News Items

Summer 2022 CCNP Research Assistantship

The CCNP research assistant position is designed to lay groundwork experience in clinical research across various mental health disorders including but not limited to: mood, psychotic and anxiety related disorders. The research assistant will be trained in carrying out research endeavors in highly clinical settings while exploring varying research questions in topics in neuroscience/ psychology/psychiatry.

Clinical Duties   

  • Attending clinical rounds (virtually or in-person at UBHC)
  • Aid in screening, recruitment, and scheduling of potential subjects
  • Shadowing full board psychiatric evaluations

Research Duties

  • Aid in running behavioral sessions (behavioral tasks, self-reports, and clinical symptoms scales) of studies across multiple psychiatric populations
  • Score and manage experimental data on behavioral databases on Box.

Educational Opportunities

  • Attend CCNP Seminars and other affiliates’ research presentation (via Zoom)
  • Partake in consensus meetings with CCNP Clinical Supervisor and affiliated clinicians

If interested, please email a resume/CV AND a one-page letter of intent (include your research interests) to Valerie Lilley, by Friday, March 31st at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CBN Assistant Professor Tenure Track Faculty Position

Assistant Professor – Tenure-track faculty

The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience (CBN) at Rutgers University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor level to develop an innovative research program focused on the role of non-neuronal cells in the function of the central nervous system. Research approaches may involve the use of a variety of animal or cellular models and may be directly or indirectly relevant to human diseases.

The CBN Department is part of the Division of Life Sciences (DLS) and the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and is based on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus, located within one hour of major cities such as New York City and Philadelphia. The CBN Department is home to an interactive, collegial faculty with broad research interests, including molecular and cellular biology, neurodevelopment, immunology, and system neuroscience.  Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration exist within CBN, DLS and SAS, Departments and Institutes in the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School located on the same campus, as well as with research groups at the Rutgers University Newark campus or Princeton University.  Rutgers University offers excellent facilities, faculty mentoring, and competitive start-up packages.

Applicants must hold a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent degree and have a minimum of three years of postdoctoral training in a relevant fieldThe successful candidate is expected to maintain a productive, extramurally funded research program, to train pre- and postdoctoral fellows, and to teach undergraduate courses for the CBN major.

Rutgers University has one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation and boasts several programs established to nurture equity and inclusion. These programs enhance the achievement of excellence by both faculty members and students. We encourage applications from women and members of communities who are underrepresented in the sciences and will evaluate the potential of the applicant to mentor and empower our students.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply by supplying the following: 1) a curriculum vitae; 2) a brief statement of research plans; 3) a statement summarizing their approach to promoting diversity and inclusion; 4) a statement describing teaching and mentoring interests and experience; 5) the contact information of three individual who can provide letters of reference.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible but not later than December 15, 2022.  Late applications will be considered only if the position remains available.

Rutgers University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Link to posting can be found here.

Student juggles classes and the challenges of being a startup CEO

Akashdeep Randhawa came to Rutgers to study science. Along the way, he became an entrepreneur, building a start-up company around an invention with the potential to improve results for millions of patients in physical therapy.

Randhawa started Smart MS3 (Muscle Sensing in Three Dimensions) after his grandmother suffered a stroke. He wanted to do something to keep her motivated to continue intense physical therapy to restore her ability to hold things and to walk.

The company’s disc-shaped monitor is about the size of an adult hand and powered by electrodes that can record a patient’s activity and collect data on how hard their muscles are working. The data provides patients with a better understanding of how therapy is working their muscles, which activities are helping the most, measuring progress.

“I deeply believe in the technology we’re developing,” Randhawa said. “I know it’s going to be helpful to people.”

A junior at the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in bio neuroscience, Randhawa is also minoring in entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School. He is an example of a generation of student entrepreneurs Rutgers is producing in an ecosystem of instruction, networking, and mentorship.

Read more: Student juggles classes and the challenges of being a startup CEO

PTC Therapeutics Careers

Talent Pipeline Internship Program from PTC TherapeuticsThe PTC Talent Pipeline Program (TPP) is a one-year global fellowship program aimed at providing recent graduates real-world experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and related professions, including research, finance, commercial, compliance, quality, legal, information technology, and communications. Throughout the immersive fellowship program, participants will be provided mentorship, job coaching, career counseling, and leadership training.


Amid this global pandemic, many talented and hardworking recent graduates are rightfully worried about being able to enter the workforce. While this is an unfortunate reality, at PTC we want to help and be part of the solution. - PTC CEO, Stuart W. Peltz, Ph.D 

Full article and links to opportunities can be found here

Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow (PPF) positions available in CBN

The Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience (CBN) at Rutgers New Brunswick-Piscataway campus offers opportunities for underrepresented minority Ph.D. holders to train as Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows (PPF) with one of several faculty members. The PPF program is part of the Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative Program implemented by the Chancellor- Provost office. A full description of this initiative can be found here:

Read more: Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow (PPF) positions available in CBN

RU Career Exploration and Success

Internships at Rutgers

Dear graduate students,

We are happy to announce that the new SGS website, in collaboration with RU Career Exploration and Success, has a page where students can search for jobs and internships posted on Handshake: These are positions specifically for doctoral students and other grad students (please scroll down to Internship at Companies at this page to start searching for them right away).

Our alumni who have successfully secured rewarding careers outside the academia tell us that an internship is one of the most effective ways of career exploration and landing a job in for profits, non-profits, and government agencies. We hope that those of you interested in exploring careers outside the academia will utilize this new resource and let us know about your experience once you get that internship (we understand that we need more internships listed and we are working on it).

Here is a webpage that might be helpful to those of you preparing applications for these internships:

Please contact Ramazan Gungor should you need anything in this process.

CBN Assistant Professor Tenure Track Faculty Position

The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level to develop an innovative research program focused on cellular metabolism, broadly defined, using physiological and human disease models. Research approaches may encompass, but are not limited to, systems biology, proteomics, and metabolomics.

As part of the Division of Life Sciences, the Department of CBN is home to an interactive, collegial faculty with broad interests, including immunology, cellular signaling, stem cell biology, and neuroscience.  Multiple opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration exist within the Department and nearby labs at The Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, The Child Health Institute, and Princeton University.  Rutgers offers excellent facilities, faculty mentoring, and competitive start-up packages. The campus is located within one hour of New York and Philadelphia.

Outstanding applicants will hold a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent degree and have a minimum of three years of postdoctoral training in a relevant fieldA strong track-record of achievement is required.  The successful candidate will primarily teach undergraduate courses in the areas of cell biology, immunology, or neurobiology and maintain a productive, extramurally funded research program.

Rutgers University has one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation and boasts several programs established to nurture equity and inclusion. These programs enhance the achievement of excellence by both faculty members and students. We encourage applications from women and members of communities who are underrepresented in the sciences and will evaluate the potential of the applicant to mentor and empower our students.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply online through the department website ( with a curriculum vitae, brief statement of research plans, statement discussing approach to diversity, outreach, service and/or mentoring, statement of teaching outlook and experiences, and the names, addresses, and contact information of three references.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible but not later than December 15, 2021.  Late applications will be considered only if the position remains available.

Rutgers University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Posting link can be found here.

Melissa González received a federal grant that supports scientists from underrepresented groups


Melissa González learned the secret behind great scientific discoveries while trying to solve a problem in her professor’s neuroscience lab: If you can’t figure out how to do something, Google it.

The lab where she worked was genetically altering neurons in mice to see how it affected their spinal cords and behavior. Instead of relying on the painstaking process of having lab technicians observe their movements, González set up two cameras that fed the data into a computer algorithm using a process that involves machine learning.

“She basically did it the way any scientist does it — by Googling things, asking questions, trying things out, failing and asking questions and trying again,” says Victoria Abraira, an assistant professor of cell biology and neuroscience who runs the lab.

The cutting-edge technique González established has only been used by a handful of labs across the country that are studying mice to understand what happens to the human spinal cord after an injury, Abraira says.

Last April, González’s research in the lab moved to a new level when she received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The federal grant supports scientists from underrepresented groups in biomedical research.

Read more: Melissa González received a federal grant that supports scientists from underrepresented groups

Rutgers Senior Helps Launch New Undergraduate Research Journal

Commencement 2021

Frederric Kelada spent his four years at Rutgers in constant motion: He was a teaching assistant for a physics class, a researcher in a neuroscience psychology lab and a volunteer for a crisis response team on campus.

Yet on top of all that, he managed to cofound the first undergraduate research journal at Rutgers to publish student papers from any academic discipline. The first two issues of the journal were released this year.

“It seemed to be a huge miss for Rutgers to be such a big research school and not to have an undergraduate research journal,” says Kelada, a cell biology and neuroscience major who hopes to attend medical school.

Kelada and his friend, Prachi Srivastava, a biology and psychology major, were both working in research labs the summer after their freshman year when they decided that Rutgers needed an interdisciplinary undergraduate research journal.

Their first step was to contact the Aresty Research Center for help in providing the support to get the journal established. They really had to go through the ringer of what it is to start a journal from beginning to end as undergraduate students," says Tamiah Brevard-Rodriguez, director of the center, which facilitates undergraduate student research. But she added, "In a departure from the fate of many previous attempts at establishing a research journal, the new journal is here to stay."

While many universities have undergraduate research journals, what distinguishes the Aresty Rutgers Undergraduate Research Journal (RURJ) is that it uses a peer review program led by student facilitators, Brevard-Rodriguez says. Undergraduates who wanted to work on the journal met weekly during the fall semester with Aresty’s advanced undergraduate trainers, guest faculty members and professional staff to learn how to review research papers.

“Our review process is very extensive,” says Kelada, an honors student in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “There are a lot of steps involved.”

In the first round, four to six undergraduates reviewed each paper individually, and then in pairs and as a group, they discussed changes they would recommend to the author. Then at least one graduate student and one faculty member read the paper and suggested further edits for the author to incorporate. The final phase of review was sending each paper to a student copy editor.

The first issue of RURJ was published last December with six articles, ranging from the effects of antidepressant treatment on mice to the impact of campus food and physical activity at Rutgers’ Cook campus on students’ eating habits and exercise. The second edition of the journal will be released in May.

During the preparations for the journal’s launch, Kelada was seen as a leader who could motivate the students to reach their goal of getting the first issue published on time, Brevard-Rodriguez says.

“When emails were coming in and people were meeting in person, Fred was the driving force to make sure that things would get done,” Brevard-Rodgriguez says. “He was the one who really stayed on top of all the steps and made sure that no one lost sight of what the goals were. He was very persistent.”

Srivastava says the journal turned out to be a much bigger project than she originally envisioned. “When we first came up with the idea, I thought it would just be this website that we would run with a small group of students,” she says. “Now there are hundreds of people who know about it and we have a mailing list of close to 600 people.”

Kelada says the experience of creating the journal has taught him several lessons, including why it is beneficial to include a diverse group of students in the project. “A lot of what made RURJ great is we’ve had a lot of ideas come from a lot of different kinds of people, which was great because we needed as many ideas as possible to contribute to the founding of the journal.”

Having a team to help make decisions and learning to trust the members were also essential to teach Kelada to delegate tasks to students who had skills in other areas.

After graduating, Kelada, who lives in Basking Ridge, will continue working as a rehabilitation technician at a physical therapy practice before applying to medical school. He also hopes to remain involved in the journal in the coming year.

“I’ve been doing this so long and it’s been such a big part of my life,” he says. “Looking back at all we did, we’re so proud of ourselves and it’s so amazing because we never thought we would get here.”

Rutgers CBN Graduates Named Fulbright Top Producer for 12th Year

For the 12th consecutive year, Rutgers University-New Brunswick is on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual list of Top-Producers of Fulbright U.S. Student Grants, a distinction shared by some of the nation’s most elite institutions.

The designation requires schools to have at least 10 students offered Fulbright Grants, which is no small feat, said Arthur D. Casciato, founding director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships at Rutgers. This year, Rutgers-New Brunswick tallied 15, which puts the university in prestigious company.

“I am very proud of our incredibly talented Fulbright students and excited for them to be earning these life-shaping opportunities,” Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said. “To join our esteemed peers in being among the top producers of Fulbright recipients for more than a decade is a remarkable achievement.”

Among the top-producing doctoral institutions of Fulbright U.S. students, only 16 have been on the top-producing list every year for the past 10 years. In addition to Rutgers-New Brunswick, that list includes Arizona State University; Boston College; Brown, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, Villanova and Yale universities; the University of California at Berkeley; University of Chicago; University of Michigan and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rutgers-New Brunswick’s newest Fulbright recipients include Maegan Sunaz, who graduated in 2020 with a double major in political science and women’s and gender studies through the School of Arts and Sciences. Sunaz credits the university with providing her with both the education and guidance she needed to edge out the competition for this grant.

“This public institution has done so much for me, someone whose parents did not complete four years of college and therefore did not outright know how to navigate higher education,” she said. “Rutgers puts in tremendous effort to lift up its students, so I am more than happy to have a role in helping it obtain this distinction. I am very proud of my alma mater.”

Though her plans to teach English in Indonesia were put on hold because of coronavirus restrictions, Sunaz is looking forward to when she will be able to enjoy her Fulbright experience.

“The success of these inspiring awardees demonstrates how Rutgers-New Brunswick is at the forefront in helping our students to reach their goals, and training the next generation of global leaders,” Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy said. “We applaud them for their outstanding achievements.”

Administered by the Institute of International Education and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, each of the approximately 2,000 grants issued annually cover the cost of a student’s travel, housing and living expenses for a year in the country where they will be teaching or studying.

“It embraces candidates who possess a wide range of academic interests and professional goals," said Casciato, "and it is exactly Fulbright’s breadth of vision that allows the high level of achievement that Rutgers has consistently enjoyed over the past 12 years.”

The concept was first introduced in a 1945 bill by Sen. J. William Fulbright, who called for the use of surplus war property to fund the “promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.” On Aug. 1, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and today the Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.  

“Of all the major national awards, the Fulbright is possibly the most life-changing because it allows you to live abroad for a year and gain invaluable life experience,” Casciato said. “Fulbright recipients get to do something they may never do again in a place they might never have visited.”

Rutgers’ Fulbright hot streak started the year after the university created the Office of Distinguished Fellowships, under the direction of Casciato, who has shepherded hundreds of undergraduates through the process of applying for scholarships and grants, including the Fulbright, since his arrival in 2007. In 2020, his office helped 11 undergraduates secure Fulbright grants, which, in combination with the School of Graduate Studies’ four recipients, brought Rutgers-New Brunswick’s total to 15.

Rutgers produced its highest number of recipients in a year in 2013-14, when 26 Rutgers students were awarded Fulbrights, tying for third in the country with Princeton, and behind only Harvard and the University of Michigan. Rutgers was also ranked in the top 10 of the Fulbright top producers in 2014-15 (19 awards, 10th) and again in 2018-19 (23 awards, 9th).

“The secret of our success is that there is no secret,” said Casciato. “We’ve simply made it our business to send forward many more candidates than ever before in the university’s history, and the excellence of a Rutgers education takes care of the rest.”

This year’s Fulbright recipients also include Annalise Burke, who graduated in May 2020 with a dual major in public policy and Korean language from Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences. As a junior Burke, 22, was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study in South Korea. Now and as a Fulbright Fellow, she is currently teaching English in South Korea, an experience she said has been intense, given she is among the first cohort to begin in the middle of the pandemic.

“However, I think this is reflective of our role as Fulbrighters, in that we should strive to educate, connect with, and protect our host communities all at once,” said Burke. “I feel very thankful that despite the current global situation, I was given the opportunity to represent my home state Idaho, Rutgers and the United States while teaching English in Korea.”

Other grant recipients were forced to put their international trips on hold this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. That includes School of Graduate Studies student Emmanuel Aprilakis, a classics Ph.D. candidate who earned the Bulgaria-Greece Fulbright Joint Research Award.

Once travel restrictions are lifted, Aprilakis looks forward to touring ancient theater spaces throughout Greece and Bulgaria. He will be based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens while in Greece and affiliated with both Sofia University and New Bulgarian University while in Bulgaria. 

“This grant affords me the opportunity to continue my research of ancient theater spaces across the Mediterranean, and I am particularly excited that the insights gained will shed valuable light also on my dissertation writing and future teaching,” he said.

In the 12 consecutive years Rutgers has been among the top-producing Fulbright schools, 193 students have been recognized with the honor, out of 1,118 candidates sent forth for consideration. By comparison, in the first 63 years of the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant program (1946-2009), 99 Rutgers students were selected for the award.

“Rutgers could always claim the quality of students and faculty it takes to be a major player in the competition for an award as prestigious as the Fulbright,” said Casciato. “But without an office dedicated solely to helping students apply for it, it was difficult to realize that potential.”

Rutgers-New Brunswick Undergraduate Recipients

  • Elena Wei, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, School of Arts and Sciences, 2020 (Colombia)
  • Mansi Shah, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, School of Arts and Sciences, 2020 (Spain)

Full article to be found here

CBN Major Kieran Mullins Named 2021 Wayne Duke Award Recipient

MLax WayneDUke 2

INDIANAPOLIS – Rutgers' men's lacrosse captain Kieran Mullins has been chosen as one of this year's Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award recipients, it was announced Thursday by the Big Ten Conference and Indiana Sports Corp. Mullins joins Michigan State's Lea Mitchell as recipients of the annual $10,000 scholarship for their achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership.

All Big Ten institutions were asked to nominate one female and one male student-athlete for the 2020-21 school year. In recognition of the Big Ten's leadership in fully integrating athletics into the academic mission of its member institutions, the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership initiated the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award in 2008. During the past 14 years, the award has contributed nearly $190,000 in scholarships.

Mullins is a three-time captain who holds a 3.8 GPA while majoring in cell biology and neuroscience with minors in health & society and sociology. He has been a member of the Dean's List every semester to date, as well as a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, was selected as a Rutgers Interdisciplinary Research Team (IRT) Fellow, a Rutgers Postgraduate Big Ten scholarship recipient, a Senior CLASS Award nominee and received the RU Athletic Directors Award.

Outside of the classroom, Mullins is a patient transporter at Centrastate Healthcare System and a volunteer as a Crisis Text Line Counselor. Prior to his time as a Crisis Text Line Counselor, he served as a mentor with Rutgers Educational & Athletic Developmental Initiative, Rutgers Athletics Department's RWJ Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital "Thanksgiving Day", and Rutgers Recreation "Special Friends Day".

Mullins' accomplishments extend well beyond the classroom. He has received multiple accolades throughout his playing career, being selected as an honorable mention All-American, Scholar All-American, two-time All-Big Ten and All-ECAC standout, named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List and a Senior CLASS Award Nominee. Mullins currently has 99 goals and 179 points, putting him in position to graduate among the top scorers in the 100-year history of the Rutgers men's lacrosse program.

Mullins is the third Rutgers student-athlete, and second from the men's lacrosse program, chosen for the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award since RU joined the Big Ten in 2014-15. Campbell Sode was the 2015 male recipient, while Emily Mills (women's golf) received the women's award in 2018.

"Indiana Sports Corp is humbled to have the opportunity to present the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award to these outstanding student-athletes," said Indiana Sports Corp President Ryan Vaughn. "Both of the honorees have demonstrated impressive leadership skills, academic and athletic performance as well as role models for their communities." 

The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is named for the late Big Ten Conference commissioner who served from 1971 to 1989. While leading the Big Ten, Duke spent much of his time working to improve academic standards and graduation rates for students competing in conference athletics. 

Assistant Professor Dr. Wei Dai receives the NSF CAREER award

Wei Dai CAREER Award

Assistant professor Wei Dai has received a CAREER award from NSF to study structural organization of phase transition assemblies formed by proteins with extended polyglutamine (polyQ) homo-repeats. PolyQ proteins are associated with Huntington’s Disease (HD) and at least eight other human neurodegenerative diseases. They are one of the simplest intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) that can condense into membraneless liquid-like or gel-like assemblies through a process termed phase transition. At present, it remains a mystery how the ultrastructure of phase transition assemblies supports spatiotemporal control of functions of the enclosed proteins. By applying cutting edge bioimaging of cryo-electron tomography and 3D ultrastructure analysis, this project will assess how the formation of polyQ protein phase transition assemblies are affected by cellular factors such as lipid vesicles, and provide a deeper understanding of how biophysical and structural properties of phase transition assemblies support biological activities of enclosed IDPs. This project also includes a research-driven education component that will introduce interdisciplinary research to undergraduates, and provide engaging online training resources on biostructure imaging to undergraduate and graduate students. This grant will start in Jan. 2021 and run through 2025.  

Individual Recipients of the Staff COVID-19 Response Awards

Sean OLeary

Sean O’Leary, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience/Keck Center

The abrupt shut-down required swift action in order protect valuable research. While others packed up supplies to work from home, Sean headed to the animal care facility. As some staff and faculty of the Keck Center professors have underlying conditions or family situations that made it impossible for them to come back to campus, Sean willingly took on the additional responsibility for their animals to enable his co-workers to stay safe. In addition to his already added responsibilities, Sean saw missing links and went to work on them. He took emails for those people off-site and placed orders for them, he received and distributed packages, and even figured out the erratic mail system so he could pick up correspondence and get it to the right people. Sean came into the Center, day after day after day, never missing a beat.

Apply to the Institute for Research on Women's Fall 2020 Virtual Learning Community!

The Institute for Research on Women invites all undergraduates to apply to its Fall 2020 Virtual Learning Community, "Knowing Bodies: Science, Sex, and Gender." Given the ongoing global crises we have witnessed over the past several months, this class will use feminist approaches to science and technology to explore how our bodies are both vulnerable and resilient to illness, lack of health care, economic uncertainty, racial injustice, and changing social norms. At the same time, we will examine the role of technology in facilitating the disembodied experience of online learning, remote working, and video chats with family and friends. Because self-care is a key component to feminist politics, it is critical that we consider how trauma affects our communities, and what strategies we can use to handle stress and heal.

In keeping with Rutgers' decision to hold most classes online this fall, the Learning Community will be synchronous remote, meeting once a week on Thursdays from 4:30-6:00pm through Zoom. As a discussion-based, 1.5 credit seminar, it will be a creative space to unwind from the pressures of our daily lives, build strong community, attend virtual IRW lectures, "field trips," and livestream events, take part in digital technology workshops, teach one another healthy practices for "pandemic survival," and work on mini-research projects. I'm encouraging students to develop projects related to this theme (COVID-19, reproductive rights, police brutality, aging, trans-embodiment, gender/race and pharmaceuticals, the digital divide, etc.), but the main thing we'll be doing is learning how to podcast! So, instead of writing a traditional paper or doing a poster presentation, we'll learn how to use our research to tell stories through sound! It's a fabulous opportunity for students interested in exploring a very different kind of classroom at Rutgers.

Hope to see you there!

Please contact Sara Perryman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Apply online at: undefined

Remote Learning

Greetings CBN Students!

We are close to the start of the Fall 2020 semester – we hope you’re enjoying the summer! We know that students are anxious about the new, remote semester format, so we’re writing to you early to help you plan for a successful term.

There are quite a few changes to the registration deadlines and policies for the fall 2020 term, all designed to facilitate a smooth transition into your remote classes, as well as assure continued success throughout the term. Please retain this email message so that you can refer to it for information as we approach the first day of classes (Tuesday September 1).

Remote Learning:

As you know, just about all undergraduate courses will be offered remotely, on-line in the fall 2020 term.
The Schedule of Classes has been fully updated to indicate exactly how each class will be organized. Look up each of your courses in the Schedule of Classes to review the Course Format, the Section Comments, and the Course Notes.
Course Format: In a WHITE box adjacent to each individual Index Number:

If the course format includes Days of the Week and Times, then the class meets virtually on-line and on-line attendance at those times is required. This format, sometimes referred to as SYNCHRONOUS REMOTE, emulates the face-to-face classroom experience and all students will be meeting together with the instructor at the designated times. You can ignore the Campus Location, since the course is meeting remotely.

If the course format states Hours by Arrangement, then the class has no specific meeting times, rather the course site will indicate specific weekly requirements and assignment due dates. In addition, flexible opportunities to meet with TAs, instructors and classmates will be a part of these classes. This format, sometimes referred to as ASYNCHRONOUS REMOTE, provides flexibility, especially for students in other time zones, but still requires the same amount of hour per week as more traditional course formats. These courses ARE NOT self-paced; there is a weekly schedule for work submission beginning the first week of classes.

If the course format includes both a specific meeting time AND Hours by Arrangement, then the course meets virtually on-line and attendance is required at the indicated time AND contains more flexible weekly requirements. This format, sometimes referred to as HYBRID REMOTE, often allows recitations to meet virtually as a group.

Section Notes: In a BLUE box located above each specific section of the course. The section comments include:

How to access the course online using Canvas, Sakai or an alternative Learning Management System
Topics Course Subtitles
Prerequisite information
Registration restrictions
Software/technology requirements such as the need for a Webcam, Microphone, Scanner and/or Test-Taking Authentication Program

Course Notes: In a GREY box located under the title of the course. The course notes include:

SAS Core goals
Instructions for seeking special permission
Registration limitations and course equivalences


Registration Policies and Deadlines

WebReg and Registration Changes

Continuing Students may use WebReg now to make schedule adjustment. The add/drop period extends through September 14.

New, first year students will be receiving their schedules on August 20, and will be able to use WebReg to make adjustments for beginning Tuesday, August 25, extending through September 14.

SAS Students may add and drop classes without a W through September 14, but must retain a full-time registration of at least 12 credits.

SAS Students may withdraw from individual classes with a W through November 30, as long as they retain 12 credits of active registration.

SAS Students may withdraw from all classes by taking a Leave of Absence through November 30.

Class Attendance Changes



(we know….this seems crazy!)


Advising and Registration Assistance

Help is just a mouse-click away! Like you, SAS Advisors are working remotely, though the physical Advising Centers are closed. But, we are here to assist you on-line:

Need help registering or adjusting your schedule: Advisors are available for Live Chat weekdays 9am-5pm EST

Want to reach us by email? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Virtual Advising Appointments: Need to speak with an advisor for long term planning? Call 848-932-8888 to set up an appointment – Coming Soon: Schedule your appointment with our new on-line scheduling tool!

Congratulations CBN Class of 2020

 CBN medallion 2020

The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience would like to congratulate our 2020 senior graduates for their outstanding accomplishment and express our gratitude for your patience and understanding during the transition to online education. These past few months have not been easy on anyone, especially for our senior graduates navigating future endeavors such as continuing studies and pursuing careers.

A virtual celebration to honor our 2020 graduating seniors was held on Thursday, May 14, 2020 featuring student speakers that shared their experience at Rutgers with their fellow graduates. CBN also honored Anuja Bahulekar, Morgan Fishman, and Allyson Stillwell with a CBN AAA Award for their exemplary academic record of a cumulative GPA of 4.0. Awards for student research accomplishments were also announced.  The Department recognized Nicholas Page, Anurag Modak, Ivan Bobkov, Rucha Janodia, and Mohana Biswas with a CBN Research Award, and  Nora Kiledjian, Liam Hiester, and Aisha Patel for the outstanding thesis awards.

Thank you graduates for your hard work and dedication. Congratulations CBN graduates and best wishes for your future success!

Dr. Joanna Burger Granted the Distinguished Career Award


Congratulations to Dr. Joanna Burger for being awarded the Distinguished Career Award at the recent PROTEMASS Society meetings in Caparica, Portugal. This meeting in particular was on Pollutant Toxic Ions and Molecules (PTIM). Dr. Burger presented on Temporal Trends in Heavy Metals in US Atlantic Coast Estuaries: A Food Chain Approach and Emerging Issues and has been honored with the Distinguished Career Award for her notable contributions.

Dr. Wise Young's Research and Mission Featured in SAS News

Reaching Out to People Living with a Devastating Injury

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Wise Young opens up a lab to patients and their families

Charlene Lightcap had never been to Rutgers. But one Friday night she drove from her Delaware home to the Nelson Laboratories building on Busch Campus.

Her mission was personal. Wise Young, School of Arts and Sciences professor and one of the world's foremost experts on spinal cord injury, was holding an open house in which he'd discuss his efforts to help patients recover and walk again.

Lightcap, whose daughter Renee was paralyzed in a car accident several years ago, had no idea what to expect.

"I just decided to go," Lightcap said. "I never thought I'd actually meet Dr. Young."

Yet minutes after stepping off the elevator, she found herself shaking hands with the noted neuroscientist.

"Hi, I'm Charlene, and my daughter Renee is quadriplegic," she said.

"Hi Charlene," Young said in a reassuring voice. "I'm glad you came."

She joined about 40 others at the W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, where Young serves as founding director, and holds open houses that include a tour, film, and a lecture that starts with the basics of spinal cord injury and moves to the latest treatments. 

Article written by John Chadwick, SAS Senior Writer
To read the full article, click [here].

CBN Welcomes New Assistant Professor Dr. Rafiq Huda

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The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience is excited to welcome Dr. Rafiq Huda to the department in January 2020! Dr. Huda completed his undergraduate studies at Carleton College, where he studied Biology and Neuroscience and continued his training through graduate studies at Northwestern University. Using cellular electrophysiology techniques, he uncovered novel mechanisms for respiratory motor control by brainstem neural circuits. Seeking to bridge the mechanisms operating at cellular and systems levels, he did his postdoctoral work in the Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, where he extended his training to systems neuroscience and advanced optical methods for analysis of neural circuits in behaving mice. He uncovered the function of distinct prefrontal cortex circuits in attention and motor planning and also dissected the role of striatal circuits in reward-based learning. Dr. Huda’s long-term research goal is to understand the cellular and neural circuit mechanisms underlying key cognitive functions like attention and behavioral flexibility. Current work in his lab emphasizes the role of molecularly- and anatomically-defined cortical, striatal, and midbrain circuits in attention and flexibility using next-generation optical tools. In addition to resolving the contribution of these circuits to various cognitive functions, his work will identify general principles for information flow and computation in long-range brain circuits.

2019 Annual CBN Gathering

CBN recently held our annual CBN Gathering on October 10, 2019 at the Nelson Biological Labs. The gathering was aimed towards students who are currently in the CBN major and those who are interested in becoming CBN majors. Through several presentations and a period to allow mingling and advising, the event allowed students to get to know the CBN major, CBN student organizations and explore career opportunities.

This year, the gathering featured two main presentations. The first was by Dr. Gregory Sobol, who discussed the process of getting into medical school and what students should have in mind before they apply. Secondly, Dr. Janet Alder discussed alternate career options and various graduate studies in the biomedical sciences.


Following the presentations, students, presenters and faculty were given the opportunity to network and advise. One of the CBN student organizations that participated in the gathering this year was CBN Society. They host journal club meetings, medical school trips, and other activities that help CBN peers in applying to medical school or in pursuing a Ph.D. program. 

Photo Credits to My Nguyen.  

Dr. Brian Daniels Receives American Parkinson's Disease Association Grant


Dr. Brian Daniels has received a $75,000 grant from the American Parkinson's Disease Association to study roles for programmed cell death signaling in astrocytes during Parkinson's Disease (PD). The Daniels lab will use several new genetic systems to selectively manipulate cell death signaling in astrocytes, both in cell culture systems and in a mouse model of PD. These studies aim to identify molecular mechanisms that promote harmful astrocyte activation in PD, with the ultimate goal of informing future development of therapies targeting this process.

Diego Prado De Maio Awarded an American Association of Immunologists "Careers in Immunology" Fellowship

Diego Prado De Maio AwardedCongratulations to Diego Prado De Maio from the Covey Lab for receiving a fellowship with the American Association of Immunologists!

In the Covey lab, they are investigating the mechanisms that regulate normal and aberrant immune responses. When an individual encounters a foreign substance or pathogen it triggers the immune system to become activated so that it can 1) identify the substance as foreign, 2) prevent its spread, and 3) eliminate it completely from the body. A key aspect of our immune system is the capability to mount a response that is both highly specific to the pathogen and is able to create a ‘memory bank’ to protect against subsequent reinfection. Two prominent players in this adaptive response are T cells and B cells. Their lab focuses on a major subset of T cells, the CD4 helper T cells, which, as their name implies, provide ‘help’ to other immune cells to boost their functional properties. One of the most critical signals provided to B cells activates the CD40 pathway and this occurs through binding of T cell-expressed CD40L with CD40 expressed on B cells. Their lab had previously identified a novel pathway which regulates levels of CD40L on T cells. By removing this pathway in mice, they are attempting to understand the importance of this pathway and how varying CD40L levels can impact typical and atypical immune responses. 

Diego's project, which the American Association of Immunologists granted us the Careers in Immunology Fellowship for, is to investigate how this particular pathway of CD40L expression can affect the autoimmune disease lupus erythematosus or lupus. In lupus, T cells and B cells identify some of the body’s own molecules and cells as foreign (similar to a pathogen) and begin mounting a defense against them.  This generates an ongoing immune response which can damage tissues and cause chronic disease. They are confident that their current research will shine new light on the fine details that lead an immune response to attack their own body. Their overall goal with this research is that it will provide new avenues for targeted therapies that can decrease autoimmune responses without leaving individuals vulnerable to attack by other pathogens.

Anton Omelchenko Awarded a Fellowship Research Grant to Study Exosome-Based Delivery of RNAi Therapeutics to Target Traumatic Brain Injury


Congratulations to Anton Omelchenko from the Firestein Lab for receiving a fellowship grant of $100,500!

The Graduate Student Fellowship consists of three-year awards of $27,500 per annum with an additional $6,000 for tuition. The aim of this study is to assess the therapeutic efficacy of exosome-based delivery of molecules which inhibit the expression of a gene encoding the sodium-calcium exchanger 1, or NCX1, for the treatment of mild traumatic brain injury. The calcium ion plays an important role in the biological mechanisms, which induce extensive cell damage in the brain after brain trauma. NCX1 is a protein that regulates the amount of calcium present inside of neurons and supporting glial cells. Impaired function of NCX1 contributes significantly to the dysregulation of calcium balance in neurons and glial cells, leading to subsequent cell damage and cell death.

Targeting proteins, such as NCX, in the brain with standard pharmaceutical drugs is difficult due to lack of drug diffusion across the blood brain barrier, a biological system that prevents easy passage of molecules into the brain from the bloodstream. A novel system to introduce therapeutics into the brain is the use of exosomes, nanoscale biological vesicles naturally released by cells for intercellular communication. These vesicles can be harvested from cells, loaded with drugs or other therapeutic molecules, and injected into the bloodstream to deliver the intended therapy to the brain.

For this study, we propose to develop a system using targeted exosomes to deliver a molecular therapy to reduce the amount of NCX protein in neurons in the brain after trauma. Our aim is to test the delivery system in cell culture and mice, and ultimately, assess the therapeutic potential of the system with respect to learning and memory deficits and cell damage in an animal model of mild brain injury. We hope that our proposed work will provide key stepping stones for future therapeutic strategies involving novel delivery of therapeutics for traumatic brain injury.


Eight CBN Students Were Recipients of the SURF Award to Support Their Summer Research

Congratulations to our undergraduates who successfully presented their summer research projects at the DLS SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) poster presentation on August 13th! 

Students awarded the DLS SURF Fellowship this year include Atul Bhattiprolu, Isabel Biermann, Nithisha Cheedalla, Alekhya Kunaparaju, Aisha Patel, Ritika Raghavan, Tara Shrier and Jemmie Tsai. 

The Division of Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship award includes a $3500 stipend for summer research experience. The Fellowship is funded by the Division of Life Sciences, the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, and by a generous endowment from Duncan and Nancy MacMillan. After working full time in a lab for 10 weeks over the summer, each student has submitted a 2-3 page research progress report and presented their research findings at the SURF poster presentation.


Nofar Engelhard Awarded the State of New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research Grant

Abraira Lab Graduate Student, and leader of the Parvalbumin Project; Nofar has been awarded the prestigious $60,000 State of New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research Grant with outstanding commendation. Nofar will use said funding towards her endeavor to characterize the novel parvalbumin spinal cord neuron's role in both locomotive control and spinal cord injury recovery; continuing her stellar work through 2021. 


Dr. Qian Cai Receives NIH Grant Renewal for Alzheimer's Research


Dr. Qian Cai has received a renewal for a $2,625,000 R01 grant to study regulation of mitochondrial quality through mitophagy in Alzheimer’s disease.

The goal of this study is to establish a causative link between mitophagy deficits and early synaptic pathology in a physiological Alzheimer’s disease (AD) model and define mechanistic details of a strategy that can rescue mitophagy deficiency and bioenergetic dysfunction in AD mice. The identified mechanisms are expected to provide new concepts leading to preventive and therapeutic strategies that will benefit the growing number of AD patients who have mitochondrial deficits and metabolic dysfunction, and may suggest strategies for other age-related neurodegenerative disorders and healthy neuronal aging. Dr. Cai's studies will advance understanding of a critical early step in AD pathogenesis.

Jennifer Jiang Received the Best Young Research Talk Prize

Jennifer Jiang, an undergraduate student in Dr. Wei Dai’s group, received the Best Young Research Talk (sponsored by Agrisera) for her presentation on "Structural and Functional Analyses of Photosynthetic Protein Complexes in Thylakoid Membranes of a Marine Diatom" at the 36th Eastern Regional Photosynthesis Conference (Woods Hole, MA. May 3-5, 2019).

For two years, she has been working in the Dai Laboratory, using cryo-electron tomography, proteomics and biophysical tools to study the structural architecture and spatial distribution of photosynthetic protein complexes embedded in thylakoid membranes. The primary objective is to gain insight into the molecular machinery responsible for supporting robust photophysiology in photosynthetic organisms. Congratulations Jennifer and best wishes as she begins her PhD this fall at Rutgers!


Dr. Victoria Abraira Named 2019 Pew Scholar

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Victoria Abraira, an assistant professor in Rutgers Cell Biology and Neuroscience was selected as a 2019 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. by the The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides funding to young investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health.

The program makes grants to selected academic institutions to support the independent research of outstanding individuals who are in their first few years of their appointment at the assistant professor level.

Abraira is only the fourth faculty member and first woman from Rutgers University to win this honor!

Congratulations to this Rutgers University—New Brunswick scholar whose research explores the neural circuits involved in processing and responding to touch.

"Although touch is an important part of our everyday lives and shapes how we move through the world and interact with others, it is the least studied of all the senses," Abraira said in her bio posted on Pew. "As a postdoctoral fellow, I discovered that most of the neurons in the skin that detect touch relay information to cells in the spinal cord, rather than communicating directly with the brain."

Using methods in molecular genetics coupled with advanced techniques for manipulating and monitoring the activity of individual neurons in awake mice, her team will stimulate or silence specific spinal circuits to determine how they encode tactile sensations and use this information to guide the animal’s behavior and its ability to coordinate movement.

The team will also explore, for the first time, how social touch is modulated by spinal circuits that differ from those that process the touch that allows us to grasp and distinguish objects.

"Our findings could lead to new treatments for disorders that impair social interactions, such as autism, or to improved therapies for spinal cord injury," she says.

The Pew Charitable Trusts awarded 22 early-career researchers who have been selected to join the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. These promising scientists will receive four years of funding to invest in exploratory research to advance human health and tackle some of biomedicine’s most challenging questions. Dr. Abraira will explore the neural circuits involved in processing and responding to touch. To read the full announcement, click [here].

Dr. Peng Jiang's Research Could Help Lead to Down Syndrome Treatment

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Targeting a key gene before birth could someday help lead to a treatment for Down syndrome by reversing abnormal embryonic brain development and improving cognitive function after birth, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Using stem cells that can turn into other cells in the brain, researchers developed two experimental models – a living 3D “organoid” model of the brain and a mouse brain model with implanted human cells – to investigate early brain development linked to Down syndrome, according to the study in the journal Cell Stem Cell. The study focused on human chromosome 21 gene OLIG2.

To read the full article, click [here].
To read the full paper, click [here].

9 CBN Students Named as 2019 Henry Rutgers Scholars!

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Kusuma Anath, Role of Orexin On Binge Eating Behavior Studied Through Pharmacogenetic Modulation

Erin Kelly, Characterizing the Endogenous Neuronal Distribution of Vinculin for an Investigation of the Forces that Transduce Mechanical Cues in Neurons

Ansley Kunnath, Sex-Specific Effects of Antipsychotics and D-Serine on Rat Cortical Neurons

Charles Morse, Multiple Action Potential Thresholds Characterize the Responses of Spiral Ganglion Neurons to Dynamic Stimuli

Meher Pandher, Total Leukocyte Quantification by Linear Smear Detects Gender Differences in Immune Response to Spinal Cord Injury

Manan Parekh, Addressing a Novel Mechanism of Neuronal TrashExtrustion in C. elegans and Developing a High Throughput Unbiased Genetic Screen Protocol

Riya Patel, Establishing a Knockdown of Chd4 in Order to Determine its Role in Neuronal Differentiation

Avina Rami, Isolation of Exosomes from Human Umbilical Cord for the Development of Exosome-Rich Plasma

Fady Soliman, Exploring the Role of Exosomal Netrin-1 in Pre-Metastatic Niche Development for PDAC

The Henry Rutgers Scholar Award recognizes School of Arts and Sciences graduating seniors who have completed outstanding independent research projects. These awards are offered across all departments of the School of Arts and Sciences, and so represent only the very finest achievements of students.

2019 Honors Colloquium

On April 12, 2019, thirty-four CBN Honors students presented their work at the 2019 Honors Colloquium, a poster session where fellow students, faculty mentors, and other CBN faculty gathered to learn about the research they have been conducting in laboratories across campus. CBN Honors students pursue research in labs within the department of their major - the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience - and two other School of Arts and Sciences departments, Genetics and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and also Rutgers Biomedical and Health (RBHS)

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Dr. David Margolis and His Team Discover New Role for Sensory Signals in the Brain

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Learning how to tie a shoe or shoot a basketball isn’t easy, but the brain somehow integrates sensory signals that are critical to coordinating movements so you can get it right.

Now, Rutgers scientists have discovered that sensory signals in the brain’s cerebral cortex, which plays a key role in controlling movement and other functions, have a different pattern of connections between nerve cells and different effects on behavior than motor signals. The motor area of the cortex sends signals to stimulate muscles.

To read the full article, click [here]. 

Welcome Dr. Brian Daniels to Rutgers!

Join us in welcoming Dr. Brian Daniels, our new Assistant Professor! Dr. Daniels is from Greenville, SC and received BA/BS degrees in English and behavioral biology. He began his research career as an undergraduate studying the behavioral consequences of chronic infection with the neurotropic parasite Toxoplasma gondii. He maintained his interest in infectious diseases of the central nervous system as a PhD student in neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied interactions between the nervous and immune systems during West Nile virus encephalitis. He pursued postdoctoral training in immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he worked to define specialized host defense mechanisms in the brain to neuroinvasive viruses, including Zika virus. The goal of his lab at Rutgers is to understand how the resident cells of the brain and spinal cord coordinate immune responses to both infection and sterile traumatic injury, with a particular interest in cell types that comprise the blood-brain barrier, the primary physiologic interface between the nervous system and circulating immune cells. Using a combination of mouse models and advanced tissue culture systems, they hope to uncover molecular mechanisms that shape both protective and pathologic neuroinflammation.


CBN Student Spotlight: Nicholas Page

Nicholas Page  

Nicholas Page was just 14 when he started working in the lab of a Rutgers–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School professor. He landed that gig by simply asking for it. Page was participating in the Brain Bee, a competition for high school students hosted by the Medical School.

   “I was mingling with faculty and asking about research opportunities for high school students,” he says.

The one who said “yes” was Mladen-Roko Rasin, a professor of neuroscience and cell biology who studies the formation of the brain, and how it is disrupted in diseases such as autism and epilepsy.

“The rest is history,” says Page, of Matawan, New Jersey.

Story by John Chadwick. To read the full article, click [here].

Mike Kiledjian Named Fellow of AAAS

Megerditch (Mike) Kiledjian, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers–New Brunswick.

Kiledjian’s research focuses on the mechanistic understanding of mRNA turnover and its consequence on human disorders. His lab’s primary emphasis has been on a key regulatory step involving the removal of the protective 5´end cap, termed decapping. The lab has identified all known mRNA decapping enzymes and has made significant contributions to our understanding of how decapping contributes to the physiology of the innate immune response, cell migration and cognitive function. The lab’s most recent focus has been on the link between RNA metabolism and cellular metabolism. The lab identified a novel mRNA 5´end cap consisting of nicotinamide adenine diphosphate (NAD). The presence of an NAD cap on mRNAs demonstrates an important correlation between mRNA decay and cellular energetics and new avenues to modulate gene expression in human cells.

The association cited Kiledjian for “distinguished contributions to advancements in the life sciences, particularly in understanding the molecular mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation of gene 

[He is one of] five Rutgers professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – a distinction awarded by association members.

The AAAS today announced 416 new fellows, citing their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The honorees will be presented an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on February 16 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Todd Bate. For the full article, please click [here].

Congratulations to Dr. Lori Covey's Promotion to Area Dean of Life Sciences

Lori Covey, professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and an accomplished scholar in the field of immunology has been named Area Dean of Life Sciences.

Lori succeeds Ken Breslauer, who after two decades of leading the School of Arts and Science's life science programs, has decided to return to the faculty and pursue research.

Lori brings years of experience as a Rutgers University faculty member, research scientist, and all-around academic leader. She received her undergraduate degree from University of California, Riverside and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Following postdoctoral training at Columbia Medical School, Lori joined Rutgers in 1993 and gained renown for her discovery of novel pathways regulating T cell-B cell interactions that are critical to the body’s defense system against disease.

Lori has served in a number of key leadership roles, at Rutgers and in national science organizations. She was the associate chair of the cell biology and neuroscience department from 2012 to 2016, and a member of the committee assessing the SAS Core Curriculum. After the creation of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Lori served on the team that evaluated the graduate program curriculum at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

As a member of the American Association of Immunologists, Lori was Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women and was appointed to run the advocacy programs for the Committee on Public Affairs. In the latter role, Lori helped lead public policy efforts for the association as well as advocate for scientists nationwide, including lobbying Congress for increased support for biomedical research. She also has been a member of several National Institutes of Health Study Sections responsible for evaluating grant proposals for individual, collaborative, and institutional research projects as well as student and postdoctoral training grants.

Throughout her career Lori has been an outstanding mentor to young scientists. Her students achieve prominent positions at institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and at top-tier colleges and universities nationwide.

The Area Dean of Life Sciences works with departmental chairs and directors to provide oversight for the recruitment, hiring, mentoring, promotion, and retention of faculty and staff critical to the university missions of research, education, and service. The dean also participates in the strategic planning and decision-making process of the School of Arts and Sciences providing recommendations and assistance to the Executive Dean.

Congratulations to Dr. Lori Covey!

Congratulations CBN Class of 2018!

On Sunday, May 13th, 164 students received BAs in Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the 252nd Commencement.  

Our departmental celebration on May 10th was held, where students gathered together with faculty to share a dinner, and listened to remarks by their fellow classmates, Rahul Kataria, and Cynthia Zheng. Personalized engraved medallions were also presented to the graduates. Following tradition, the backs of all the medallions were emblazoned with a special image – this year’s was designed by Adin Aoki.

Students were also recognized at the celebration. Started last year, the Auerbach Academic Achievement Award for CBN seniors graduating with an exemplary academic record, was presented to five students -  Darius Hunt, Mark Mikhail, Neil Patel, Vyom Sawhney, and Jeffrey Sheu. These five students graduated with an impressive cumulative GPA of 4.0. Two students, Justin Mathew and Griffin Poole, received the Best Honors Poster Award from the Honors Colloquium.

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 (L) Recipients of the Auerbach Academic Achievement Awards: (from left) Darius Hunt, Vyom Sawhney, Neil Patel.
Not pictured: Mark Mikhail and Jeffrey Sheu. 
(R) Recipients of the 2018 Best Honors Poster Awards: Griffin Poole and Justin Mathew

2018 CBN Graduates

Congratulations and best wishes to all CBN graduates!

Dr. Qian Cai Recognized as one of Rutgers's Most Distinguished Young Faculty

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, Dr. Qian Cai was named one of the University's most distinguished young faculty by this year's Board of Trustees Research Fellowships for Scholarly Excellence. Dr. Cai, one of five faculty recipients at Rutgers, was honored in recognition of her remarkable and innovative research into how defects in fundamental cell biological processes involved in protein trafficking and degradation contribute to disease pathology, and specifically, her significant insights that are providing a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms associated with Alzheimer's Disease. To see the program and other recipients, click here. You can also read more about it here.

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2018 Honors Colloquium

On March 30, 2018, sixteen CBN Honors students presented their work at the 2018 Honors Colloquium, a poster session where fellow students, faculty mentors, and other CBN faculty gathered to learn about the research they have been conducting in laboratories across campus. CBN Honors students pursue research in labs within the department of their major - the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience - and two other School of Arts and Sciences departments, Genetics and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and also Rutgers Biomedical and Health (RBHS)



CBN Student Nicholas Page Honored with Goldwater Scholarship

CBN Major Nicholas Page was the recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. He along with Maine Christos, another Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences student, are among 211 selected nationwide as Goldwater Scholars for the 2018-19 academic year, the top undergraduate award of its kind in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.  An additional 281 nominees, including Rutgers junior Lawrence Gardner, a mechanical engineering major, earned honorable mentions.

To read the full article, please click [here].

Dr. Peng Jiang Awarded Two Pilot Grants

The Rutgers Brain Health Institute, Rutgers-Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology announced awardees in late January of their 2017 Pilot Grant Program in Neuroscience. Assistant Professor Peng Jiang, Assistant Professor, was awarded two of the eight pilot grants! The BHI-RUN-NJIT Pilot Grants in Neuroscience program is a multi-institutional funding program that provides pilot funding to foster basic and translational collaborative research between neuroscientists at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, and NJIT.  This 1-year pilot grant mechanism encourages cross-disciplinary collaborations by requiring that projects be directed by two or more principal investigators from different Rutgers schools or NJIT. Over the past two years the pilot program has funded 18 grants totaling $720,000. The goal of the funding program is to provide seed funding for new collaborative research projects to generate preliminary data necessary for extramural applications to federal, state and private funding agencies. The outcome data show that the 2015 pilot awardees have so far received nine extramural grant awards totaling $5.4 million.Learn more about the pilot grant program. 

CBN Retreat, January 2018

The department held a retreat open to faculty and students on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the Multi-Purpose Room in the Cook Campus Center. The retreat featured seminars by Professors Kelvin Kwan, Qian Cai, Peng Jiang, David Margolis, Gabriella D'Arcangelo, Max Tischfield, and Victoria Abraira who spoke about their research. Later on, postdoctoral associates, fellows, and students presented on their research through a poster session. Thanks to all who came out!

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Welcome Drs. Abraira and Tischfield!

Join us in welcoming Drs. Victoria Abraira and Max Tischfield, joined the CBN faculty in January 2018 as Assistant Professors! Dr. Abraira graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Biological Sciences and is coming to us from a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tischfield is a graduate of the Rutgers College Honors Program in the Department of Cell Biology. He recently completed postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the Boston Children's hospital. Welcome Drs. Abraira and Tischfield!

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CBN Retreat, January 2018

CBN will be hosting a retreat on Thursday, January 11, 2018 open to undergraduate students, graduate students postdoctoral associates, and faculty. The first half of the retreat will consist of presentations from CBN faculty and the latter half will be a poster presentation by graduate students and postdoctoral associates. Students will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and other students in the department. Click here for more information. Registration is free and open to all who are interested. 
To register, fill out the form here:

2017 First Annual CBN Major Fair

CBN recently held our first annual CBN Major Fair on October 6, 2017 at the Livingston Student Center. The fair was geared towards students who are currently in the CBN major and those who are interested in becoming CBN majors.  It featured three presentations. One by Dr. Shu Chan Hsu, Undergraduate Director at CBN who introduced the major and gave a brief overview of the classes and requirements, followed by Dr. Greg Sobol of the Health Professions Office, who spoke about getting into Medical School, and the last one was by Joe Scott, the Associate Director of Career Services who presented about how to maximize efficiency in job and internship searching.

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After the presentations, students had the opportunity to visit booths, which included ones from CBN Student societies, such as RU WINS, RU Brain Society, and CBN Student Society. Students met and mingled with CBN faculty who were also there to meet with students. There was a great turnout, including a high school student who was looking into CBN as a potential major in college!

Dr. Gabriella D'Arcangelo Receives Recognition for DOD Award

At the 2016-2017 Chancellor's Celebration of Faculty Excellence held on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, Professor Gabriella D'Arcangelo was recognized for receiving an Idea Development Award from the Department of Defense, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program. This grant award supports current research in Professor D'Arcangelo's lab aimed at better understanding the cellular mechanisms of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, a developmental brain disorder associated with autism and epilepsy.

Congratulations CBN Class of 2017!

On Sunday, May 14th, over 171 students received BAs in Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the 251st Commencement.  

Our departmental celebration was held on May 11th where students received personalized engraved medallions. 


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Recipients of the 2017 Auerbach Achievement Award

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Congratulations and best wishes to all CBN graduates!

2017 CBN Honors Colloquium

Last Friday, April 21, 2017, twenty four CBN Honors students presented their work at the 2017 Honors Colloquium, a poster session where fellow students, faculty mentors, and other CBN faculty gathered to learn about the research they have been conducting in laboratories across campus. CBN Honors students pursue research in labs within the department of their major - the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience - and two other School of Arts and Sciences departments, Genetics and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and also Rutgers Biomedical and Health (RBHS). At the event, two students received awards for Best Poster:  Anna Chen and Parth K. Patel. 

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Recruiting Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience

The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the level of Assistant Professor to develop an innovative research program focused on basic immunological processes relating to neurological disorders and/or cancer biology.

As part of the Division of Life Sciences, a group of Departments and Institutes that serves to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary research, the Department of CBN is home to an interactive, collegial faculty with broad interests encompassing immunology, molecular biology, stem cell biology and neurobiology.  Multiple opportunities for collaboration exist within the Department as well as with labs situated nearby at The Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, The Child Health Institute and Princeton University.  Rutgers offers excellent facilities and competitive start-up packages.

Outstanding applicants will hold a Ph.D., MD or equivalent degree and have extensive postdoctoral training in immunology or a related field. A strong track record of achievement is required.  The successful candidate will be expected to teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the fields of immunology, cell biology or neuroscience and establish and maintain a productive extramurally funded research program.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply online with a curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research plans, and the names, addresses, and contact information of three individuals who will provide a letter of reference.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible but not later than December 15, 2017. Late applications will be considered only if positions remain available.

Rutgers University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Congratulations CBN Class of 2016!

On Sunday, March 15, over 200 students will be receiving BAs in Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the 250th Anniversary Commencement

Our departmental celebration was held on March 12th where students received personalized engraved medallions containing an image from Dr. Robin Davis' laboratory.

PanoCBN faculty and students dined together before the festivities began

CBN faculty and graduating students wearing their CBN medallions.

 Congratulations and best wishes to all CBN graduates!


2016 CBN Honors Colloquium

Last Friday, April 22nd, thirty-two CBN Honors students presented their work at the 2016 CBN Honors Colloquium, a poster session where fellow students, faculty mentors, and other CBN faculty gathered to learn about the research they have been conducting in laboratories across campus.  CBN Honors students pursue research in labs within the deparment of their major -- the Deparment of Cell Biology and Neuroscience -- and two other School of Arts and Sciences departments, Genetics and Molecular Biology and Chemistry), and also Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).   At the event, two students received awards for Best Poster: Michael Lazaropoulos (Ron Hart's Lab) and Sanjana Matta (Long-Jun Wu's Lab).

LSB Atrium was decorated with
CBN Honors Student research posters.


2016 Best Poster Winners
with CBN Chair, Mike Kiledjian

Dr. David Margolis awarded grant from Rutgers Brain Health Institute

Under a new pilot grant program offered by the Brain Health Institute at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University–Newark, and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) designed to drive new collaborations, neuroscientists from various campuses and units at Rutgers and NJIT were recently awarded nine, one-year research grants totaling $360,000. The projects are expected to generate preliminary data that can then be used in applying for federal, state, and private grants. Each project is directed by at least two principal investigators from different schools. Collaborative teams submitted 27 applications for review by an external scientific review committee and an internal programmatic review committee. Nine $40,000 awards were made. Seven of the nine funded teams have already taken their pilot grant proposal and submitted new applications to external funding agencies. Learn more about the projects.

CBN Professor Margolis and Professor James Tepper (RU-Newark) received an award for their project entitled "Role of Sensory Cortex in Behavioral Response Inhibition."  Beyond its traditional role as an early-stage relay of tactile information, the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) has an increasingly appreciated role in sensorimotor behavior and motor control. Our proposed experiments explore the hypothesis that S1 is involved in sensory-driven behavioral response inhibition via differential connectivity with neural circuits of the striatum. Response inhibition, the ability to stop a goal-directed behavior in the appropriate context, is fundamental for the cognitive control of behavior. Impaired response inhibition underlies impulsive behaviors present across many neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, such as Tourette’s syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and addiction disorders. While current thinking holds that signaling from prefrontal cortex to striatum mediates response inhibition, this idea may be too simplistic; other cortical areas including S1 provide massive projections to the dorsal striatum (DStr) that could play important functional roles, especially during specific behavioral contexts. The proposed research will investigate the functional circuitry of S1-mediated response inhibition using an integrative experimental approach including optogenetics, mouse behavior and electrophysiology. The results have the potential not only to change current thinking about the role of S1-DStr projections in behavioral control, but could also identify S1-DStr signaling as a potential therapeutic target in disorders involving impulsive behaviors.




Professor Melitta Schachner to be awarded prestigious honorary degree

Dr. Melitta Schachner has been selected to receive a prestigious honorary doctorate degree from the University of Heidelberg—the first such honor for extraordinary achievement in the life sciences that the institution has awarded in 50 years.

In 1976, Schachner became the first chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Heidelberg, where she also led the development of the Center for Neuroscience. She later established a Center for the Study of Neurobiology at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

A member of the German Academy of Sciences, Schachner has focused her research and written prolifically on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie development, maintenance, and modifications of the adult central nervous system. She has authored more than 800 articles in peer-reviewed journals. In 1965, as a summer student at the California Institute of Technology, she studied with Max Delbrück, the last person to receive the honor that Schachner will receive in Heidelberg in November.

Congratulations, Dr. Schachner!

Dr. Ronald Hart directs bioinformatics core for $3.3M NIH epigenetics study

The National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health has awarded Professor Ah-Ng Tony Kong, Distinguished Professor, Glaxo Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutics and Graduate Director, a 5-year RO1 grant of $3,335,313 for the project, “Epigenetic mechanisms of indole-3-carbinol (I3C)/diindolylemthane (DIM) and triterpenoids in prevention of prostate inflammation and related disease.” The I3C/DIM found abundantly in cruciferous vegetables and triterpenoid ursolic acid (UA) from medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, cranberries, beets, and mushrooms, are commonly used as botanical dietary supplements.  This grant will examine how chronic inflammatory processes can drive changes of inflammatory epigenome and investigate how botanical/natural products can modify these inflammatory epigenomic alterations resulting in suppression of inflammation and its related diseases including cancer in the prostate. In addition, the Analytical Core directed by Drs. Ronald P. Hart (Cell Biology), Brian T. Buckley (EOHSI) and Michael Verzi (Genetics) will develop the latest technology in next-generation sequencing coupled with bioinformatics, and in vivo metabolism, pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics studies of botanicals using LCMS technology.  Better understanding of the molecular mechanism of I3C, DIM and UA via epigenetic alterations can enhance the use of I3C, DIM and UA in disease prevention and can potentially benefit thousands.

<Read the official announcement>

Graduate, Law, and Health Professions School Fair

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 • 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Rutgers Student Center

Admissions officers, students, and alumni come together to discuss graduate and law school opportunities. With over 100 programs expected to attend, this fair will be a great networking opportunity for both candidates and admissions officers alike. This event is only open to Rutgers University students and alumni from all majors. Attendees should dress professionally.

RECRUITER INFORMATION: Login to learn more and register here.
STUDENT INFORMATION: View a listing of attending schools

Wecome Message from the Chair

Welcome back to the start of a new academic year!

On behalf of the Cell Biology and Neuroscience faculty, welcome to the 2014-2015 school year at Rutgers!  Our faculty are committed to providing you with the highest quality education and research opportunities.  If you are interested in doing research in a CBN laboratory, please visit the CBN faculty research descriptions to find someone whose work interests you and then contact that person directly.  If you have a question about registering for a course or you need a special permission number, please contact the DLS Office of Undergraduate Instruction at 848-445-2075.  To stay informed about the latest CBN news, visit our Facebook page and “like us.”

We are pleased you have chosen to major in CBN and hope you have a wonderful year.

-Dr. Mike Kiledjian, CBN Chair

Fall 2014 CBN Seminar Series Schedule

September 19, 2014 – Qian Cai, MD, PhD – Rutgers University
September 26, 2014 – Yuk Fai Leung, PhD – Purdue University
October 10, 2014   –  Dilek Colak, PhD – Cornell University
October 17, 2014  –  Edwin Rubel, PhD – University of Washington – Seattle
October 24, 2014  –  Long-Jun Wu, PhD – Rutgers University
October 31, 2014 –  Shi-Yong Sun, PhD ­– Emory Univ. School of Medicine
December 12, 2014 – Adam Kepecs, PhD – Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Seminars meet from 12 - 1 pm in Nelson Labs B-228.    

Download Fall 2014 CBN Seminar Series Schedule

Recruiting Assistant Professor of Cryo-Electron Microscopy

The Center for Integrative Proteomics Research and the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, seek to hire an outstanding tenure track assistant professor in the area of Cryo-Electron Microscopy. Applicants must have a Ph.D. and/or M.D., a distinguished record of scholarship, a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, and the leadership abilities to develop and support a world-class research program. The Center is located in a newly built 75,000-square-foot facility dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary research in the biological and biomedical sciences using complementary quantitative tools of measurement and analysis. The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience is part of the Division of Life Sciences, a group of Rutgers Departments and Institutes that represent further opportunities for collaboration. Together the Center and the Department will provide access to a broad array of excellent research facilities and a competitive start-up package.

The Center and the Department are located adjacent to the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, and are less than one hour from New York City and Philadelphia.

Interested individuals should apply online through the Department’s recruitment website ( with a curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research plans, and the names, addresses, and contact information of three individuals who will provide a letter of reference.

The Search Committee will begin its deliberations on October 15, 2013.  Applications received after December 1, 2013 will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Rutgers University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


Welcome to our newest faculty members, Professor Long-Jun Wu and Professor David Margolis! Dr. Wu will arrive September 2012 and will study communication between microglia and neurons in normal and diseased brain. Dr. Margolis will arrive January 2013 and will focus on imaging of neural plasticity.

Epigenetic link to neurodegeneration in ataxia?

karlherrupEpigenetic link to neurodegeneration in ataxia? Professor Karl Herrup recently reported in Nature Medicine that children born with ataxia telangiactasia, a disorder known to be related to DNA repair, can also be linked to proteins that change epigenetic regulation in neurons. Results demonstrated that inhibiting HDAC4 protein in a mouse model was able to reduce symptoms. Read the announcement of Prof. Herrup's discover in a recent Rutgers Today article.

A new model of Alzheimer's Disease

karlherrup2 A new model of Alzheimer's Disease Professor Karl Herrup recently published a novel hypothesis to explain the etiology of Alzheimer's Disease. Appearing in the December 15, 2010 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Prof. Herrup's hypothesis is that AD is triggered by three steps, starting with an initiating injury, continuing with an inflammatory response, and resulting in a change in cell state. This model places the so-called "amyloid theory" in context of a larger progression of events, helping to explain why therapies targeting amyloid may be insufficient to ameliorate symptoms. Read the profile of Dr. Herrup and his model in a recent Rutgers news release.

Professor Kenneth Paradiso joins Rutgers CBN!

paradisoProfessor Kenneth Paradiso joins Rutgers CBN! Prof. Kenneth G. Paradiso, recently of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, has accepted an offer to become one of the newest Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience at Rutgers University. Prof. Paradiso's research focuses on the electophysiology of the calyx of Held, an important synaptic structure in the brain that helps to integrate audio input. Prof. Paradiso arrives with an NIH K99 Pathway to Independence (PI) Award to support his research. The faculty of CBN welcomes our newest colleague!

Professor Ron Hart awarded NIH Research Challenge Grant

hartProfessor Ron Hart awarded NIH Research Challenge Grant Prof. Hart, in collaboration with Prof. Manolis Kellis of CSAIL and the Broad Institute of MIT, was recently awarded a $1M Research Challenge Grant to study the role of small RNAs in regulating epigenetic marks on chromatin. The NIH Research Challenge grant program used ARRA funds to make only about 200 awards having high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health. Prof. Hart's award was one of a small number of projects using human embryonic stem cells under the new NIH guidelines.

NJ Autism Grant Awarded: Cypin and Neuroligin-1 in synaptogenesis

firestein2NJ Autism Grant Awarded: Cypin and Neuroligin-1 in synaptogenesis Prof. Bonnie Firestein was recently awarded a grant from the New Jersey Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism. The project will determine how cypin and Neuroligin-1 (NLGN-1) regulate excitatory synapse formation, since creating the appropriate number and type of connections is essential for proper brain development and function. Defects in synapse formation underlie a number of cognitive disorders, including autism and autism spectrum disorders.