Reut Gelblum: Neuroscience

Reut Gelblum

Neuroscience

B.A., September 2011, Summa cum Laude

Home College: City

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Robert Melara, Psychology, City

City College Fellowship

Ephraim and Libby Banks Memorial Scholarship

Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship

Bernard R. Ackerman Foundation Award

CCNY Department Awards – Mathematics and Spanish

Dean’s List

Reut Gelblum was born and raised in Israel, and earned several credits at Hebrew Univ. – including their law school – before coming to the U.S.

At CCNY, her plan was to major in both psychology and biology, but when she learned about CUNY BA, she realized she could create her major in Neuroscience, allowing her to pursue her next goal, a neuroscience Ph.D. “CUNY BA will render me a strong applicant for graduate school,” she said.

As a CCNY Fellow, she worked for two years with her mentor on a number of research projects and has had the opportunity to design and execute two independent, original research studies. “I am involved in research looking at the effects of social PTSD on threat processing. This study investigates the interplay between bias toward and away from threat and explores brain mechanisms which give rise to these phenomena in people suffering from PTSD. The study utilizes electrophysiology (EEG). I have been involved from the very beginning, from searching for a research paradigm, through designing the actual study. I plan to participate in running subjects, and also in the final stages of data analysis and writing.”

Her mentor, Prof. Melara, had Gelblum in his Introductory Psychology class of 700 students in which he says she immediately distinguished herself and received an A+, placing her in the top 1% of students in the course. (Her 3.94 GPA includes 11 A+ grades.) Prof. Melara adds, “Reut has gotten extensive experience in neuroscience as a lab assistant in my EEG lab on several interrelated projects involving human attention. In weekly meetings, Reut and I have discussed various research ideas and now have identified a testable hypothesis. Her input in the project formation has been substantial and completely original.” He adds, “She obviously is one of the best and brightest students that City College has educated. I have every confidence that she will succeed in her goal of earning a Ph.D.”

It has been her lifelong aspiration to become a researcher and an academic. She wants to study addiction and memory, seeking answers to: why one person may be more prone to addiction than another; what are the neurochemical differences between people’s brains before and after extensive drug use; what brain structures give rise to phenomena such as fugue; is there a structural basis to predisposition to memory loss; are there types of memory loss that can be reversible; and how is memory affected by extended drug use and can such effects be reversed.

In her last semester she took a graduate-level neuroscience seminar on memory; an independent study with Prof. Horvitz, (exploring the interaction between neurotransmitter dopamine and mechanisms of addiction); studied language in an independent study with Prof. Tartter (specifically early second language acquisition); and learned the programming tool Matlab to gain independence in all phases of research. She also presented her research at the Princeton undergraduate research symposium, and she won the Bernard R. Ackerman Foundation Award (given to one graduating undergrad psychology major and to three Clinical Psychology Ph.D. candidates who are completing their doctorates and who display exceptional ability and promise). Last, it should be noted that Gelblum did all this while raising her 18-month old daughter!

Following graduation, she was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Neuroscience in Israel at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The program is The Alice and Jack Ormut Ph.D. Program in Brain Research: Computation and Information processing, at the ICNC (Hebrew U.’s new neuroscience center).