Summer 2018

Taking aim at opioids

As the annual rate of overdose deaths from opioid painkillers rises, alongside deaths from other drugs, PBS researchers are finding solutions to the crisis in which so many communities find themselves.

Neuroscientists Andrea Hohmann, Ken Mackie and collaborators in their labs recently discovered a compound that, when administered with opioids used to treat chemotherapy-induced pain, prevents both tolerance and physical dependence on opioids in rodents.


ALUMNUS BESTOWS endowed chair for addictions research

“Nothing would make me happier than to see IU become an international leader in the treatment of a disease that has been so pervasively misunderstood,” explains David H. Naus (B.A. ‘77). And with his $1.5 million gift to establish the Naus Family Chair in Psychological and Brain Sciences, an endowed chair for a researcher in the field of substance use disorders and addiction, he puts such an aspiration that much more in reach.

Postdoc Life at PBS

The Postdoc Predicament

Even for the best and brightest researchers, the pressure to conduct cutting-edge research, learn new skills, and navigate the ranks of academia is no easy task. Postdoctoral trainees do all of this and more, while seeking future employment in an extremely competitive job market. It’s a situation that we’re calling the ‘Postdoc Predicament.’


Spotlight on PBS Postdocs

How many postdoctoral fellows would you guess are in our department? 10? 20? The answer may surprise you: there are currently 34 PBS postdocs.   Despite their large numbers and the important work they do to advance PBS research, the postdocs in our department sometimes seem invisible. Hired by individual labs, they interact with other members of their lab, and have few connections to the department or university as a whole. 



Sharlene Newman and team named City of Bloomington 2018 Woman of the Year

Read more about Professor Newman and catch up on all the latest news from faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University



“Stellar” science:

What evolutionary theory can tell us about alien psychology

In December, bombshell reports were released detailing the Pentagon’s use of tax-payer funds to investigate claimed UFO sightings. If you think such efforts are misplaced, consider this: Continual discoveries of habitable planets across the galaxy have rapidly increased the estimates of chances that extraterrestrial life is out there.

Twins don’t just look alike; they also look alike . . .

A recent study co-led by PBS professors Daniel Kennedy and Brian D’Onofrio, which tracked the eye movement of twins, found that genetics plays a strong role in how people attend to their environment.

Conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the study offers a new angle on the emergence of differences between individuals and the integration of genetic and environmental factors in social, emotional and cognitive development.

Blood, Sweat and Fingerprints:

PBS’s Tom Busey on the science behind crime scene investigation

We’ve all seen it on a TV crime series – fingerprints taken from a crime scene are put into a computer, instantaneously matched to a person of interest, and voila! The crime is solved. As with many aspects of TV crime drama, however, fingerprint analysis is more complicated in real life. The reason? As PBS professor Tom Busey explains, human experts, not computers, actually do much of the work.