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:

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, HSEB Alumni Hall. Light refreshments served.

Special Presentation by Adrian Rothenfluh, PhD (May 16, 2016): Dr. Rothenfluh studies drug-induced behaviors in Drosophila to learn more about the genes, signlaing pathways, and brian circuits mediating these behaviors, with the goal of gaining insights into vertebrate addiction. 10:00-11:00 AM, BPRB 501.

Special Presentation by Justin Jordan, MD, MPH (May 26, 2016): Molecular Mechanisms of Neurofibromatosis 2. Dr. Jordan conducts translational research on the genetic underpinnings of individual tumor development in hereditary cancer syndromes, such as neurofibromatosis and schwannomatosis. Sponsored by the Department of Neurology. 3:30-4:30 PM, 383 Colorow 2nd Floor Seminar Room.

Frontiers in Psychiatry: Modulation of Neural Function (June 6, 2016): In partnership with the Department of  Psychiatry, the Neuroscience Initiative is proud to present this special symposium. This one-day special event will feature visiting speakers Drs. Thomas Schlaepfer (University Hospital Bonn), Mark George (Medical Univesrity of South Carolina), Wayne Goodman (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) and Gwenn Smith (Johns Hopkins University), as well as short talks by both visiting and local researchers. University Officer's Club, 150 South Fort Douglas Boulevard. To assist us in our preparations, we ask that you please RSVP here. Please contact Rebecca Parker at with any questions.

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 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!

Funding Opportunities:

We are delighted to announce the awardees of the 2016 Neuroscience Initiative Innovative Approaches to Neural Circuits program:

 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

The 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 program aims 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. Congratulations once again to the 2016 awardees!


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.

 Neuroscience Initiative Logo


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