In The News

RuCCS Affiliate, Victoria Abraira receives a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke KO1 for 1.22 Million over 5 years

A new technological framework for uncovering the neural systems important for recovery after spinal cord injury.


Abstract: Interventions that increase plasticity and regeneration after spinal cord injury (SCI) are improving, but little is known about the neural systems that would be most effective to target such interventions. Our work both identifies the neural cell types and synaptic mechanisms that would be most effective to target such interventions and establishes an artificial intelligence (AI)-based platform for fast, reliable and unbiased quantification of motor recovery. Our experimental scrutiny at both the neural and behavioral levels establishes a critical foundation for developing a prominent research program studying the spinal cord circuits important for sensorimotor function and recovery following SCI.


Abraira Lab

An Interview with David Vicario, Dean of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences


Seeing the World Anew Through the Lens of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Rutgers

David Vicario was interviewed on how Social and Behavioral Science expanded his horizons and why students are drawn to the departments and programs within SBS.


Q: What are some of your priorities for the division?

A: I am interested in programs that will increase interaction among the departments and lead to interdisciplinary education opportunities. We have already been working to identify common themes. I would ultimately like to create an incentive structure for faculty to team teach in a way that exposes undergraduates to a rich array of perspectives on a single topic, such as inequality.

Read the interview transcription here

Elizabeth Torres, Associate Professor of Psychology, on Autism Diagnosis Test Improvements

 See the source image   See the source image   See the source image   

Read the journal by Torres, Richa Rai (Rutgers), Sejal Mistry (Rutgers), and Brenda Gupta (Montclair) here

Dr. Elizabeth Torres, associate professor of psychology in Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences, and director of The New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence had an article about her notable research on the inadequacies of autism testing featured in Rutgers Today. See the full article for more information about the inconsistencies in a broadly used autism test.

“The ADOS [Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule] test informs and steers much of the science of autism, and it has done great work thus far... however, social interactions are much too complex and fast to be captured by the naked eye, particularly when the grader is biased to look for specific signs and to expect specific behaviors.”

The researchers suggest combining clinical observations with data from wearable biosensors, such as smartwatches, smartphones and other off-the-shelf technology. Autism researchers should aim for tests that capture the accelerated rate of change of neurodevelopment to help develop treatments that slow down the aging of the nervous system.


RuCCs Post-Doc Assistant Professor Ryan Rhodes talks to Fresno State about Chukchansi language


With a limited number of native speakers left, the Chukchansi tribe partnered with the Fresno State Linguistics Department to keep their language alive. It was a partnership that started over ten years ago to save the Chukchansi Indians' native language.

No one had ever written down Chukchansi," said former Fresno State student, Ryan Rhodes. "There's a couple of stories or something, but there's no grammar, so if the last three speakers disappear, we'll never know how it worked. Something that will be around so when there's no more speakers the language doesn't disappear, so dictionary, grammar, stories, language and all that kind of stuff."

Read more about it here

RuCCs Sara Pixley received the 2019 faculty mentorship award for her contribution to the FIGS program


FIGS Breakfast Sara Pixley

 Sara and her mentee Yoni Friedman (Cog. Sci. club president) at the presentations


Dr. Sara Pixley was Cognitive Science club president Yoni Friedman's mentor and received an awarded for her contribution to the FIGS program. 

First-Year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS) were established at Rutgers University to help incoming students discover professional fields and learn more about their campus community. These one credit courses have students explore a specific topical area and take advantage of resources and opportunities and gain insight to academic success and professional development. FIGS classes are taught by Peer Instructors (juniors and seniors) who share their experiences with first-years.