Neuroscience Graduate Program - Student Profile

Torrey Truszkowski

Student Profile

Check out my website for more information:
I was featured in the 2016 Research Matters! event hosted by the graduate school:

Undergraduate Institution

University of Scranton

Research | Presentations & Posters | Publications | Accomplishments | Hobbies & Outside Interests

Research Description

As a PhD candidate in neuroscience, I am delving into the neural circuitry and synaptic properties of cells involved in sensory processing. My interests lie in neurodevelopmental disorders and the basic science of neural circuitry. In particular, I am developing a model to study multisensory processing at multiple levels of inquiry in a developing organism. The Xenopus laevis tadpole model allows me to integrate systems level hypotheses with single cell inquiry. Specifically, I am studying behavior, neural circuits and single cells in the tadpole using electrophysiology and calcium imaging.

Presentations and Posters

Truszkowski,TLS, et al (November 2016). Cellular and behavioral correlates of the principle of inverse effectiveness in multisensory integration in the developing optic tectum. Society for Neuroscience conference. Dynamic poster (90 of 15,000 posters chosen for this honor).
Truszkowski,TLS, et al (April 2016). Behavioral manifestations and intracellular correlates of multisensory integration in the developing optic tectum. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Conference: Neuronal Circuits. Poster Presentation.
Brown University In-house seminar oral presentations in October 2016, November 2015, September 2015, December 2014 and March 2014. Truszkowski, TLS. Nonlinear Dynamics of Multisensory Responses in Xenopus Laevis Tadpoles.


Truskowski TLS, James EJ, Hasan M, Wishard TJ, Liu Z, Pratt KG, Cline HT and Aizenman CD. Fragile X mental retardation protein knockdown in the developing Xenopus tadpole optic tectum results in enhanced feedforward inhibition and behavioral deficits. Neural Dev. 2016 Aug 8;11(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s13064-016-0069-7. PMID: 27503008.
Truszkowski, TLS and Aizenman, CD. Neurobiology: Setting the Set Point for Neural Homeostasis. Current Biology, 25 (Dec. 2015), pp. R1132-R1133. PMID: 26654372.
James EJ, Gu J, Ramirez CM, Truszkowski TLS, Tan Y, Oupravanh PM, Khakhalin AS, Aizenman CD. Valproate-induced neurodevelopmental deficits in Xenopus laevis tadpoles. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015 Feb 18;35(7):3218-29. PMID 25698756.
Schilit-Nitenson A, Stackpole E, Truszkowski TLS, Midroit M, Fallon J, Bath K. Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein Regulated Olfacatory Sensitivity but not Odorant Discrimination, Chemical Senses, 2015 Apr 27. pii: bjv019. PMID 25917509.


NIH Ruth L. Kirchstein Predoctoral National Research Service Award (NIH F31), Sept 2015– present. “Investigating multisensory integration properties in the developing neural network of Xenopus laevis tadpoles.”
NIH National Research Service Award Institutional Predoctoral Training Grant (NIH T32) on Neural Dynamics, Sept 2014-Aug 2015.
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program honorable mention, 2012 and 2013.

Hobbies and Outside Interests

Co-host, Nerd Nite Rhode Island (May 2016-present). Responsible for developing web content, recruiting and mentoring speakers, and general organization of events.
Departmental Graduate Student Liaison (2015-2016). Responsible for planning and execution of prospective student recruitment weekend, member of admissions committee, and primary contact and advocate for any student concerns in the department.
Graduate Student Council Executive Board Member, Nominations (2015). Responsible for placing graduate students on university committees, overseeing commencement speaker selection, and advocating for student concerns to university administration.
Cofounder, Graduate to Undergraduate Mentorship Initiative (2013-2014). Responsible for recruiting mentors and mentees, organizing mentor groups, making mentor-mentee matches, and facilitating mentor discussion groups.
Annual Retreat Planning Committee, Brown University Department of Neuroscience (2013-2014). Responsible for inviting speakers, selecting and coordinating meals, and coordinating transportation for incoming students.

Teaching and mentoring experience
• Senior Scholar, “Science Communication” April-June 2016. Responsibilities included developing course content, providing example presentations and facilitating student discussion.
• Senior Scholar, “Beyond the Hypothesis” Spring 2015. Responsibilities included grading student work, managing our online content and teaching one lecture.
• Instructor and course designer, July 2014, “The Secret Life of the Brain: From Shrimps to Humans.” Three week intensive course for high school students to introduce the seminal topics of neuroscience and introduce the students to wet labs and research science.
• Teaching Assistant, June 2014, The Marine Biological Laboratory Neurobiology summer course, assistant to Carlos Aizenman, Ph.D., in the Electrophysiology section. Responsibilities included teaching the technique of single cell electrophysiology and analysis of the data, animal husbandry, and general lab organization.
Certificates and courses
• Allen Brain Institute Summer Workshop on the Dynamic Brain, Summer 2016. Two week course on computational neuroscience methods.
• “The Art of Science Communication” American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Fall 2015. Nine week online course to develop presentation skills for lay audiences.
• Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Imaging Structure and Function in the Nervous System, July 2015.
• Brown University Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning: Certificates I (Reflective Teaching) and 4 (Teaching Consultant Program), 2013-2016.
• Numerous modules on data analysis, reading scientific publications, scientific presentations, professionalism and etiquette, and statistical analysis.

Musician (clarinet) for 15 years; member of an activist street band; 6 time Tough Mudder 10-mile Obstacle Course Challenge finisher; interests in historical farm re-enactment, origami, and 3D printing.