Neuroscience News

Maguire Research Paves the Way for Postpartum Depression Drug

Tufts neuroscientist Jamie Maguire did the basic research that led to development of a new drug for postpartum depression. The developer of the new drug had built on a discovery Maguire made almost a decade ago, when she was a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA, about specific receptors in the brain that seemed to be implicated in postpartum depression.

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Reijemrs lab finds underlying neurological mechanism for mediating fear response

Leon Reijmers, an assistant professor of neuroscience, and his colleagues at Tufts School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, have published findings in the journal Nature Neuroscience demonstrating that a particular type of BLA nerve cell, the PV interneuron, plays a key role in suppressing the neurons that store fear memories after fear extinction learning has occurred.

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Haydon Lab Investigates the Role of Astroglial Metabolic Networks in the Sleep-Wake Cycle

Research led by Dr. Philip Haydon and former postdoc Jerome Clasadonte sheds light on the role of astroglial metabolic networks in the sleep-wake cycle. Their findings, published in the latest issue of Neuron, demonstrate that perturbation of astroglial networks impairs the sleep-wake cycle.

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Haydon Lab Discovers New Signaling Pathway - Published in Neuron

Members of Phil Haydon’s lab have discovered a new signaling pathway that directly connects two major receptors in the brain associated with learning and memory, which has significance for current efforts to develop drugs to treat schizophrenia. This study, published in Neuron, “offers a new functional framework for treating schizophrenia and opens fresh avenues for therapeutics and innovations in glial biology.”

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Tesco Lab Research Featured on AlzForum

Dr. Giuseppina Tesco's and postdoc Selene Lomoio's research on BACE1 trafficking and Alzheimer's Disease was highlighted in AlzForum held this October. The article followed the 2nd Kloster Seeon Meeting on BACE Proteases in Health and Disease, held in Germany in September, where Dr. Tesco was among the invited speakers.

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Sage Therapeutics and Tufts scientists publish pre-clinical results demonstrating a novel metabotropic mechanism to enhance effects of neuroactive steroids.

The research described in the release below was directed by Drs. Stephen Moss and Paul Davies with participation from Manasa Parakala, a Sackler PhD student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

From the Sage Announcement - Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines to treat life-altering central nervous system (CNS) disorders, today announced the publication of pre-clinical data demonstrating new findings related to its GABA product candidate portfolio in the journal Neuropharmacology. The paper, titled “Endogenous and synthetic neuroactive steroids evoke sustained increases in the efficacy of GABAergic inhibition via a protein kinase C-dependent mechanism” (Modgil et al. books) documents a novel mechanism of action that enables certain neuroactive steroids to have sustained effects on extrasynaptic GABAA receptors, in particular by increasing the number of extrasynaptic receptors on the membrane surface by means of receptor trafficking.

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Dong Kong's Research Findings on ‘Hunger Neurons’ Published in Neuron

The July 2016 Tufts Now issue highlights Dong Kong's latest research findings that "hunger neurons in the brain are regulated by protein activated during fasting”. This study was published in Neuron and also highlighted in the latest Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

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Maribel Rios Honored with Zucker Research Prize

Congratulations to Maribel Rios, PhD, this year's recipient of the Milton O and Natalie V Zucker Prize. The prize is presented annually to a woman scientist on the TUSM faculty for outstanding research.

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Tesco Book Published

Congratulations to Giuseppina Tesco, MD, PhD, co-editor of the recently published book Genes, Environment and Alzheimer's Disease, 1st Edition. As stated in the foreward, "This book is the first to summarize the most advanced information based on state-of-the-art experimental and epidemiological evidence concerning the interplay of genes and environment in the development of Alzheimer’s disease."

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Chris Dulla Receives Pilot Award from TUSM Initiative for Strategic Research Collaborations

Chris Dulla, PhD was one of six award recipients for his pilot project on “Targeting cell death and neuroinflammation after neonatal injury to reduce epilepsy," awarded through the TUSM Initiative for Strategic Research Collaboration. He will be collaborating with Alexei Degterev, PhD a Neuroscience program faculty member from DMCB, for this project which begins on July 1, 2016. The initiative seeks to fund pilot projects that will develop interdepartmental collaborations and lead to fundable NIH grant submissions.

Haydon Research Featured in Tufts Now

Work by Phil Haydon, Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and Chair of Neuroscience at TUSM is featured in the current issue of Tufts Now. The article highlights Haydon's research on glial cells and his focus on interactions between glia and neuronal cells as it relates to neurological disorders, especially Alzheimer's Disease.

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Maribel Rios Receives ADA Innovative Basic Science Research Award

Maribel Rios was awarded a 3-year Innovative Basic Science Research Award from the American Diabetes Association to study pathological mechanisms in the brain leading to glucose intolerance and diabetes. Her project is titled "The role of alpha2/delta-1 in the regulation of glucose homeostasis".

Thomas Biederer Receives 2016 Scientific Innovation Award from the Brain Research Foundation

Thomas Biederer has been honored with an award from the Brain Research Foundation for work focused on mapping and restoring synaptic connectivity in brain disorders.

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Giuseppina Tesco Receives Cure Alzheimer's Fund Grant

Giuseppina Tesco has recently received a grant from the Cure Alzheimer's Fund to study the role of investigating GGA3 mutations in Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Biederer Lab Study Published in Neuron Highlighted

Work lead by Karen Perez de Arce, PhD, a Neuroscience research associate in the lab of Thomas Biederer, has been published in Neuron. The study, entitled "Topographic Mapping of the Synaptic Cleft into Adhesive Nanodomains" could shed light on autism.

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Tufts Faculty Invited to Speak at ASN Annual Meeting

Several Neuroscience Faculty have been invited to speak at the American Society for Neurochemistry Annual Meeting which will take place in Denver, Colorado in March 2016. Dr. Chris Dulla will present on “Astrocyte-Neuron Networks Regulate Glutamate to Influence Basal Ganglia Output Pathway” during the Pre-Meeting Workshop on March 19th. Neuroscience Chair Dr. Phil Haydon will present on “Glia Targets for Cognitive Enhancement and the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease,” and Dr. Rob Jackson’s presentation will focus on “Glial Cell Regulation of Rhythmic Behavior.”

Yang Lab Research Featured in Spectrum Newsletter

October 2015  The latest research from Dr. Yongjie Yang’s lab was featured in Spectrum newsletter, highlighting "the important role of astrocytes in what has long been considered a neuronal disorder" according to postdoc Dr. Haruki Higashimori. Dr. Higashimori presented their corresponding poster, “Genetic fix for star-shaped cells eases fragile X in mice,” at this year’s Society for Neuroscience conference.

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Neuroscience Program Students Place Second in Charlton Poster Competition

October 2015  The annual Tufts Charlton Poster Competition provides students with the opportunity to sharpen their presentation skills and exchange ideas with other scientists on the Tufts Health Sciences Campus. This year’s competition yielded two winners from the Neuroscience Graduate Program: Jennifer Shih from Dr. Chris Dulla’s lab took home the 2nd place prize in the Senior Division (Years 4 and above), while Danish Saleh from Dr. Alexei Degterev’s lab received a 2nd place finish in the Junior Division (Years 1-3).

Postdoc Antonella Pirone Accepted to 2015 AES Fellows Program

October 2015  Dr. Antonella Pirone, postdoc in Dr. Michele Jacob’s lab, was accepted to participate in the Fellows Program at the 2015 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, which will be held in Philadelphia in December.

Rob Jackson Chairs Session for CSHL Drosophila Neurobiology Meeting

October 2015  Dr. Rob Jackson was an Invited Speaker and also Session Chair for the “Glial Biology” session at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Drosophila Neurobiology Meeting in October 2015.

Jaclyn Dunphy Awarded F31

September 2015   Jacyln Dunphy, a Neuroscience program student studying in the laboratory of Philip Haydon, was awarded an NRSA F31 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Her proposal is entited "Spatio Temporal Inactivation of Gliotransmission

Hippocampus Publishes Maguire Lab Student’s Research

July 2015  Andrew Hooper, a graduate student in Dr. Jamie Maguire’s lab, recently published a paper in Hippocampus entitled “Characterization of a novel subtype of hippocampal interneurons that express corticotropin-releasing hormone.”

Julie Hewitt Coleman Awarded F31

April 2015  Neuroscience graduate student Julie Coleman, a 5th year in Dr. Jim Schwob’s lab, was awarded an F31 grant for project entitled “Spatial regulation of olfactory receptor expression and neuronal identity during olfactory neurogenesis.” Her proposal aims to understand when and how spatial cues influence neuronal cell fate decisions in the olfactory epithelium, with the ultimate goal of informing the development of safe transplantation therapies for the over 200,000 people each year seeking anosmia treatment.

Neuroscience Research Recognized during Autism Speaks Awareness Weekend in Basketball

March 2015  Several Neuroscience Department members will be recognized at the Tufts University basketball game on February 7th in support of the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism program during the second annual Autism Speaks Awareness Weekend in basketball.

The program was created by Tufts alumnus and former assistant coach for the Jumbos, Pat Skerry, who now coaches the Towson University men's basketball team, along with Tom Herrion of Marshall University. In partnership with Autism Speaks, the program aims to raise awareness about autism by drawing basketball teams across the country to take part in this awareness-building event.

Tufts will join basketball teams nationwide in bringing awareness to autism and promoting fundraising for autism research at TUSM. Neuroscience members who are researching the underlying causes and mechanisms of autism will be introduced at halftime during the game.

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Jackson Lab Research Presented at 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference

March 2015  Dr. Amy Yu of the Jackson Lab and a member of the Tufts TEACRS Program presented her work on translational profiling of Drosophila adipose tissue at the Annual Drosophila Research Conference, sponsored by the Genetics Society of America, in Chicago in March 2015.

Epilepsy Foundation Awards Two Recipients from Maguire Lab

February 2015  Dr. Sudhir Sivakumaran, a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Jamie Maguire’s lab, received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Epilepsy Foundation for his research on “Role of chloride plasticity in seizure progression and pharmacoresistance”. Graduate student Andrew Hooper also received a predoctoral fellowship from the Epilepsy Foundation for his study of “The Role of Hippocampal CRH Neurons in Stress and Seizure Susceptibility.” Sudhir and Andrew were two of just 14 recipients of the AES’s early-career awards, which are selected “for their novel approaches to epilepsy care and research innovations that can help lead to new therapies and increase the understanding of epilepsy.”

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Autism Consortium Highlights Tufts Neuroscience Autism Research

February 2015  Led by Dr. Phil Haydon, the Neuroscience department includes a collaborative team of faculty who investigate the causes and mechanisms of autism. The Autism Consortium’s latest news features the current research studies of the team, which includes Drs. Thomas Biederer, Chris Dulla, Michele Jacob, Yongjie Yang and Jamie Maguire.

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Yang Research Highlighted

Research shows mice missing FMR1 gene show cognitive and behavioral deficits similar to those seen in autism. Yongjie Yang and his team are assessing social and cognitive function in the mice using various behavioral tests, including the water maze, which measures learning and memory.

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