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News and Announcements

At Auerbach Lab @ Illinois, we’ve been fortunate that the media has published a number of stories about our current research and focus areas. Check out a sample of some of the most recent press mentions and articles below.

2024 Achievements

May 24, 2024

It was a busy semester for the Auerbach Lab. On top of another successful Beckman Open House and 4 posters at this year's Undrgraduate Research Symposium, we had several major achievements by our lab members.

Laurel Hart received the C. Ladd Prosser Outstanding Achievement Award from the Molecular & Integrative Physiology for her senior thesis Auditory System Development in a Rat Model of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Auditory. She is graduated with high distinction.

Sarika Kumar was awarded highest distinction with her thesis Investigating the Role of Cochlear Synaptopathy in Hidden Hearing Loss

Walker Gauthier is a 2024 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow.

Xander Cue project on Exploring Protein Expression in the Auditory Cortex of Fragile X and TSC Rats is being funded this summer by an MCB SURF award.  

Guowei Zhang recieved a Beckman Undergraduate Fellowship this summer to look at anesthesia affects on physiological measures of hearing!

A big congratulations to everyone!

New Undergrads:
Rachel and Kyndal

April 2, 2024

We welcome to the lab, Rachel Qui and Kyndal Smolenski! Rachel and Kyndal are both aiming for the new Neuroscience major. We are excited to have both of them join the lab!

New Undergrads:
Harry and Harika

November 6, 2023

Welcome to the lab, Harry Kennedy and Harika Matukumalli! Harry is a aiming for a Neuroscience major. Harika is an MCB major. We are excited to have both of them join the lab!

The art of the Auerbach Lab's research

September 15, 2023

Scientist are people too and we have various hobbies here in the Auerbach Lab. Over the summer, Laurel Hart, created an awesome painting called We Search that got Honorable Mention in the MCB deparment's "Life Inspiring" competition. She was the only undergraduate to win, so a big congratulations to her!

This painting pays homage to the collaboration,  instruction, and controlled chaos of a research laboratory. It takes a  village to keep all of the projects at any given time moving smoothly,  and to watch the pieces gradually come together over time is extremely  rewarding. In my time in Dr.  Benjamin Auerbach’s lab, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working  alongside such a bright, inspiring team of people. The mentorship I have  received has been integral to my growth as a researcher, and I’m deeply  grateful to my advisers and colleagues for such a valuable experience. Depicted  are several projects I have contributed to, including fluorescence  microscopy and rat behavior assaying. I investigate neuron growth in  models of autism spectrum disorder, and how aberrant development  contributes to sensory processing deficits. This critical link may have  major applications in sensory oversensitivity treatment and quality of  life improvement for individuals with autism. 

- Laurel Hart's Artist Statement

New Undergrads:
Gebran and Guowei

August 21, 2023

Welcome to the lab, Gebran Hammoud and Guowei Zhang! Gebran is a sophomore with a Mathmatics major. Guowei is a psychology major with an interest in Behavioral Neuroscience. We are excited to have both of them join the lab this semeter.

Scholarship Awarded to Tirth Patel for his work in the Auerbach Lab

August 18, 2023

Tirth Patel, a junior biochem major, has been awarded a "Get Experience Scholarship" allowing him to get experiance as scientist and researcher in the lab. He joined the Auerbach lab last spring and has been assisting in our behavioral screening. Tirth is considering a career in dentistry and research.

Liz presents at the Beckman fellows poster session

July 28, 2023

At the Beckman fellowship poster session, Liz Soellner presented her poster "Auditory sensitivity and seizure susceptibility in rat models of Autism Spectrum Disorders". Her summer project as a Beckman Institute Undergraduate Fellow, which she will continue to work on aims to examine  seizure susceptibility in rat models of autism. She hopes this work will help to increase translatability of drug screening methods for ASD treatments.

New editorial out now

July 21, 2023

Dr. Ben Auerbach has a new editorial on Neural markers of sensory processing in development out now in the Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience.

New technicians: Haichao Wang & Peter Sun

July 8, 2023

Haichao Wang will be continuing his excellet work with the lab as a technician. In addition, he will also be joining the U of I Bioengineering Master's program this fall.

Peter Sun is joining us from University of California, Santa Barbara. He previously worked in Joel Rothman's lab to assay gravitaxis behavior in C. elegans.

New Summer Assitants

July 7, 2023

The Auerbach lab is excited to have several new undergraduates joining us this summer: Komal Kaur, Arjun Vaidya, Cryus Fallah, Ella Scortino, Andrew Jo and Luna Morales. Komal is staying this summer after graduating to help out in the lab. Cyrus and Andrew are MCB majors, Ella is a Psych and Behavioral neruoscience double major, while Arjun is a Physics major with an MCB minor. Ella is a high school student from Urbana High School.

We are greatful to have everyone's support.

The Outstanding undergrads of the Auerbach Lab (2023 Edition)

May 4, 2023

Big congratulations to Haicho Wang, who has been selected for the C. Ladd Prosser Outstanding Achievement Award from the Molecular & Integrative Physiology. We look forward to his senior thesis Analyzing Circuit Disruption in Rat Autism Models of FXS and TSC using ABR and Behavior. Sarika Kumar was awarded Outstanding for her poster in the Cells and Molecules section at the 2023 UGRS. Liz Soellner obtained a Campus Honors Program Summer Research Grant and an MCB SURF award for her project on seizure susceptibility in rat models of autism.  Laurel Hart got an MCB SURF award for this summer to look at plasticity during development!

While we are sad to see them go, we are excited to see what our amazing students will achieve.

  • Haichao Wang is headed to the U of I Bioengineering masters program and will continue with us as a technician

  • Zaria George is off to the University of Illinois Chicago Neuroscience Graduate Program

2023 Undergrad Research Symposium

April 26, 2023

Both Haicho Wang and Sarika Kumar presented their indepenant projects at the 2023 Undergrad Research Symposium.

Sarika presented her summer SURF and Beckman Fellowship project on Auditory Behavioral Differences in Genetically-distinct Rat Models of Autism Spectrum Disorders, while Haichao talked about his thesis work on Analyzing Auditory Circuit and Perceptual Disruptions in
Genetically-Distinct Rat Models of Autism.

Beckman Institute Open House

April 1, 2023

The Auerbach lab was excited to have our booth "Rat v. human: the ultimate hearing test" at the Beckman Institute Open House this year. While the rats beat us humans, a good time was had by all. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and learned about our research!

Read about our booth in the news:

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