Neuroscience Fellow Recognized by American Epilepsy Foundation
Moritz Armbruster was among 15 new fellows who received support from the American Epilepsy Society. The fellowship recipients come from academic institutions and medical schools throughout the US and include clinicians and basic scientists who are focused on many different components of epilepsy treatment and research. The winners were selected from a competitive pool of applicants and they will receive funding for one year. Armbruster is training with Chris Dulla.
Neuroscience Postdoc Receives Funding
Haruki Higashimori, PhD has received renewed funding from the Autism Science Foundation for his research on "The Role of Astrocytic Glutamate Transporter GLT1 in Fragile X Syndrome". This grant is designed to help Dr. Higashimori expand funded research in exciting an new directions.
Learn more about this award
Neuroscience Welcomes Two New Faculty Members
Dr Thomas Biederer, formerly of Yale University, was recently hired by the Tufts Department of Neuroscience and will arrive in December of this year to assume a position as Associate Professor of Neuroscience. Dr Biederer completed his PhD at the Humboldt University of Berlin and then performed postdoctoral research with Dr Thomas Südhof at UT Southwestern Medical Center before taking a faculty position at Yale. His research interests are focused on roles of SynCAMs and orther synapse-organizing molecules in synapse development and plasticity.
Dr Dong Kong was recently hired by the Tufts Department of Neuroscience and will arrive in January 2014 to assume a position as Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. Dr. Kong completed his PhD at Nanjing University in China and comes to us from Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he worked as Instructor in Medicine. His research focuses on using multidisciplinary approaches, including mouse genetic tools, electrophysiology, optogenetic/pharmogeneticmethods, and 2-photon laser scanning microscopy, to understand the neurocircuits in the hypothalamus controlling metabolism.
Yongjie Yang & Haruki Higashimori Receive Grant from the Fraxa Foundation
In collaboration with the Autism Science Foundation, the Fraxa Foundation has funded a proposal entitled "Role of Astrocytic glutamate transporter GLT1 in Fragile X Mental Retardation". The investigators will test if it is the loss of FMRP in knock-out mice that leads to the loss of GLT1 and whether restorating GLT1 activity in the FX knock-out astrocytes will decrease neuronal hyperexcitability and restore normal cortical dendritic morphology. Astrocytic glutamate transporter regulation could present a new target for the restoration of normal brain development in Fragile X and autism patients and drive forth the discovery of novel treatments.
Iyer and Yang Receive NIH Grant for Study of Development of an Astroglia Maturation Gene Database
Tufts Neuroscience faculty member Lax Iyer and Yongjie Yang will use this award to generate a database resource of gene expression changes during astroglia maturation, by sequencing astrocyte translating mRNAs isolated from mouse cortex at different developmental stages in vivo. Further, the differential expression of transcripts and the extent of alternative transcripts of genes during the postnatal astrocyte development will be determined. In the secondary analysis, the gene expression changes at each time point of the development will also be analyzed to determine the enrichment of gene ontology categories, biochemical pathways and top enriched gene interaction sub- networks. The results of RNA-seq and secondary analysis will be compiled together with public annotations and integrated with other available expression data on astrocytes and made available to the neuroscience community via the web. It will be available for data mining that will facilitate functional studies of astrocytes and provide targets for clinial intervention in neurological disorders.
Tufts Collaborates Seed Grant Stimulates Neuroscience Research
This joint project, spearheaded by Lax Iyer of Neuroscience and Jimmy Crott from the HNRCA, will seed a collaboration between the Computational Biology Initiative (CBI) and the Jean Mayer-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts Cancer cluster to use metabolomics and RNseq studies to probe host-microbiome interactions altering mRNA and metabolomic profiles in colonic carcinogenesis.
Hines and Haydon Research Highlighted
A recent press release highlights research conducted by Dustin Hines, a postdoctoral fellow in the Haydon lab. Hines documented a new role for glia in stroke.
Read the press release
Dulla, Jacob and Yee Receive CURE Epilepsy Foundation Funding
Chris Dulla, Michele Jacob and Amy Yee have received funding from the CURE Epilepsy Foundation for a new collaborative project. Their project will determine if the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) conditional knockout mouse is a new model of infantile spasms (IS), a catastrophic childhood epilepsy syndrome. Their research goal is to define the functional and molecular framework associated with IS and to use this framework to test existing and novel therapeutic approaches for effective intervention.
Center for Neuroscience Research P30 Grant Renewed
The Center for Neuroscience Research just received official notification that their P30 center grant will be renewed for an additional 4 years. The Tufts Center is one of only five to be funded in this cycle. This grant supports imaging, genomics, electrophysiology and rodent behavioral testing cores based within the Department of Neuroscience. Since inception, the cores have been utilized by hundreds of Tufts investigators.
Information about the CNR
Davies and Moss Receive New R01
Paul Davies, Research Assistant Professor and Stephen Moss, Professor in the Tufts Department of Neuroscience recently received an R01 for a project entitled “Novel actions of neurosteroids on GABA(A) receptor trafficking”. Tonic inhibition determines the excitability of neurons and the activity of neuronal circuits through the activity of specialized populations of extrasynaptic gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptors (GABA(A)Rs). Neurosteroids are endogenous regulators of GABA(A)Rs and fluctuations in the levels of neurosteroids are known to regulate the expression of GABA(A)R subtypes that mediate tonic inhibition. The proposed research describes a novel mechanism by which neurosteroids regulate tonic inhibition and will act as a first step in the development of new and better interventions for people with neuropsychiatric disorders that include anxiety, epilepsy, depression, premenstrual syndrome and schizophrenia.
Yongjie Yang and Rob Jackson awarded R01
Yongjie Yang, Assistant Professor and Rob Jackson, Professor in the Tufts Department of Neuroscience were awarded a large NIH R01 grant to study astrocyte heterogeneity and developmental maturation in mouse and fly models. This $3M grant awarded from NIMH will employ integrated molecular and genetic approaches in Drosophila and mouse to define factors that distinguish astrocyte subtypes and regulate their developmental maturation. Knowledge of astrocyte heterogeneity and new tools for studying it are critical for understanding how astrocytes become dysfunctional and how distinct classes of astrocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders.
A Functional Network of Glial Cells in the Mouse Brain is Needed for Reinstatement of Cocaine Seeking Behavior
Tufts Neuroscience collaborative research suggests that glia may play a major regulatory role in synaptic plasticity and thus influence the behavioral responses to drugs of abuse. The finding that an intact glia network is necessary for reinstatement of drug-seeking behaviors in rodents points to gliotransmission as a promising new target for developing interventions designed to prevent relapse among individuals addicted to cocaine and, likely, other drugs.
Gizem Donmez awarded Charlton Research Grant
Gizem Donmez, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, was awarded a Charlton Research Grant for her project entitled "The role of sirtuins in alpha-synuclein aggregation model of Parkinson's Disease". The aim of the Charlton Research Grant is to provide research support to allow faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine to develop research tools and collect preliminary data that will lead to extramural funding from public or private sources.
Tufts Collaborates Grant Awarded to Lax Iyer and Colleagues
A grant from the Tufts Collaborates Program. "Tufts Computational Biology Intiative" has been awarded to Lax Iyer, Research Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and his collaborators, Gavin Schnitzler, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Peter Castaldi, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Gordon Huggins, Associate Professor of Medicine.
Gizem Donmez named New Scholar in Aging by the Ellison Medical Foundation
Gizem Donmez, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and a member of the Neuroscience and Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics graduate programs has received a New Scholar in Aging award from the Ellison Medical Foundation. Her work, entitled "Investigating the Heat Shock Response in Aging Mammalian Brain", focuses on molecular mechanisms by which the heat shock response influences aging. A brief synopsis is given below.
Aging is associated with a decrease in the ability of cells to cope with environmental challenges. The decline in the capacity to respond stress is a major factor in the process of aging and senescence. This has been shown for various forms of stress such as heat shock, hypoxia and oxidative insult. Heat shock response is delayed and reduced in aging organisms. Heat shock response induces the expression of heat shock proteins, composed of chaperones and proteases. The attenuation of the heat shock response during aging may be responsible for the accumulation of damaged proteins as well as abnormal regulation of cell death. In this study, we aim to investigate the mechanism behind the attenuation of heat shock response during aging.
CNR Awards Pilot Grants
The CNR is pleased to fund two collaborative neuroscience research projects through its annual Pilot Grant Program. Gizem Donmez, PhD and Emmanuel Pothos, PhD received funds for their project entitled “The role of SIRT2 in Parkinson’s Disease.” Maribel Rios, PhD and Beverly Rubin, PhD received a Pilot Award for their project, “The role of hypothalamic brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in BPA-induced obesity.”
Learn more about the CNR Pilot Grant Program
Chris Dulla receives NIH R01 grant to study the role of astrocytes in epilepsy
Chris Dulla, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, recently received R01 funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke to investigate the role of astrocytes in epilepsy-associated developmental cortical malformations. The project entitled “Impact of Astrocytic Glutamate Transport on Epilepsy Associated with Developmental Cortical Malformations” will combine cutting edge imaging, electrophysiological, and genetic approaches to determine whether developmental changes in astrocytes result in long term changes in cortical function. The Dulla Lab hopes that these studies will impact both our understanding of how neonatal brain insults lead to epilepsy and provide novel therapeutic tools to reduce seizures in the malformed brain.
Rob Jackson receives a new NIH R21 award to study glia-neuron interactions
Rob Jackson, Professor of Neuroscience, just received an R21 grant entitled "Genetic analysis of glia-to-neuron signaling" to study glial signaling in the regulation of locomotor activity.
Rob Jackson and Yongjie Yang receive Tufts Russo Award
This collaborative project, entitled "Regulation of astrocyte heterogeneity and developmental maturation in the CNS", will analyze the mechanisms that result in the development of heterogeneous astrocyte populations.
Haruki Higashimori Receives Autism Science Foundation Fellowship
Haruki Higashimori, a postdoc in the Yang Lab, received a co-funded fellowship from the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) and the Fragile X Association (FRAXA) Research Foundation for a project entitled “Role of Astrocytic Glutamate Transporter GLT1 in Fragile X”.
Yongjie Yang Wins Funding from the Packard Center for ALS Research
Yongjie Yang, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, received a grant from the Packard Center for ALS Research for a project entitled “Role of Astrocyte Exocytosis in the Pathogenesis of ALS”.
Jamie Maguire Featured in Tufts Now
Jamie Maguire, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and her group's research related to control of stress is featured in the most recent issue of Tufts Now.
Read the article.
Phil Haydon Recipient of Madison Friends of CURE Innovator Award
Phil Haydon, Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and Chair of Neuroscience, is this year’s recipient of the Madison Friends of CURE Innovator Award for studies of the role of astrocytes in the development of seizure disorders. The long term goal is to develop glial based therapies that prevent epilepsy. This grant is in support of the exploration of a highly innovative new concept or untested theory that addresses an important problem relevant to epilepsy.
Learn more about CURE.
Tufts Neuroscience Department Proud Supporter of 2012 Boston Brain Bee
The Tufts University Neuroscience Department is a proud supporter of the 2012 Boston Brain Bee, being held Saturday, February 4th at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. Since 2005, local high school students have gathered for this live question-and-answer contest, competing for prizes including the chance to win a trip to the National Brain Bee. The Boston Brain Bee encourages youth interest in neuroscience and science research, and promotes science literacy throughout the community.
Learn more at the Brain Bee.
Questions & Volunteer Info
New Grants Awarded to Moss Lab
Research in the Moss lab has recently been recognized by a 2012 CURE Innovator Grant by the Cure Foundation. The group also has been awarded a contract by Sage Therapeutics.