2010 News

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  • November 15, 2010

    Professor Laurel Carney Receives a 2010 R01 Grant

    Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology & Anatomy Professor Laurel Carney has received funding for her 2010 R01 grant entitled: Developing and Testing Models for the Auditory System with & without Hearing Loss. This study involves testing listeners with both normal hearing and hearing loss. The project focusses on the development of computational models that will assist in the testing of signal processing strategies for hearing aids.

    She also received a renewal for five years of support from the NIH-NIDCD to study Auditory Processing of Complex Sounds; this renewal extends this research program to 20 consecutive years of NIH funding. Her research has resulted in better understanding of the physiological response to sound in the healthy auditory system, and may contribute to the improvement of hearing aids for those with hearing loss.

  • November 10, 2010

    Majewska Lab Research Featured in Nature Highlights

    The Majewska Lab's current research on learning and memory has been featured in the current issue of Nature Highlights. The research details immune cells called microglia help to protect the brain after an injury. They may also be involved in pruning the connections, or synapses, between neurons — a key process in learning and memory formation.

    Using electron microscopy, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Rebecca Lowery and Ania Majewska at the University of Rochester in New York imaged mouse brain slices and reconstructed the interactions between microglia and synapses in three dimensions. Most of the microglia were directly adjacent to the synapses, and in particular to dendritic spines — neuronal structures — that were small and were often pruned away later on.

  • November 2, 2010

    How Some Brain Cells Hook Up Surprises Researchers

    Marie-Ève Tremblay, Ph.D., and Ania Majewska, Ph.D.

    Immune cells known as microglia, long thought to be activated in the brain only when fighting infection or injury, are constantly active and likely play a central role in one of the most basic, central phenomena in the brain – the creation and elimination of synapses.

    The finding, reported in the Nov. 2 issue of PloS Biology, catapults the humble microglia cell from its well-recognized duty of protecting the brain to direct involvement in creating the cellular networks at the core of brain behavior.

    When scientists talk about microglia, the talk is almost always about disease. Our work suggests that microglia may actively contribute to learning and memory in the healthy brain, which is something that no one expected, said Ania Majewska, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy who led the work.

    The group's paper, co-authored by post-doctoral associate, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Ph.D., is a remarkably detailed look at how brain cells interact with each other and react to their environment swiftly, reaching out constantly to form new links or abolish connections.

  • September 3, 2010

    Associate Professors in NBA Receive Teaching Awards

    Associate Professors, in the department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, Martha Gdowski and Barbara Davis have both received awards for excellence in teaching. Dr. Davis received a Commendation for First Year Teaching from the class of 2013 and Dr. Gdowski received The Manuel D. Goldman Prize for Excellence in First Year Teaching. This prize was established in 1981 in memory of Manuel D. Goldman and is awarded each year by the first year class to recognize a member of the faculty for excellence in first year teaching.

  • August 11, 2010

    Jacqueline Williams, Major Lab Collaborator, Awarded $15M to Expand Bioterrorism Research

    The University of Rochester Medical Center has received $15 million in federal bioterrorism funding that allows investigators to build on several discoveries made during the past five years to improve the ability to treat radiation injuries, especially from an act of terrorism.

    URMC was awarded an initial grant of $21 million in 2005 to become part of a national research network, Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation. The centers were charged with researching how best to respond to a dirty bomb or other radiological or nuclear attack.

    A second, $15 million, five-year award, received this month from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, will allow URMC researchers to focus on testing known drugs and experimental agents and their ability to ward off systemic radiation injury that affects the lungs, brain, skin and bone marrow.

  • June 30, 2010

    Scientists Rate University a Best Place To Work

    The University has been ranked one of the top 15 institutions in the nation for scientists to work, according to The Scientist magazine, which has published its annual survey of Best Places to Work for Scientists in Academia.

  • June 17, 2010

    Photons and Neurons: 27th CVS Symposium

    Earlier this month, the Center for Visual Science (CVS) held its 27th symposium. The theme of this year's symposium was Photons and Neurons and it brought together scientists who develop and use optical imaging methods from all over the world.

    Optical imaging promises to revolutionize neuroscience by offering minimally-invasive, direct recording of neural activity at single cell resolution in the intact working brain. Optical imaging of neural activity, however, has yet to deliver the ultimate prize of recording the activity of many individual neurons in real time throughout the depth of a brain structure such as the cerebral cortex. Achieving such a goal will require the coordinated effort of experts from disparate backgrounds, including neuroscientists, optical engineers, biochemists and molecular biologists.

    The symposium brought together this diverse group of scientists and provided a platform for discussion of the latest developments in optical imaging of neuronal function. Discussions were long and lively and allowed the exchange of ideas, identification of pressing neurobiological questions, discussion of current limitations, and developing of ideas for possible solutions. The symposium was supported by the National Eye Institute (R13EY020691) and the Center for Visual Science, and was co-organized by David Williams, Ania Majewska and Tony Movshon (NYU).

  • June 11, 2010

    Youngsun Cho is Awarded NRSA Individual Training Grant

    Youngsun Cho, a first year MSTP student in the Fudge Lab was recently awarded a Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F30) for three years of training. Youngsun's proposed studies involve examining circuitry that may underlie modulation of approach behavior in anxious adolescents. She will first detail connections between specific regions of the prefrontal cortex the amygdala in animals, based on her work in Rochester. This data will then be used to design studies investigating functional connectivities between these regions in anxious adolescents. The latter studies are being conducted in partnership with Dr. Monique Ernst at the NIMH intramural program.

  • June 3, 2010

    Anne Luebke, Ph.D. and Loisa Bennetto, Ph.D. Awarded Collaborative Pilot Grant

    Anne Luebke, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Neurobiology & Anatomy and Biomedical Engineeering, and Loisa Bennetto, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Clinical and Social Psychology, have been awarded a collaborative pilot grant to study whether physiological-based biomarkers of cochlear efferent strength will be impaired in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) population.

    The specific aim of the project is to determine efferent feedback strength in children and adolescents with ASD when compared with typical controls (age, gender, and IQ matched). The project will build on existing measures of MOC strength using two different otoacoustic emission-based tests with short and sustained binaural broadband suppression to obtain maximal efferent feedback strength in both ears of all participants.

  • May 30, 2010

    Acupuncture’s Molecular Effects Pinned Down

    Scientists have taken another important step toward understanding just how sticking needles into the body can ease pain.

    In a paper published online May 30 in Nature Neuroscience, a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center identifies the molecule adenosine as a central player in parlaying some of the effects of acupuncture in the body. Building on that knowledge, scientists were able to triple the beneficial effects of acupuncture in mice by adding a medication approved to treat leukemia in people.

    The new findings add to the scientific heft underlying acupuncture, said neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., who led the research. Her team is presenting the work this week at a scientific meeting, Purines 2010, in Barcelona, Spain.

  • May 12, 2010

    URMC Named Batten Disease Center of Excellence by BDSRA

    Lance Johnston, Executive Director of the BDSRA, awarding Dr. Jonathan Mink with the Batten Disease Center of Execellence plaque.

    The largest Batten Disease research and support organization in North America named the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) as a Batten Disease Center of Excellence today. The Ohio-based organization, Batten Disease Support and Research Association, has chosen URMC because of its comprehensive services for patients and its long clinical and research history with the disease.

    Batten Disease is a rare neurodegenerative syndrome that erupts with little warning. It first steals sight, then cripples cognitive and motor capacities, and while different variations of the disease brings a difference age of onset and progression, it is, ultimately, terminal. The most common form is juvenile, in which symptoms begin between 5 and 8 years of age. There are between 500 and 1,000 people with Batten Disease in the United States and only a few thousand in the world.

    Finding treatment with a comprehensive team that has experience with the disease is incredibly hard for families, said Jonathan Mink, M.D., Ph.D., chief of Child Neurology and professor of Neurology, Neurobiology & Anatomy and Pediatrics at URMC. The Batten Disease Support and Research Association is hoping to streamline families’ search for expertise by endorsing centers like ours.

  • April 1, 2010

    MD/PhD student Youngsun Cho leaves to begin "mini-sabbatical" training at NIMH

    Youngsun Cho, an MD/PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Fudge, leaves to begin "mini-sabbatical" training in functional MRI and studies in anxious adolescents at with colleagues at NIMH. Youngsun is interested in structural and functional brain connections that influence reward and punishment anticipation in adolescents, and she will take anatomical studies from the laboratory to the next phase of her training with Dr. Monique Ernst in the Section on Mood and Anxiety Disorders at NIMH.

  • March 31, 2010

    NBA Students Win First Prize at 8th Annual Collier Mental Health Poster Session

    Michele Saul (NBA graduate student) and Dan Tylee (undergraduate assistant) each won first prize honors at the 8th Annual Collier Mental Health Poster Session, sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry. Michele presented new work on the effects of stress on amygdala development in adolescent animals. Dan's showed that a coping behavior during stress ameliorates subsequent anxiety behavior in adult animals.

  • March 24, 2010

    Undergraduate Neuroscience Student Awarded a deKiewiet Fellowship

    We are delighted to announce that Kathryn Cooper, an undergraduate Neuroscience student at UR, has been awarded a deKiewiet Fellowship to support a research project with NBA faculty members Bill O'Neill and Gary Paige. Katie began her work in the Paige/O'Neill lab through the University's GEBS Summer Scholars Program in 2009. She continues to work on important aspects of a novel phenomenon discovered in this lab by which changes in eye position shift auditory spatial perception in the same direction as eye movement over time.

    The Undergraduate Program in Biology and Medicine (UPBM) invites students in their junior year to submit competitive applications for deKiewiet Fellowships. Awardees receive a $4000 stipend to work for ten weeks during the summer in the lab of their research mentors. They present their research in the UPBM Poster Session in October.

  • March 5, 2010

    New NIH Training Grant for Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation Research

    The University of Rochester has recently been awarded a Training Grant (T32) from the NIH National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders entitled Training in Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation. This Training Grant involves the collaborative efforts of the Departments of Otolaryngology, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurobiology & Anatomy. The Grant will support PhD students, MD-PhD students, Post-doctoral fellows and Medical Residents in BME, Neuroscience, and Otolaryngology who are involved in research related to the auditory and vestibular systems. This Training Grant is an important resource for the University of Rochester's Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, which provides technical and administrative support for 25 faculty members who are conducting research in this area. The 5-year grant will provide approximately $1.5 million dollars of support for several trainees each year. In association with the Training Grant, a new graduate-level course entitled Hearing and Balance: Structure, Function and Disease will be offered starting in Fall 2010. This new Training Grant is an exciting advance for the strong and growing community of auditory and vestibular researchers at the University of Rochester.

  • February 27, 2010

    Dr. Robert Doty Honored at 2010 NBA Winter Party

    The 2010 Neurobiology & Anatomy Winter Party was a truly special event celebrating the 90th birthday of Professor Robert W. Doty, PhD. On hand to honor Dr. Doty were University President Joel Seligman, Dean of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Mark Taubman, MD, and Provost, Ralph Kuncl. The celebration included remarks and anecdotes by department chair, Dr. Gary Paige and President Seligman, as well as a rousing speech from the guest of honor. President Seligman was especially impressed by an autobiographical SFN publication (internal only) that Dr. Doty had written. The department of Neurobiology & Anatomy would like to thank Dr. Doty for his many contributions over the years and wish him a very happy 90th birthday!

  • February 5, 2010

    MD/PhD Student Danielle deCampo Wins URMC CTSI Travel Award

    Danielle deCampo, an MD/PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Fudge, has won a URMC CTSI Travel Award. Danielle will now be able to pursue training opportunities in performing laser capture microscopy and microarray analysis with collaborators at University of Pittsburgh. This is an opportunity to add to her "technical toolbox" as she tries to characterize specific neuronal populations that may play a role in mood disorders.

  • February 1, 2010

    Dr. Patricia M. White Joins NBA Faculty

    It is a pleasure to welcome Patricia M. White, PhD to our faculty as Assistant Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy and Otolaryngology. Her work fits solidly within a key research initiative in Neurobiology and Anatomy that we refer to as sensory-motor neuromedicine. Pat carries an important new area to the University in sensory regeneration of the inner ear, or hair-cell regeneration. This promising area of translational research targets cultured stem/progenitor cells to restore hearing through implantation into damaged cochlea and/or vestibule, or alternatively, exploits existing supporting cells to reenter the cell cycle, effectively become progenitors once again, and ultimately restore sensory structure and function.

  • January 27, 2010

    Jacqueline Williams, Major Lab Collaborator, Chairs National Space Biomedical Research Institute Science Committee

    Jacqueline Williams, Ph.D., was named chair of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute's Scientific Advisory Committee for its Center of Acute Radiation Research. Williams is grant director and core leader of the Center for Biophysical Assessment and Risk Management Following Irradiation at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    NSBRI is a NASA-funded consortium of institutions studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing countermeasures to mitigate the risks. The CARR, which is headed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, is responsible for studying the acute effects of exposure to space radiation during exploration missions. The Scientific Advisory Committee provides advice on the Center's productivity and effectiveness.

  • January 22, 2010

    Dr. John Hansen Receives Presidential Diversity Award

    Dr. John Hansen accepts his award from Dr. Vivian Lewis and President Joel Seligman.

    The University of Rochester Presidential Diversity Awards were created in 2009 by President Joel Seligman to recognize faculty, staff, students, units, departments or teams that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion through recruitment and retention efforts, teaching, research, multi-cultural programming, cultural competency, community outreach activities, or other initiatives. Among the first recipients was Dr. John Hansen, professor and associate chair of Neurobiology & Anatomy and associate dean for admissions at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Hansen, was honored for his more than 20 years of dedicated efforts to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation of medical school candidates from diverse backgrounds. He also has been honored nationally for his teaching and has received the Gold Medal Award of the medical school's Alumni Association.

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