University of Utah 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. This Gateway, hosted by the Neuroscience Initiative, is a portal to discovering more about the U of U’s neuroscience expertise.
Launched in Fall 2014, the 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:
Special Presentation by Matthew Blurton-Jones, PhD (July 7, 2016): Examining the role of adaptive immunity in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. Dr. Blurton-Jones is Assistant Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior at UC Irvine, Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. His work focuses on the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Please join us for this special event, hosted by Dr. Tom Lane. BPRB Rm. 501, 11:00 AM-Noon.
Upcoming Partner Events:
Now Available Online! Academic Neurotrauma Event: A Day with the Neurotrauma Masters: Talks from March 9th's tremendous Academic Neurotrauma Event, including visiting speakers and local luminaries, can now be accessed online at http://medicine.utah.edu/ncc-launch/. Special thanks to the Department of Neurosurgery for spearheading this symposium.
Now Available Online! Frontiers in Precision Medicine: Exploring Science and Policy Boundaries: For those who missed this fantastic 2-day event on Dec. 3-4, video is now available here. Mark your calendars! December 1-2, 2016 will be the second annual event!
We are delighted to announce the awardees of the 2016 Neuroscience Initiative Innovative Approaches to Neural Circuits and Collaborative Pilot Project programs! These programs aim to catalyze collaboration across campus, stimulate innovation, and move us towards our vision: better understanding the brain in disease and health, and transforming that knowledge into innovative solutions for patient care.
Innovative Approaches to Neural Circuits
The Innovative Approaches to Neural Circuits program has a specific emphasis on the manipulation of cells, synapses and neural circuits through innovative neural engineering technologies, techniques (including neuromodulation), and computational approaches. The three projects listed below, representing 7 departments/institutes across University of Utah campus, were selected for up to $50,000 of funding each:
Alessandra Angelucci (Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences), Valero Pascucci (SCI): Towards the Non-Human Primate Connectome: Computational Approaches and Software Development
Christopher Butson (Bioengineering/SCI), Lauren Schrock (Neurology), Jeffrey Anderson (Radiology): Differentiating Neural Circuits Modulated During Therapeutic vs. Ineffective Deep Brain Stimulation
Matt Wachowiak (Neurobiology & Anatomy), Adam Douglass (Neurobiology & Anatomy), Massood Tabib-Azar (Electrical & Computer Engineering): Genetically-Encoded Magnetic Reporters for Recording Neural Activity
2016 Collaborative Pilot Projects
The eight projects listed below, representing 14 departments from 4 schools & colleges across University of Utah campus, were selected for up to $50,000 of funding each:
Deborah Bilder (Psychiatry), Erin Clark (Obstetrics & Gynecology): Prenatal Mechanisms and Biomarkers for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Wendy Chapman (Biomedical Informatics), Lisa Cannon-Albright (Internal Medicine), Jennifer Majersik (Neurology): Powerful Predisposition Gene Identification for Ischemic Stroke
Elisabeth Conradt (Psychology), Erin Clark (Obstetrics & Gynecology), Trafton Drew (Psychology): Identifying Infant Neurophysiological Signatures Linked with Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Anxiety
Summer Gibson (Neurology), Lynn Jorde (Human Genetics), Joshua Bonkowsky (Pediatrics): Rapid ALS Candidate Gene Validation Study
Eric Schmidt (Medicinal Chemistry), Michael McIntosh (Psychiatry), Danny Chou (Biochemistry): Therapeutic intervention in addiction by targeting the alpha6 nicotinic receptor
Alexander Shcheglovitov (Neurobiology & Anatomy), Robert Bollo (Neurosurgery), Jay Spampanato (Neurosurgery): Patient-specific "mini brains" as a new model system for pediatric epilepsy research
Stefan Pulst (Neurology), Alan Dorval (Bioengineering): Developing deep brain stimulation of the dentate nucleus for the treatment of degenerative cerebellar ataxias
Jun Yang (Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences), Christopher Hill (Biochemistry), David Belnap (Electron Microscopy Core Director): Understanding usherin, the major protein associated with inherited deaf-blindness
Awardees from both programs, as well as renewal awardees from the 2015 cycle, will present at an interdisciplinary symposium to be held next summer. Stay tuned for details!
Don't forget to check CompetitionSpace for the most up-to-date information on internal opportunities, foundation awards, and limited submissions!
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.
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.
Utah Parkinson Disease Registry (UPDR.org) 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
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