08-09 Archives

Miho Terunuma named National American Heart Association Senior Scientist Award recipient

Miho Terunuma, a research associate in the Moss lab, has recently been received a National American Heart Association Senior Scientist Award. Dr Terunuma will examine the link between glutamate receptor activation and the regulation of AMPK-dependent phosphorylation of GABAB receptors. Her work has the potential to make contributions to the development of novel therapeutics to enhance neuronal survival after ischemic injury.

Henry Hing Cheong Lee named Founder's Affiliate American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient

Henry Lee, a postdoctoral fellow in the Moss lab, has been named as the recipient of a Founder's Affiliate American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. In his project, Dr Lee will attempt to determine if modified KCC2 membrane trafficking underlies compromised neuronal inhibition after ischemia. By performing these studies, he hopes to provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms that regulate the functional expression of KCC2 and by doing so facilitate the development of novel therapeutic strategies to enhance neuronal inhibition after ischemia to limit neuronal cell death.

Jamie Maguire to join the Department of Neuroscience

We're pleased to announce that Jamie Maguire, PhD, will join the faculty of the Department of Neuroscience in January 2010 as an Assistant Professor. Jamie received her BS in Neuroscience and BA in The History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh followed by her PhD in Neuroscience from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at The George Washington University. She continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Istvan Mody at the University of California - Los Angeles.

Jamie’s research will build on her background investigating how synapses, and thereby synaptic transmission, become altered to render the brain susceptible to neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Specifically, the goal of her research is to understand the interplay between steroid hormones, synaptic transmission, and neuronal excitability in health and disease. Stress is a trigger for many neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, ranging from epilepsy to postpartum depression. The goal of Jamie’s research is to understand the role of the stress response (ie hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation) in the pathophysiology of these disorders. Using a variety of approaches from electrophysiology to behavior paradigms, Jamie plans to investigate the regulation of the HPA axis under normal and pathological conditions. Jamie’s previous research studying steroid hormones, ion channel function, and synaptic plasticity make her uniquely qualified to investigate the interplay between the neuroendocrine system and neuronal excitability in neuro-psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and epilepsy, as well as the comorbidity of the two disorders.

Quidong Deng NARSAD Young Investigator Award Recipient

Qiudong Deng, a postdoctoral associate in the Haydon lab, was recently named a NARSAD 2009 Young Investigator Award Recipient. Dr Deng’s project will focus on understanding astrocytes and how to regulate the density and function of NMDA receptors; given that abnormal NMDA receptor signaling is involved in schizophrenia, astrocytes may offer an alternative non-neuronal therapeutic target for this disorder.

Learn more about NARSAD Young Investigator Awards.  info

Michelle Tangredi Named 2009 DeLill Nasser Award Recipient

Michelle Tangredi, a student in Rob Jackson's laboratory was recently named one of six recipients of the 2009 DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics. This award helped Michelle defray the costs of travel to the 50th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago.

For more information about the DeLill Nasser Awards  info 

Epigenetics Study Led by Larry Feig Generates Interational Press

A recent study funded by the NIH and led by Larry Feig, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and a member of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience has shown that female mice that were genetically-altered to have an inherent memory-deficiency caused by depressed LTP overcame these deficiencies if they were exposed to a stimulating environment when they were young. What’s more remarkable is that these mice passed these effects of environmental exposure on to their mutant offspring who retained it up until adolescence, even if the offspring were not exposed to a stimulating environment.

If a similar phenomenon occurs in humans, the effectiveness of one’s memory during adolescence, particularly in those with defective cell signaling mechanisms that control memory, can be influenced by environmental stimulation experienced by one’s mother during her youth.

Read the Nature News article. news
Read the Tufts Journal story. news  

Astrocytes and Sleep Disorders

[From an NINDS Press Release  news] Brain cells called astrocytes help to cause the urge to sleep that comes with prolonged wakefulness, according to a study in mice, funded by the National Institutes of Health. These findings are the result of a collaboration among Michael Halassa, MD, and Philip Haydon, PhD, at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and Marcos Frank, PhD, and Ted Abel, PhD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Taken together, the results hint at the possibility of new drugs that could increase or decrease sleep pressure as necessary. The best available sleep aids tend to be effective at inducing sleep, but not effective at keeping it steady throughout the night. Meanwhile, the most commonly used stimulant, caffeine, acts on multiple types of adenosine receptors, and can affect sleep patterns even when it is consumed in the morning. Drugs that target astrocytes or the A1 receptors on neurons might be more effective at fine-tuning the urge to sleep, the study authors say.

Read the Neuron Preview. news
Read the Financial Times article. news
Read the LiveScience.com story. news

    Elizabeth Storer awarded NRSA Pre-doctoral Fellowship

    Neuroscience Student Liz Storer in Michele Jacob's lab was recently awarded an NRSA pre-doctoral fellowship for her project, "Regulation of alpha9/10-nAChR and SK2 function and localization at auditory synapses". Alpha9/10-nAChRs and SK2 channels function in the inner ear to modulate hearing sensitivity. The goal of this project is to identify proteins that interact with alpha9/10-nAChRs and SK2 to regulate their functional properties and synaptic localization.

    Newly Renovated Shared Research Facilities in the Department of Neuroscience

    The Tufts/NEMC Imaging Facility (TNIF) and the Tufts Expression Array Core (TEAC) have moved into newly renovated spaces on the second floor of the Stearns Building on the Health Sciences Campus. Both shared research facilities are components of the Center for Neuroscience Research

    Learn more about the CNR. Research

    A New CNR Funding Mechanism: the CNR Core Award

    The new CNR Core Award is designed to encourage neuroscience investigators to utilize core services of the center. The program offers small awards to individual neuroscientists or groups of neuroscientists wishing to collect preliminary data for a new grant application. Applications use a format similar to the one employed for the annual CNR Pilot Awards; however, awards for the core program are limited to $3000 and the funds must be spent within CNR core facilities or in the Tufts Molecular Facility within a six-month period of time. Applications must indicate how the award will facilitate the collection of preliminary data for a new grant application. Interested neuroscientists may submit an application at any time, which will be reviewed by the CNR operations committee in an expedited manner.

    Learn more about filing an application.  info