Seminars & Events

Neurosciences Gateway

The University of Utah’s top-rated physicians and researchers are at the forefront of neuroscience: pioneering treatments in health care, breaking ground in imaging techniques, designing new solutions for brain and spinal cord repair, and more. The Neurosciences Gateway is a portal to discovering more about the U of U’s neuroscience expertise, distributed among many departments, centers, and institutes.

Launched in Fall, 2014, the Neuroscience Initiative unites the academic, translational, and clinical neuroscience communities toward the common goals of better understanding the brain in disease and in health. Learn more.


Upcoming Neuroscience Initiative Events:

Dr. Benjamin Segal, MD (September 14, 11AM-noon): Targeting the Innate Immune System for the Treatment of Relapsing and Progressive Forms of Multiple Sclerosis. BPRB 501. For more information, see this flyer.

Allen Brain Institute Workshop @ Snowbird (October 31, 2015): Do you use, or would you like to use, the Allen Brain Atlases? In order to make our workshop as relevant as possible, we are seeking your input. Please email a sample or two of a question or problem you might be interested in addressing with the Allen Brain Atlases. Find out more about the atlases at

Upcoming Partner Events:

Rand Allingham, MD (August 25, 2015, 11:00 AM):  The Progressive Optic Neuropathy Called Glaucoma: The role of genes, proteins and pressure. HSEB 2600.

Christine Baca, MD (Sept. 2, 9:00-10:00 AM): Neurology Grand Rounds. Dr. Baca will be sharing her work on epilepsy. CNC 1st Floor Auditorium.

Meet the new Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience Graduate Students (Sept. 17, 5:00-8:00 PM): Stop by to meet this year's incoming class. Jewish Community Center, 2 North Medical Drive.

Funding Opportunities:

Faculty Research Awards Calendar. Never miss another neuroscience research award opportunity! Download the handy Faculty Awards calendar, released by the Office of the Vice President for Research, here.

The Utah Biomedical Image and Data Analysis and Visualization Center (BIDAC): The BIDAC provides limited funding to 2-4 projects annually to cover pilot project expenses necessary for applying for new federal grants. Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, 2015. For more details, see the BIDAC website.

Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists. This award provides $250,000 for young scientiests in Life Sciences, Physical Science & Engineering, or Chemistry. The internal submission deadline is August 17; more details at

University of Utah Seed Grant Program. Up to $35,000 is available through the VP for Research Office to suport preliminary research designed to lead to future extramural funding. The next deadline for submission is August 20. See more details here.

Faculty Research & Creative Grants. Up to $6,000 is available through the VP for Research Office to support scholarly and creative projects in areas where other funding may not be available. The next deadline for submssion is August 20. See more details here.

Instrumentation Funding for Individuals and Cores. Awards typically $30,000 - $100,000 are available through the VP for Research Office to support new, replacement, or upgraded research instruments. The next deadline for submission is September 15. See more details here.

Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Awards. $10,000 awards are given in recognition of lifelong accomplishments of faculty who have made significant scholarly contributions to their field. Nominations are due October 15. See more details here.

Faculty Fellow Awards. These awards provide $7,500 to departments in order to buy release time for faculty to pursue research and creative projects. Applications are due October 16. More details are available here.

Engine Funding Program. Awards typically around $30,000 are avaialble to provide faculty inventors with business guidance and assistance moving discoveries towards commercialization. Opportunities to submit open approximately every two months. Find more details here.

Community-Based Research Grants. $10,000-$20,000 is avaialble through the VP for Research Office to fund collaborative research mutually beneficial to the University and a community partner. The next submission deadline is February 15. See more details here.

Travel Grants. $1,000 awards are available on a rolling basis for faculty to meet with DOD or DARPA program managers. Apply through the VP for Research Office.

Congratulations to the Neuroscience Initiative Collaborative Pilot Project Awardees! The Neuroscience Initiative Scientific Advisory Board is delighted to announce the awardees of the 2015 Neuroscience Initiative Collaborative Pilot Project Grant program, which aims to catalyze collaborations, stimulate innovation, and move us towards our vision of better understanding the brain in disease and health. The six projects below, representing 12 departments from 4 schools and colleges, were selected for up to $50,000 in funding each. Our next Request for Proposals will be released in 2016 - we strongly encourage neuroscience faculty at the University to apply.

2015 Awardees:

Development of TRPV4 Channel Antagonists To Treat Glaucoma 
(Principal Investigators: Dr. David Krizaj - Ophthalmology; Dr. Christopher Reilly - Pharmacology & Toxicology,  Dr. Ryan Looper - Chemistry)
Identifying Modifiers of Anticipation in Myotonic Dystrophy Type-1
 (Principal Investigators: Dr. Nicholas Johnson - Neurology; Dr. Robert Weiss - Human Genetics; Dr. Russell Butterfield - Neurology) 
Discovering Roles of Mitochondrial Movement and Distribution in Glia
 (Principal Investigators: Dr. Janet Shaw - Biochemistry; Dr. Karen Wilcox - Pharmacology & Toxicology)
Tracking Arc by Super-Resolution Microscopy in Living Synapses 
(Principal Investigators: Dr. Erik Jorgensen - Biology; Dr. Jason Shepherd - Neurobiology & Anatomy) 
Examination of Neurobehavioral and Neurophysiological Mechanisms Underlying Habitual Short Sleep Duration 
(Principal Investigators: Dr. Paula Williams - Psychology; Dr. Jeff Anderson - Radiology; Dr. Chris Jones - Neurology)
Understanding the Genetic and Neurobiological Basis of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder  
(Principal Investigators: Dr. Jeff Anderson - Radiology; Dr. Melissa Lopez-Larson - Psychiatry; Dr. Mark Yandell - Human Genetics; Dr. Alex Shcheglovitov - Neurobiology & Anatomy)



Utah Parkinson Disease Registry A Window Into Disease’s Causes

The Utah Parkinson Disease Registry ( was launched in May in an effort to understand an apparent rise in PD by 30 percent over the last ten years in Utah, and to uncover causes of the disease. Effective March 12, 2015, the Utah State Board of Health requires that health care providers report cases of PD and related movement disorders. Because Utah has one of the highest rates of PD in the nation, it is uniquely poised to contribute toward a new understanding of the disease. UPDR is the first registry of its kind in the nation. READ MORE


Genetic Tug-Of-War In The Brain Influences Behavior

Not every mom and dad agree on how their offspring should behave. But in genetics as in life, parenting is about knowing when your voice needs to be heard, and the best ways of doing so. Typically, compromise reigns, and one copy of each gene is inherited from each parent so that the two contribute equally to the traits who make us who we are. Occasionally, a mechanism called genomic imprinting, first described 30 years ago, allows just one parent to be heard by completely silencing the other.

Now, researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine report on a version of genetic parental control in mice that is more targeted, and subtle than canonical imprinting. Published in Cell Reports, so-called noncanonical imprinting is particularly prevalent in the brain, and skews the genetic message in subpopulations of cells so that mom, or dad, has a stronger say. The mechanism can influence offspring behavior, and because it is observed more frequently than classic imprinting, appears to be preferred.

“The field has traditionally thought of genetics at the level of the whole animal, and sometimes the tissue. We’re documenting it at the cellular level,” says senior author Christopher Gregg, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy. “Genetics is much more complicated than we thought. READ MORE