stomatogastric nervous system (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Szymon Rus: Molecular Characterization of Neuropeptides and their Distribution in American Lobster Homarus americanus (Advisor: P. Dickinson) 

Elizabeth Sheldon:Morphological analysis of synaptogenesis after compensatory regeneration in the audiotry system of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus (Advisor: H. Horch) 

Erin Prifogle: The Role of the Hippocampus in Episodic-like Memory in Rats (Advisor: S. Ramus) 

Raashi Bhalla: The Neural Circuitry of Social Approach Behavior in Goldfish (Advisor: R. Thompson) 

Sheryl Stevens: Quantification of Vasotocin Receptors in Goldfish (Carassius auratus) (Advisor: R. Thompson) 

2006 Research Projects

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 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 Behavioral 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

2005 Paller Fellowship Research Projects

Claire Discenza: Odor memory dependence on the hippocampus 

Alissa Waite: Interactions between the Parahippocampal Region and Orbitofrontal Cortex 

Claire Discenza and Alissa Waite: Anticipatory Firing in Orbitofronal Cortex 

Sarah Solomon: Molecular Characterization of Dendritic Regeneration in Gryllus bimaculatus 

Stephen Mallon: Molecular Characterization of Invertebrate Neural Regeneration 

Suen Wong: Compensatory Regeneration in the Auditory interneuron AN2 of the Cricket Gryllus Bimaculatus 

Laura Welsh: The Role of Octopamine in Male Cricket Aggression 

2005 Summer Research Projects

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

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

Claire Discenza - “Interactions between the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex in rat long-term declarative memory (Advisor: S. 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” (Advisor: P. Dickinson)

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

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

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

2004 Research Projects

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 Research Projects

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 »