The State University of New York and Research Foundation for SUNY (RF) chose 13 students — six of them from Stony Brook University — for the first SUNY Brain Summer Scholars Program, part of the SUNY Brain Network of Excellence. Vyassa Baratham, Erich Horeth, Aatman Makadia, Vinosh Mathuranayagam, Justin Thomas and Evan Yu will join two students from Albany, two from Binghamton, and one each from Buffalo, Canton and Oneonta to conduct research with SUNY faculty that will support President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which aims to increase understanding of how the brain works in order to develop new ways to treat, cure and even prevent brain disorders.
“The SUNY Networks of Excellence allow us to offer students unique opportunities like the Summer Scholars Program, where they will be on the cutting edge of new research and innovation that has the potential to transform highly specialized fields such as neuroscience,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to this first class of Summer Scholars and thank you to the SUNY faculty across New York who will work alongside our students and ensure the program’s success.”
Baratham, a physics major/computer science minor from Acton, Massachusetts, will conduct research at Albany in the lab of Associate Professor Gerwin Schalk.
Four of the SBU students will work with professors at Buffalo. Horeth, a psychology major from Watertown, New York, will be in Assistant Professor Fraser Sim’s lab; Makadia, a biomedical engineering major from East Patchogue, New York, will be with Associate Professor Sarah Zhang; Thomas, a physics major from East Northport, New York, will work with Associate Professor Arnd Pralle; and Yu, a biomedical engineering major from Queens, New York, will be with Assistant Professor Caroline Bass.
Mathuranayagam, a biomedical engineering major from Manlius, New York, will be at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse with Associate Professor Daniel Tso.
Stony Brook will also host two of the students in the program. Thomas Yocono, a student from Albany, will conduct research in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Hoi-Chung Leung, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. Darius Matalavage from Binghamton will work with Anat Biegon, a professor in the Department of Neurology.
“As a leader in neuroscience study, SUNY can play a primary role in building the pipeline of future researchers,” said Timothy Killeen, RF president and SUNY vice chancellor for research. “The SUNY Brain Summer Scholars Program provides a necessary and focused platform to attract undergraduates with aptitude in physics, computation, engineering and mathematics to the rapidly expanding field of neuroscience.”
Students were selected for the program from more than 70 applicants based on criteria such as faculty recommendation, academic transcripts and a personal statement of interest. The students will conduct hands-on research that supports the work of SUNY Brain faculty at the University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical University.
For more information about the program and how to apply for next year, please click here.