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Nuria Vendrell-Llopis, Ph.D., recently received a pilot grant at the NeuroGateways 2024 Symposium to fund her study on “Optical Control of Neuromodulators for Neural Circuit Reinforcement.”

The grant, worth $10,000, was one of two awarded at the symposium by the Consortium of Neuroengineering and Brain-Computer Interfaces (CNBCI), a pilot University-Wide Interdisciplinary Research Center at UAB.

Vendrell-Llopis is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The goal of her project is to identfy the role of different dopamine receptors in reinforcing cortical circuits in vivo. “I will use an all-optical closed-loop neural interface that reads from and writes to a neural circuit,” Vendrell-Llopis said. “This neural interface will leverage an assay that infers a causal relationship between neuronal activity and behavior with spatially and temporally precise photo-activation of dopamine receptors.”

Vendrell-Llopis was one of several School of Engineering faculty members at the symposium. Arie Nakhmani, Ph.D., and Rachel Smith, Ph.D., from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Jamie Tyler, Ph.D., from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, also had multiple abstracts presented at the symposium, which was held at UAB on April 11 and 12.

For more information about Vendrell-Llopis’s research, visit the Vendrell-Llopis Lab website.