News from Conte Center @ UCI

Conte Center Team To Be Honored with ICTS Team Science Award

April 22, 2018

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science has named Conte Center @ UCI as recipient of its 2018 Robert Newcomb Interdisciplinary Team Science Award. The award was created to “highlight and honor individuals who have played a formative role in bringing together teams of researchers from diverse, trans-, multi-, and interdisciplinary backgrounds in studies and projects that have advanced biomedical and clinical research” according to the center’s website. The award will be presented at The 10th Annual ICTS Awards Dinner “People Who Make A Difference in Human Health”. The event and dinner are Friday, May 4, 2018. Tickets are available.

Conte Center Director to receive American Academy of Neurology’s highest award

April 15, 2018

Dr. Tallie Z. Baram will receive the prestigious 2018 Cotzias Award during the American Academy of Neurology‘s 70th annual meeting, April 21-27, in Los Angeles. Established in 1978, the Cotzias Lecture and Award are named for George C. Cotzias, MD, who together with colleagues developed L-Dopa treatment, the most commonly used intervention for Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Baram will deliver the lecture, “How Early-Life Experiences Sculpt Your Brain,” at the meeting’s Presidential Plenary Session on Sunday, April 22. Her groundbreaking research examines how such experiences, specifically stress or seizures, influence the function of brain cells, essentially by re-programming them. This influences how they assemble into precise brain circuits, which affects development and also vulnerability or resilience to mental illness.

Read the full article at UC Irvine Health News.

New Conte Center Publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

August 10, 2017

Memory function of children seem to be worse if maternal care patterns were unpredictable. In adolescent rats, receiving fragmented and unpredictable maternal care early in life directly worsened memory.

Using both observations of human children and direct manipulation of maternal care in rodents enabled Conte Center investigators led by Profs. Elysia Davis and Tallie Z. Baram to conclude that brain development is sensitive to patterns of maternal-derived signals. Specifically, unpredictable and fragmented patterns of maternal signals may not permit optimal development of brain machinery that underlies cognitive functions.

These findings are highly important in today’s world where maternal interactions with her child might be disrupted and fragmented by numerous distractions.

Impaired ability to experience pleasure (anhedonia) can be reversed in adults!

September 7, 2017

Impaired ability to experience pleasure (anhedonia) resulting from fragmented/unpredictable early-life experiences can be reversed in adults! A paper by postdoctoral researcher Jessica Bolton and the UCI Conte Center team in the prominent journal Biological Psychiatry shows

Megan Curran receives 2017 Graduate Student Award

July 24, 2017

Conte Center MD/PhD graduate student Megan Curran receives the 2017 Renée Harwick Advanced Graduate Student Award sponsored by the UCI Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. The Renée Harwick Advanced Graduate Student Award is funded by an endowed gift by Dr. Renée Harwick to recognize a graduate student who shows outstanding scientific promise and to support the completion of the student’s Ph.D. thesis.

2016 Neurobiology of Stress Workshop

July, 2016

The 2016 Neurobiology of Stress Workshop, sponsored in part by the Conte Center @ UCI, was held in sunny Southern California, had close to 200 participants and was a great success. The next workshop is bound for Banff/Calgary, Canada in June 2018. To learn more about the 2018 Workshop, contact co-organizers Matthew Hill or Jaideep Bains. To be added to the workshop distribution list, please send an email to

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