Seminars & Events

Neuroscience Gateway

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:

Seminar by Gustavo Turecki, PhD (February 26, 2016):  Dr. Gustavo Turecki, internationally known for his work in genetics and epigenetics of suicide and depression, will be visiting the University of Utah and presenting "Revisiting suicide risk: Experience, developmnt, and psychopathology". This special seminar is hosted by Dr. Hilary Coon, Department of Psychiatry and sponsored by the Mood & Behavior Disorders pillar of the Neuroscience Initiative. 10:00-11:00 AM, University Neuropsychiatric Institute auditorium.

Connectivity Social at Cosyne (February 26, 2016): Join the Neural Connectivity steering committee of the Neuroscience Initiative and the attendees of Cosyne 2016 for a casual mingling session of connectivity, computational and systems neuroscientists over refreshments and neuro-related art. 5:30-7:30 PM, Downtown Marriott, 75 S West Temple, Deer Valley Meeting Room. 

Visit by Moran Furman (March 2, 2016): Moran Furman, PhD, editor at Neuron, will present a special seminar on Publishing in Neuron. Hosted by Dr. Villu Maricq, Department of Biology. 12:00-1:30 PM, BPRB 501. Light refreshments served.

Brain Awareness Week 2016 (March 14-19, 2016): Organized by Neuroscience Program graduate student Patrick Parker, the 2016 iteration of Brain Awareness Week will reach K-12 students and the general public across the Wasatch Front. To request a visit for your local school, please use our online form. We are also soliciting volunteers! More details will be forthcoming as the date approaches; please contact with any questions.

Alumni visit by Drs. Jill and Stefan Leutgeb (April 4-5, 2016): Drs. Jill and Stefan Leutgeb, Associate Professors of Neurobiology at University of California San Diego and alumni of the University of Utah, will be visiting the U on April 4-5 and presenting on their exciting work:

Dr. Stefan Leutgeb will present Monday, April 4 from 4:00-5:00 PM in the EIHG Auditorium.

Dr. Jill Leutgeb will present Tuesday, April 5 from 12:00-1:00 PM in the SMBB Auditorium (Room 2650).

Neuroscience Initiative Spring Symposium (May 6, 2016): Join the awardees of the 2015 Neuroscience Initiative Collaborative Pilot Project seed grant program and Neuroscience Initiative leadership to learn about the results of their exciting projects. 2:00-5:00 PM, location TBD. More details forthcoming!

SAVE THE DATE: Neuromodulation Symposium (June 6, 2016): In partnership with the Department of  Psychiatry, the Neuroscience Initiative is proud to present this special symposium. Featuring both luminaries and rising stars in neuromodulation research. University Officer's Club, 150 South Fort Douglas Boulevard. More details forthcoming!

Upcoming Partner Events:

Utah Rare Disease Day (February 27, 2016): Sponsored in part by the University of Utah, this free event is designed to raise awareness about rare and undiagnosed diseases. Speakers include families of those with rare, undiagnosed diseases, as well as researchers from the University of Utah and more. A family-friendly education room will share messages of health, safety, and the importance of research. To learn more and register, visit

Academic Neurotrauma Event: A Day with the Neurotrauma Masters (March 9, 2016): This free, all-day event will celebate the new Academic Neurotrauma Program at University of Utah Health Care. Featured speakers include Sir Graham Teasdale, MD, Michael Fehlings, MD, PhD, Ross Bullock, MD, PhD, and Andres Rubiano, MD as well as local experts Brittany Coats, PhD, David Kriazj, PhD, and KC Brennan, MD. Hosted by Dr. Gregory Hawryluk, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery. 7AM-5:15 PM, Rice-Eccles Stadium 6th Floor. To learn more and register, visit

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!

Funding Opportunities:

Don't forget to check CompetitionSpace for the most up-to-date information on internal opportunities, foundation awards, and limited submissions!

Neuroscience Initiative Innovative Approaches to Neural Circuits. The initiative seeks to fund a limited number of projects focused on the study and manipulation of cells, synapses, and neural circuits through innovative neural engineering tehcnologies, techniques (including neuromodulation), and computational approaches. Please see the RFP for more information and contact with questions. Submission will open February 1 on CompetitionSpace. Applications are due February 19, 2016.  

2016 Neuroscience Initiative Collaborative Pilot Projects. The initiative is pleased to announce its 2016 Request for Proposals for Collaborative Pilot Projects in the neurosciences! Please see the RFP and this Frequently Asked Questions for more information or contact Submission will open March 4 on CompetitionSpace. Applications are due April 1, 2016.

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.

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.

L'Oreal for Women in Science Program. Five $60,000 fellowships are available for female postdocs in STEM fields. Learn more at the L'Oreal website.

Community-Based Research Grants. $10,000-$20,000 is available 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)

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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