MPP PhD student Kavin Nunez has been selected as a recipient of the NIH Outstanding Scholars in Neuroscience Award Program (OSNAP).
The Outstanding Scholar in Neuroscience is a new postdoctoral recruiting effort designed to recognize and support those who are conducting exceptional research with an interest in neuroscience and have a great academic potential in their scientific PhD programs across the nation. "To be recognized for my dissertation research thus far is very rewarding and this allows me to take the next step in my career towards a post-doctoral position, as I get to directly interact with potential mentors studying neuroscience within the NIH," Kavin says. In addition to support in his program, Kavin also cites support from IMSD as a factor in his success. "IMSD is a community of graduate students and mentors that are there for you throughout the up-and-downs of graduate school," he says. "They provided me with training experiences that gave me the proper foundation to achieve my goals and further opportunities for my development towards becoming an independent-scientist."
Kavin's research investigates how an animal's internal state (fear, stress, hunger, etc.) can affect the reward and memory processing circuits to motivate behavior. More specifically, it looks at how food-deprivation directly impacts the reward and memory processing circuits within the adult Drosophila melanogaster brain to affect memories for alcohol, as a drug of abuse. The project also looks across behavior and neural circuits, down to neural dynamics at single cell level to understand how these neurons affect memory and behavior.