Ernesto Gabriel Cabezas-Bou

Neuroscience PhD Candidate, Science Communicator & Entrepreneur

As a doctoral student in neuroscience, I strive to be a leading researcher in sensory-motor integration and run an internationally recognized research program. In this capacity, I aim to positively impact the education and research as a tenured faculty member and for my trainees. As a Science Communicator & Advocate I endeavor to make science useful and accessible to everyone by teaching through short online videos and in-person seminars in a language that any audience can relate and understand. As an entrepreneur I'm currenly working on building my own fashion brand inspired by my favorite animal, the snow leopard.

My interest in sensory-motor responses began as an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus. Under the mentorship of Dr. Manuel Díaz-Ríos , I started my graduate studies using the isolated Spinal Cord (SC) preparation to elucidate a previously unrecognized central pattern generator (CPG). By isolating thoracic segments of the SC, I discovered an autonomous rhythm, which I pharmacologically manipulated to dissect the excitatory and inhibitory components of the circuit dynamics. This work supported my successful application to the Neural Systems & Behavior summer course at Marine Biological Laboratories (MBL, Summer 2017).

During this course, I developed a project with Dr. Daniel Colón-Ramos from Yale University studying how C. elegans performed thermotaxis using calcium imaging in freely moving animals. I was awarded a Post-Course Research Award to continue these experiments at Yale with Dr. Colón-Ramos. While pursuing these research endeavors, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico damaging my home and local research facilities. My mentors, Drs. Díaz-Rios and Colón-Rámos, suggested I continue my studies at Yale and turn my current research project into my thesis project. I welcomed this opportunity to study in a thriving research environment and develop my skill set. Currently, I'm designing a novel approach that enables characterization of calcium activity, with single neuron resolution, in freely Moving C. elegans navigating a thermal gradient.

More recently I have been awarded the HHMI Gilliam Fellowship & the F-31 NRSA from the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Neuroloigical Disorders and Stroke (NIH NINDS).