News from the Lab

We’re glad you’re interested in learning more about the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity (NBC) Laboratory at Florida International University (FIU)! Our team likes to keep busy. Members from the lab participate in outreach events throughout the community, present research at scientific conferences and meetings, and much more. Here, you can learn about these activities, read about recent news and scroll through photos. Would you like to know more? Feel free to contact us with questions about the stories found here!


A big congrats to Dr. Sutherland for being honored as one of the 2018 Faculty Senate Awardees for Excellence in Research & Creative Activities. Faculty Senate Awards were conferred at an awards ceremony and dinner with FIU President Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, Provost & Executive Vice President Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, and Faculty Senate Chairperson Dr. Joerg Reinhold.

Read more about FIU’s Faculty Senate Awards here.

FIU News has released a new article “5 ways to be more creative”. Read more for Dr. Laird’s comments on the value of creativity in career readiness.

The NBC lab and MAD lab have organized the cognitive neuroscience program’s first in-house hackathon, where we worked on the brainconn package.

Dr. Laird, Dr. Riedel, Katie, and Taylor attended the INCF Neuroinformatics 2018 conference in Montreal on August 9-10. Before the conference, Katie and Taylor also participated in the conference’s associated hackathon, working on a new metric to measure currently undervalued researcher contributions like code, service, and data sharing.

Cody presented a poster and a talk on his work for the ATHENA project.

Katie presented a poster on her recent work comparing functional decoding methods employed in BrainMap and Neurosynth.

Taylor presented a poster on the NiMARE package.

Good news! Jessica Bartley, a sixth year Ph.D. student in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity Laboratory, has been selected by the Chair of the FIU Physics Department to receive a recognition award for “Outstanding Academic Achievement”! This award showcases and celebrates the academic and service accomplishments of College of Arts, Sciences and Education (CASE) students. Congratulations Jessica!

Read more about FIU’s recognition of outstanding CASE students

Jessica Bartley, a sixth year graduate student in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity lab, has been awarded FIU’s Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) for $16,600. This scholarship will cover Jessica’s final two semesters of dissertation research and writing for her work investigating the neural correlates of physics learning and physics problem solving, a longitudinal project that documents how reasoning-related brain networks develop across classroom instruction. Jessica is one of two students in the Physics Department to receive this year’s competitive DYF! Congratulations Jessica!

Would you like to know more about the Physics Learning Project?

Exciting news! A team of FIU scientists has been awarded a $13.1 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD/NIH) to build Florida’s first Health Disparities Research Center at a Minority Institution (RCMI). The focus of the FIU-RCMI is on reducing substance abuse problems and HIV/sexually transmitted infections among teenagers and young adults through community research partnerships in South Florida and across the country. FIU-RCMI is directed by Dr. Eric Wagner, involves 34 faculty members from various disciplines across the university, and is composed of multiple cores and a larger scale research project. This 5-year research project examines risk and protective factors that lead to electronic cigarette use among teenagers and the impact of electronic cigarette use on the developing brain. Drs. Trucco and Sutherland are the principal investigators of this research project. Congratulations to all!

Read more about the FIU-RCMI

Ranjita Poudel, a third year graduate student, was recently published in Psychiatry Research for her correspondence entitled “Gender differences in stress hormone response regulates effects of mindfulness in stress related disorder.” It is available online here!

Ranjita Poudel, a second year graduate student in the Neuroinformatics and Brain connectivity lab, has been awarded the Edward and Rita Girden Cognitive Neuroscience Scholarship for $1470. This scholarship will supplement Ranjita’s travel to the 2017 Human Brain Mapping conference this June 25-29 in Vancouver, Canada. She will be presenting a poster entitled “Behavioral decoding of functionally related brain areas consistently linked to drug cue reactivity”.

Jessica Bartley, a Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity lab, has won 2nd place in the Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium (Education Division) for her work on the neural correlates of physics learning! Her featured poster, Understanding the Neural Substrates of Physics Problem Solving: Brain Mechanisms and Behavior Correlates, presented findings from her fMRI investigation on the neural basis of physics classroom learning and problem solving skill development.

This honor follows a 1st place award (Education Division) for Jessica’s presentation at Florida International University’s annual Graduate Student Scholarly Forum, a University-wide celebration of 100+ graduate student research projects. Jessica’s outstanding Scholarly Forum performance afforded her, as one of only 11 FIU graduate students, the opportunity to represent FIU at the statewide competition. Awards at this Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium are in recognition of research excellence for top graduate research projects across the state of Florida. Jessica was one of three FIU students to receive awards at this event.

Congratulations to the winners!