Millie Rincón-Cortés, Editor-in-Chief

Volume 25-4.  August 2021


In this Issue... 


Welcome From the New Editor-in-Chief of the IBNS Newsletter

Contributor: Millie Rincón-Cortés, Ph.D.

Dr. Rincón-Cortés is a Research Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Department at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned a B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (2009), and a PhD from New York University (2015) prior to completing postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Anthony (Tony) Grace at the University of Pittsburgh (2020). Her current research focuses on stress-induced dysregulation of mesolimbic dopamine function in rodent models useful for the study of psychiatric disorders, with an emphasis on developmental and postpartum adversity exposure.

Hi, my name is Millie and I’m your new Editor-in-Chief! I first became involved in the IBNS through a 2019 Postdoctoral Travel Award to attend the Annual Meeting in Cairns. It was my first time presenting at IBNS and one of the best meetings I’ve ever attended due to the unique conference location, high quality and varied scientific content, and ample networking and career development opportunities due to its international membership and warm and inclusive culture. I joined the Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee later that year and served as EDI Liaison in the Membership and Communications Committee (MCC) and co-Editor-in-Chief before stepping into this new role. The IBNS Newsletter aims to promote IBNS society and member news and content, with a focus on diversity and early career researchers, and to increase IBNS membership. These aims are aligned with IBNS goals to encourage research and education in behavioral neuroscience as well as foster positive relationships with the public, scientists and organizations involved in the neurosciences.

We are interested in receiving a variety of contributions from the IBNS community. Current sections include:

  • Member News- This section reports upon and highlights significant events in the lives of members of the IBNS. This section also includes introductions of new IBNS members.
  • Significant Events and Milestones – This includes being completing your PhD, named to prestigious professorships, promotions, tenure, career transitions, etc.
  • Awards and Recognition – These include special types of recognition (best teacher, best young researcher, etc.) and funding for research activities, etc.
  • Recent Trends in Behavioral Neuroscience - These are brief summaries (100-200 words plus citation) of recent exciting research activities in behavioral neuroscience.
  • Good News - Members share positive experiences as part of their research and teaching.
  • Hobbies - Share how your hobbies help you maintain a work/life balance that can be shared with others.
  • Virtual Mentor - These have been difficult times for graduate and post-doctoral students as well as faculty beginning their careers. Any advice and suggestions from our more established members could be very helpful and much appreciated.

Contributions can be made in specific sections of as a Guest Editor across multiple sections. We are currently looking for Guest Editors for upcoming newsletters (September, November). Great opportunity for those interested in science writing and becoming more involved in the IBNS! In addition to content in the above categories, each Guest Editor is expected to provide a Profile (brief biographical sketch of 300-500 words) and a head shot photograph to highlight the Guest Editor.! Contribute directly via the link below or on the IBNS website

If you’d like to be guest editor, please reach out to me [email protected].

Back to Top

Message from the President-Elect, Dr. Jill McGaughy

Professor of Psychology
Faculty Fellow - Office of Engagement and Faculty Development
President Elect - International Behavioral Neuroscience Society
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824

Attendance at the 2021 was our highest to date, with nearly 460 participants both in person and virtually. This year’s meeting continued to provide access to top-tier science in the symposia, poster sessions, and keynote speakers. We were spoilt for choice about the many excellent sessions. As a reminder, recordings of sessions are still available for registered attendees (You can also still register): IBNS 2021 Puerto Vallarta. This year we also expanded the program to include several new events organized by the Diversity and Ethics committee described in the update from the outgoing committee chair, Debra Bangasser, in this issue of the newsletter. I look forward to continuing our collaborations with Women in Learning (WiL) and Black in Neuro (BiN) in the 2022 meeting.

While in Puerto Vallarta, I was fortunate to visit the Fundación Corazón de Niña and Casa Corazón to give them our donation of ~$1050. This organization was founded in 2012 to work directly with the at-risk youth of Puerto Vallarta. At the time of our visit, the home had approximately 90 boys and girls from ages 1-20 years of age. The staff was very warm and welcoming, and the children were very excited to meet us. We discussed their studies and told them a bit about our work. It was wonderful to spend time with founder Melissa Canez to hear about the successes and challenges she has experienced. Thank you to all who donated! Our very own Marianne Van Wagner has provided photos of our visit.

Before discussing progress on next year’s goals, I want to thank the many people responsible for the success of the 2021 meeting: our past president, Jared Young, the Program committee (Lisa Briand, Chair and Greg Carr, Co-chair), the Education and Training committee (Zackary Cope, Chair and Rachel Navarra, Co-chair), the Diversity and Ethics Committee, (Debra Bangasser, Chair, and Susan Sangha, Co-chair), Membership and Communications, (Fair Vassoler, Chair, and Lizzie Manning, Co-chair) and the Finance and Fundraising committee (Chair, Stacy Rizzo and Co-chair, Jill Silverman) who worked with Debra Bangasser and past-president Jared Young to obtain an R13 from the National Institute of Health to improve diversity in our organization and our field. IBNS is also indebted to the excellent support we received from Tara Thomas and the entire team at the Meeting Pool, who helped us navigate the hybrid meeting. Finally, I am very grateful for the ongoing support from Marianne Van Wagner, Dawn Stafford, and the entire staff of the Society Offices Association Management Company, who helped the society to navigate the many and varied challenges of planning this year’s meeting. We could not make this happen without you.

After a highly successful hybrid meeting in 2021, we are now planning for Glasgow 2022. I have been fortunate to have conversations with many new colleagues to discuss how IBNS can continue to support scientists worldwide. For the first time, we have a regional councilor representing Africa, Martin Job, who is also serving on the Membership and Communications committee. This year the Membership and Communications committee has been working to increase awareness of the field of Behavioral Neuroscience and IBNS in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central, and South America. Some of this work has begun from informal conversations with trainees and faculty members who are willing to facilitate the introduction. We welcome these opportunities. I encourage you to contact me, Lizzie, or Millie, if you know of individuals or organizations that may be interesting connecting with us.

The Education and Training committee will be working with colleagues from primarily undergraduate institutions to bridge critical gaps in the training pipeline. The aim is to gain critical insights into how best to train the next generation of scientists in research. My goal is to help our many talented trainees find their next career opportunities through IBNS, whether that pathway includes Academia or not, and to recognize the critical contributions made to science by those who train undergraduates to conduct research in behavioral neuroscience.

Looking ahead, it is clear that future meetings will still need to balance the benefits of in-person attendance with safety and accessibility. I look forward to working with all of you to optimize the experience of our 2022 hybrid meeting. The success of the 2021 IBNS meeting, the enthusiasm of our talented members, make me confident 2022 in Glasgow will be another “can’t miss” IBNS meeting.

Back to Top

Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Update and New Leadership

Debra Bangasser, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor of Psychology
Director of the Neuroscience Program in the College of Liberal Arts
Temple University
873 Weiss Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Lab website:



Dear all,

I’m cycling off the Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and handing the reins over to the very capable duo of Drs. Susan Sangha (Chair) and Janine Kwapis (Co-chair).  I wanted to thank all involved in this busy committee and recap some of our accomplishments for this year, which occurred despite difficult circumstances.  

A major achievement was the EDI page on the IBNS website, which I hope continues to be updated to provide the latest resources for our members. This page includes our mission, a list of actions IBNS is taking to promote DEI efforts, resources with opportunities for trainees, and references for antiracism/racial justice. A major feature of the page is data on the diversity represented within the IBNS. Last year, the EDI committee began collecting diversity data by first assessing gender using historical data. These gender data were collated and resulted into two important abstracts that were presented as posters at the virtual meeting last summer. Then we designed and sent out a membership survey to assess gender and many other aspects of diversity. The posters, along with the survey data, are posted on the EDI data tab. These results can guide targeted efforts in the future. As an example, focusing on improving racial/ethnic diversity and participation from countries outside the US would be good goals for the future. Moreover, we sent out an updated survey this March.  Collecting and presenting these findings is not trivial, so thanks to all involved. 

Last year, we participated in revising the Travel Awardee Evaluation Form by adding a diversity section and standardizing the evaluation procedures with a rubric. This new application process was implemented this year and helped guide the selection of the travel awardees. The diversity section was a great way to reward trainees who participate in these efforts, and it signals the Society values EDI efforts. Additionally, IBNS offered their first Early-Stage Investigator award this year, and a similar rubric was applied. We also made a rubric for the Program Committee so they can consider diversity composition of the symposium participants that was used for the first time this year. Finally, members of the Committee helped with a successful R13 application that will support more trainees to attend the meeting. These efforts help promote diversity and reduce bias at several levels of the society.  

I’m excited that the inaugural luncheon planned for 2020 was able to happen at the 2021 hybrid meeting. Founding Committee member, Dr. Tiffany Donaldson, did an amazing job leading the unconscious bias workshop and based on the feedback I received, this event was a resounding success! Thanks to all the committee members who helped at the tables. I hope the EDI continues the luncheon tradition at future meetings. Additionally, other EDI committee members facilitated satellite events. Dr. Janine Kwapis worked with the Women in Learning group, and Dr. Nii Addy worked with the Black in Neuro group to hold satellite events that were open to all (even those not attending the meeting) and were fun, informative, and well-attended. IBNS agreed to support travel/registration for a few key members of these organizations to attend the meeting. These events demonstrate IBNS’s commitment to partnering with organizations committed to improving inclusion in neuroscience and also increased networking between IBNS and other organizations. We hope these partnerships will also increase attendance for future IBNS meeting.

Finally, I’d like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to the other founding members of the EDI committee: Jared Young, Amanda Kentner, and Tiffany Donaldson (who all rotate off this year). Jared had the foresight to see the need for this committee and spearheaded getting it started. His support throughout has provided us with the resources to make change, and I am grateful for his leadership. In fact, efforts of this committee serve as a template for other societies. Mandy and Tiffany really shaped the purview of the committee and generated initial goals. Mandy, as its first Chair, got this committee off to an amazing start, paving the way for the rest of us.   

I’m so impressed with what we’ve accomplished since the foundation of EDI and with this year’s crew. Thank you all for your help in our endeavors! I look forward to seeing what this committee does next! 

Back to Top

Statement from the IBNS Early Career Award Winner

Elizabeth Manning, Ph.D.
Research Associate
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
The University of Newcastle
University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308 Australia




Dear all,

I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to the nominations and awards committee for this great honor, and to the program committee for giving the opportunity to present my research as part of this award. I’m please to update everyone who was watching that my rescue greyhound Poppy who was still settling in when I was giving my presentation (and made a small cameo) has truly made herself at home, and only occasionally interrupts my Zoom meetings now! 

IBNS has played a really important role in my career trajectory, making this award extra special. I first attended IBNS in 2013 in Malahide, and despite this being my first time attending a conference without any lab mates/supervisors, I never felt alone as there was a great crew of supportive trainees at the meeting. In 2014 I was fortunate to receive a travel award, and I left my home in Melbourne, Australia for my postdoc in Pittsburgh via the annual meeting in Las Vegas. This was a memorable transition point in my life, and it was great to wrap up my PhD by presenting again at IBNS. I had a few years away from IBNS during the early part of my postdoc, but in 2018 I submitted a symposium with Jess Nithianantharajah, which represented my first symposium as chair and presenter at an international meeting. When Stephen Kent was IBNS president in 2013-2015 I was hopeful that this might result in an Australian based meeting, and in 2019 I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel from Pittsburgh to attend the meeting in beautiful Cairns. The timing was perfect for me, as I was planning my return to Australia in 2020. I didn’t know it at the time, but one lunch time meeting at IBNS with an Australian colleague that I hadn’t met during my earlier PhD training would lead to my current position in Newcastle.

I’ve really enjoyed giving back to IBNS as part of the Membership and Communications Committee (MCC), which I’m chairing this year. My goal is to help develop new strategies to continue to support a diverse IBNS membership that reflects the behavioural neuroscience research community around the world, and to use our communication platforms to engage our membership and promote their accomplishments year-round. If you have any suggestions, please get in touch!

Back to Top 

30th Annual IBNS Conference Photos

2021 Annual Meeting Photos

 Back to Top

Thank you, but it’s not a farewell… A message from Outgoing President, Dr. Jared Young

Dear IBNS family, 

These past few years have been a turbulent time for us all, and not the easiest time to take the mantle as President of this illustrious Society.  In taking over from Dr. F. Scott Hall, I initially had high hopes for moving our Society into a new age of diversity & inclusivity initiatives, mentorship, and funding!  All was well, initiating the Ethics & Diversity Committee driving diversity and inclusivity within our Society and science in general.  We saw many new features as a result of the sterling work of this group, led by Drs. Amanda Kentner and Debra Bangasser, including a Black-In-Neuro and Women-In-Learning Satellites, and a Workshop on Implicit Biases led by Dr. Tiffany Donaldson.  This work dovetails with the R13 funding we obtained from NIMH with support from Drs. Stacey Rizzo, Jill Silverman, and Debra Bangasser, geared toward improving inclusivity within IBNS and science in general, and because of this work our travel award program has been reorganized to highlight the importance of diversity work in addition to scientific merit.  Through the turmoil of these past years, I am proud at how far we have come in such a short space of time.  There is, of course, much more to be done and I am completely confident that our new President, Dr. Jill McGaughy, with support from Drs. Susan Sangha and Janine Kwapis, our Society is in excellent hands. 

During this Covid-19 pandemic, we have also had to make hard decisions during my term of office.  Whilst I was ecstatic that my first year as President would be in my home city, Glasgow, Scotland, it was heart-wrenching when we had to cancel that 2020 meeting.  I am excited however, that we will be going to Glasgow in 2022, and I am sure that the program being put together will be as exciting as any other year.  Our experience for our 2021 30th Anniversary meeting has put us steps ahead of other Societies with experience that will ensure excellence in the 2022 meeting.  Our 2021 meeting was our first hybrid meeting, combining both in-person and online presentations, even within the same panel.  Nothing exemplified this work more than half our keynotes presenting from home, while half were in attendance.  I am proud to say though, that for the first time, every keynote speaker was female - not something explicitly sought but was great to see such excellent speakers for our 30th anniversary.  Our 2021 meeting saw our first LGBTQIA2S+ social, networking events incorporating in-person and online attendees, and poster sessions that were surprisingly interactive and well-attended.  This hybrid approach will likely be seen in Glasgow, though we do hope for a heavier in-person attendance - time will tell.  Either way, I know the new Council, committee Chairs, Co-Chairs, and Members are working hard to make sure our 2022 meeting will be the best and most inclusive meeting to-date.  Certainly, I will be there and hope to see you there too! 

Our 30th anniversary saw us returning to fund-raising for local charities and we raised $1,050 for the Corazón de Niña, a Puerto Vallarta local children’s home for girls and boys removed from their homes due to unstable living conditions.  We will continue such fundraising for a local charity in Glasgow, so please stay tuned to IBNS for all the latest updates and opportunities.

I cannot thank everyone enough that have supported IBNS these past few years – from those attending to the invaluable help from those on committees, and even people without official roles still stepping in to help make IBNS the most supportive and inclusive of societies to both trainees and their members!  It is what I have loved about IBNS, that support I felt ever since my first meeting, and I know that the IBNS family will continue to be so supportive to all.  The mentor-mentee support network begun at the start of my Presidency as an extension of this work, and I am glad it will supplement the already highly thought of meet the professionals luncheons.  Although I’ve stepped down, I will continue that support as much as I can and look forward to working with you all moving forward.  Our future is bright, because of you all! 

Thank you,





 Back to Top

Introducing the New IBNS Council Members
(reorganized representation by continent)

Africa: Martin Job

Australasia/Oceania: Jess Nithianantharajah

Asia: Yasushi Kiyokawa

North America: Erica Glasper

South America: Claudio da Cunha

Trainee Representative: Madison Clement

Congratulations to all!


Congratulations to the 2021 IBNS Awardees!

Outstanding Achievement Award: Caroline Blanchard

Early Career Achievement Award: Elizabeth Manning

Early Faculty Travel Award: Joseph McQuail


Congratulations to the new IBNS 2021 Fellows!

Dr. Debra Bangasser, Temple University

Dr Amanda Kentner, Massachussetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Dr. Farida Sohrabji, Texas A&M Health Science Center


IBNS 2021 Poster Awards

We are pleased to announce this year’s winners! 

IBNS 2021 Graduate Poster Award Winner

Romana Stark, Monash University, Australia

IBNS 2021 Graduate Poster Award Winner

Moises dos Santos Correa, Universidade Federal do ABC, Brazil

IBNS 2021 Undergraduate Poster Award Winner

Piper Rennerfeldt, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

All poster award winners will receive free registration for IBNS 2022. Congratulations!

 Back to Top

NEW!  IBNS Member Faculty Appointments and Lab Openings

The following past/current IBNS members have will be beginning tenure-track faculty positions and opening labs this upcoming Fall/Winter (2021-2022). Congratulations to all!

Holly Hunsberger (IBNS Travel Awardee 2020)- November 2021, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science 

Alexander W. Smith (IBNS Travel Awardee 2019)- December 2021, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Department of Neuroscience

Millie Rincón-Cortés (IBNS Travel Awardee 2019)- January 2022, University of Texas at Dallas

 Back to Top

Save the Date! IBNS June 7-11 2022 

We are pleased to announce that the 31st IBNS Annual Meeting will be held in Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. We hope to see you there! 


IBNS Link for Contributing to the IBNS Newsletter

We look forward to hearing from you and including your news in the IBNS Newsletter!

Back to Top



IBNS Central Office | 1123 Comanche Path, Bandera, TX 78003
[email protected] |