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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.

  • December 14, 2009

    NSC Graduate Student, Cory Hussar, Publishes an Article in December 2009 Edition of Neuron

    Cory Hussar, a 5th year Neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Tania Pasternak's lab (NBA) has published an article in this month's edition of Neuron. The article, entitled Flexibility of sensory representations in prefrontal cortex depends on cell type, reports that neurons in prefrontal cortex (PFC) represent visual motion with precision comparable to cortical neurons at early stages of motion processing, and readily adapt this representation to behavioral context. Furthermore, results show that flexible sensory representation during active discrimination tasks is achieved in the PFC by a specialized neuronal network of both NS neurons readily adjusting their selectivity to behavioral context, and BS neurons capable of maintaining relatively stable sensory representation.

  • December 9, 2009

    Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho Accepted into MSTP Program

    Congratulations to Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho, both recently accepted into the MSTP (MD-PhD program) from the MD-MS Program in Medical Neurobiology. We are delighted to welcome them to a continued and augmented commitment to neuroscience research as they now pursue their PhD candidacy and thesis projects.

  • November 10, 2009

    Scientists Create a 'Golden Ear' Mouse with Great Hearing as It Ages

    What do you get when you cross a mouse with poor hearing and a mouse with even worse hearing? Ironically, a new strain of mice with golden ears - mice that have outstanding hearing as they age.

    The work by one of the world's foremost groups in age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, marks the first time that scientists have created the mouse equivalent of a person with golden ears - people who are able to retain great hearing even as they grow older. The research at the University of Rochester Medical Center was published online recently in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

    The new mouse is expected to offer clues about how these lucky folks are able to retain outstanding hearing even through old age. Researchers estimate that approximately 5 percent of people, mainly women, fall into this category. The new mice created in the laboratory of Robert Frisina, Ph.D., embody many of the same traits of human golden ears because of an astute cross of two types of mice long popular with researchers.

  • October 28, 2009

    Dr. Gary Paige has been elected President & Conference Chair of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement

    Gary D. Paige, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of Neurobiology and Anatomy, has been elected President and Conference Chair of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement. The Society serves as an international forum for scientists, physicians, educators and students bound by a common interest in the neural systems that underlie the control of movement, and in disorders of these systems. The NCM Annual Conference, held each spring, is the premier international conference dedicated to the presentation of novel research and interchange of ideas related to major issues in the field.

  • October 1, 2009

    Dr. Kerry O'Banion featured in NASA Fall Newsletter

    The son of two educators, Kerry O'Banion has always adopted a broad view in his scientific pursuits. As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, he investigated pair bonding behavior in common prairie voles, but chose Microbiology for his PhD work because of the promise of immersing himself in molecular biology. Indeed, at the same time he was learning about human pathophysiology and how to do a proper neurological examination as an MD-PhD trainee in the nascent Medical Scholars Program, also at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Kerry entertained working with Carl Woese, who had established the existence of a new kingdom of organisms (Archaea) by sequencing rRNA. Ultimately Kerry carried out his thesis work with Manfred Reichmann in Microbiology and John Sundberg in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology to characterize and clone novel animal papillomaviruses. All together, he cloned viruses from six animal species and witnessed at national and international conferences the recognition that oncogenic human papillomaviruses caused cervical and other epithelial cancers.

  • September 30, 2009

    $10.5 Million in Funding Creates Center to Study OCD

    A new research center exploring the science underlying a potential new treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder has been established at the University of Rochester Medical Center, thanks to a $10.5 million award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

    Rochester will serve as the hub of a five-year collaborative effort that includes six institutions around the nation and in Puerto Rico. The prestigious Silvio O. Conte Center will link more than 50 researchers who will focus on how deep brain stimulation affects people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a truly debilitating disease for some patients, said Rochester neuroscientist Suzanne Haber, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, who heads the center. While treatment helps most patients lead fulfilling lives, there are a few for whom today's therapies simply don't work. Our center is designed to explore the science and the effects of deep-brain stimulation, which has been effective for some other diseases involving the brain, such as Parkinson's disease.

  • September 30, 2009

    Dr. Edward Brown Receives an NIH Director's New Innovator Award

    Dr. Edward Brown has received an NIH Director's New Innovator Award to support a 5 year/$1.5M study that seeks to understand the cells and signals responsible for collagen organization in tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs). This study exploits an optical phenomenon called Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) which allows for the microscopic imaging of ordered collagen fibers within living tissue. Tumor cells can exploit these ordered fibers during metastasis, and Dr. Brown hopes to determine the cells and signals which influence the SHG+ fibers in order to disrupt their production and inhibit metastasis via the TDLN, which is a primary route. He will also explore the ability of SHG imaging of TDLN biopsies to predict metastatic ability, to aid in customization of postoperative therapy. This project continues work that has been previously funded by a D.o.D. Era of Hope Scholar Award and a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences Award, and complements a recently awarded D.o.D. Era of Hope Scholar Research Award.

  • August 28, 2009

    Dr. Edward Brown Receives a D.o.D. Breast Cancer Research Program Grant

    Dr. Edward Brown has received funding from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program to support a 5 year/$2M study that seeks to understand the cells and signals responsible for collagen organization in breast tumors. This study exploits an optical phenomenon called Second Harmonic Generation which allows for the microscopic imaging of ordered collagen fibers within breast tumor models. Breast tumor cells exploit these ordered fibers to escape the tumor mass, and Dr. Brown hopes to determine the cells and signals which influence the SHG+ fibers in order to disrupt their production and inhibit metastasis. He will also explore the ability of SHG imaging of breast tumor biopsies to predict metastatic ability, to aid in customization of postoperative therapy. This project continues work that has been previously funded by a D.o.D. Era of Hope Scholar Award and a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences Award.

  • August 19, 2009

    The annual Elizabeth Doty Lecture at the University of Rochester, Consciousness from Neurons, will be given by Randy L Buckner

    The annual Elizabeth Doty Lecture at the University of Rochester, Consciousness from Neurons, will be given by Randy L Buckner, Depts of Psychology & Neuroscience, Harvard University: The Brain's Default Network: Implications for Consciousness, Monday, 2 November 2009.

  • July 28, 2009

    Blue Dye May Hold Promise in Treating Spinal Cord Injury

    A compound strikingly similar to the common food additive that gives M&Ms and Gatorade their blue tint may offer promise for preventing the additional – and serious – secondary damage that immediately follows a traumatic injury to the spinal cord. In an article published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that the compound Brilliant Blue G (BBG) stops the cascade of molecular events that cause secondary damage to the spinal cord in the hours following a spinal cord injury, an injury known to expand the injured area in the spinal cord and permanently worsen the paralysis for patients.

    This research builds on landmark laboratory findings first reported five years ago by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In the August 2004 cover story of Nature Medicine, scientists detailed how ATP, the vital energy source that keeps our body's cells alive, quickly pours into the area surrounding a spinal cord injury shortly after it occurs, and paradoxically kills off what are otherwise healthy and uninjured cells.

    This surprising discovery marked a milestone in establishing how secondary injury occurs in spinal cord patients. It also laid out a potential way to stop secondary spinal injury, by using oxidized ATP, a compound known to block ATP's effects. Rats with damaged spinal cords who received an injection of oxidized ATP were shown to recover much of their limb function, to the point of being able to walk again, ambulating effectively if not gracefully.

  • July 24, 2009

    Dr. Julie Fudge co-authors an article in the August edition of Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

    Julie Fudge, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy and Psychiatry has co-authored an article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience with Walter Kaye and Martin Paulus. Fudge's lab studies the anatomy and neurochemistry of brain regions associated with symptoms in major psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and mood disorders.

  • June 12, 2009

    MD-MS Students Continue Their Graduate Education in the NBA PhD Program

    Congratulations to MD-MS students Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho who have each chosen to continue their graduate education and research in the NBA PhD program before returning to medical school, and have each received additional support from the Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

  • April 1, 2009

    Greg Gdowski, PhD, elected Chair of the Rochester Section of the Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology

    Greg Gdowski, Ph.D., has been elected Chair of the Rochester Section of the Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology. The Society is an organization within the framework of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) whose members maintain principal professional interest in biomedical engineering.

  • April 1, 2009

    Rigorous Visual Training Teaches the Brain to See Again After Stroke

    By doing a set of vigorous visual exercises on a computer every day for several months, patients who had gone partially blind as a result of suffering a stroke were able to regain some vision, according to scientists who published their results in the April 1st issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

    We were very surprised when we saw the results from our first patients, said Krystel Huxlin, Ph.D., the neuroscientist and associate professor who led the study of seven patients at the University of Rochester Flaum Eye Institute. This is a type of brain damage that clinicians and scientists have long believed you simply can't recover from. It's devastating, and patients are usually sent home to somehow deal with it the best they can.

  • March 23, 2009

    Astrocytes Help Separate Man from Mouse

    A type of brain cell that was long overlooked by researchers embodies one of very few ways in which the human brain differs fundamentally from that of a mouse or rat, according to researchers who published their findings as the cover story in the March 11 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

    Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that human astrocytes, cells that were long thought simply to support flashier brain cells known as neurons that send electrical signals, are bigger, faster, and much more complex than those in mice and rats.

    "There aren't many differences known between the rodent brain and the human brain, but we are finding striking differences in the astrocytes. Our astrocytes signal faster, and they're bigger and more complex. This has big implications for how our brains process information," said first author Nancy Ann Oberheim, Ph.D., a medical student who recently completed her doctoral thesis on astrocytes.

  • December 13, 2008

    Summit Promotes Engineering

    A summit at the U of R was aimed at encouraging interest among high school students and connecting college graduates to some cutting edge local jobs.

  • December 9, 2008

    Dr. Julie Fudge featured in a Washington Post report

    A report in the Washington Post cites Dr. Julie Fudge's comments that some people, thanks to their genes, are more susceptible to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than others.

  • November 1, 2008

    Ania Majewska, Ph.D. named a Kavli Fellow

    Congratulations to Ania Majewska, Ph.D. on being named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Each year the NAS conducts the Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium with some 100 of the best and brightest of young American scientists attending to hear, discuss, and debate talks across a wide range of the natural sciences. Thus, many of the country's ablest scientists--those now rising to positions of leadership in their institutions and their professions--have gone through a seminar on the value and potential of interdisciplinary research. Attendees are selected from a pool of young researchers who have made significant contributions to science.

  • September 23, 2008

    Rochester Neuroscientist Honored By Danish Academy

    Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., has been elected a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences, the premier scientific society in Denmark. The society elects only six new members worldwide every other year.

    Nedergaard has been a pioneer in brain research, demonstrating that brain cells known as astrocytes play a role in a host of human diseases. For decades, much of the attention of neuroscientists had been focused on brain cells known as neurons, which send electrical signals. Astrocytes were long considered cells whose primary function was to support the neurons.

    Nedergaard has turned that notion on its head, showing that astrocytes themselves play an important role in epilepsy, spinal cord disease, migraine headaches, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

  • August 1, 2008

    Summer students Excel in research

    The GEBS summer scholars program is designed for Undergraduate students interested in the Ph.D. degree in the Biological or Biomedical Sciences and students with a potential interest in attending graduate school at the University of Rochester. Students choose from a list of mentors and fill out an application.

  • June 1, 2008

    Chris Holt, Ph.D. Joins the University of Rochester

    The Departments of Neurobiology & Anatomy and Otolaryngology are pleased to welcome Dr. Chris Holt as a co-appointee effective June 1, 2008. Chris' research interests are in the vestibular efferent system and the synaptic pharmacology and physiology by which efferents modulate vestibular input responses to head motion and orientation.

    Having received his BS in Biology from Pembroke State University in 1991, Chris began work on his MS at Northeast Louisiana University but left in 1994 to pursue his PhD in Parmacology and Toxicology at Tulane University School of Medicine. After completing his degree in 1999, Chris moved on to a postdoctoral fellowship and Research Associate position in the Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology, and Physiology at the University of Chicago with Jay M. Goldberg, PhD. In 2005, he joined the faculty of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Texas Medical Branch as an Assistant Professor and established a close collaboration Shawn Newlands, MD, PhD.

  • May 15, 2008

    Medical School Class of 2001 selects faculty members for special commendation

    The Medical School Class of 2001 has selected two NBA faculty members for special commendation for first year teaching during the 2007 - 2008 academic year.

  • May 13, 2008

    Senior Design Team finishes 3rd

    We are delighted to extend our congratulations to the 2008 Senior Design Team, AccessAPill, for their Third Place Finish in the RERC-AMI 2007 - 2008 Senior Design Competition Accessible Pill Cap Dispensing/Cutting Device competition. The participants, John DiRaddo, Peter van Hoff, Bobby Melenovici, Boston Nyer, and Julian Oshlag are all class of '08 graduates in BME and advised by Dr. Kevin Davis of NBA and BME. The team was awarded a $500 cash prize.

  • May 9, 2008

    Nature Photographic Exhibit by Babak & Anne Razavi

    Babak Razavi is a trainee in the Medical Scientist Training Program pursuing an M.D. as well as a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. His passion with photography began at a young age when his father taught him how to take pictures using a Canon AE-1 back in Iran. Anne Razavi worked as a medical physicist at the Wilmot Cancer Center and Department of Radiation Oncology. She trained at the Charité Hospital, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. She is now a product marketing manager with Siemens Medical Solutions. Babak and Anne both enjoy capturing a variety of themes including abstracts, nature, candids, weddings, and each other.

  • April 28, 2008

    BME Undergraduate wins National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

    Graduating senior Rachel Hawe (B.S., Biomedical Engineering, 2008) has been selected to receive an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. at Northwestern University. Rachel, who is from Alexandria, Virginia, pursued neuroengineering research with Martha Gdowski in the Neurobiology & Anatomy Department during all four of her years at the University of Rochester. She also had a summer research experience at Marquette University, and plans to pursue research in Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University. When she wasn't in the research laboratory, Rachel was also very active in the Society of Women Engineers, serving as president during her junior year, and providing leadership and outreach all four years. The BME Department also awarded Rachel the BME Faculty Prize at our Annual Student / Faculty Dinner to recognize her outstanding contributions to the Biomedical Engineering Department.

  • March 18, 2008

    Stopping a Receptor Called 'Nogo' Boosts the Synapses

    Changing dendritic spines on a neuron - evidence of brain rewiring

    New findings about a protein called the nogo receptor are offering fresh ways to think about keeping the brain sharp. Scientists have found that reducing the nogo receptor in the brain results in stronger brain signaling in mice, effectively boosting signal strength between the synapses, the connections between nerve cells in the brain. The ability to enhance such connections is central to the brain's ability to rewire, a process that happens constantly as we learn and remember. The findings are in the March 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

    The work ties together several research threads that touch upon the health benefits of exercise. While those benefits are broadly recognized, how the gains accrue at a molecular level has been largely unknown. The new research gives scientists a way to produce changes in the brain that mirror those brought about by exercise, by reducing the effect of the nogo receptor.

    The find comes as a surprise, because for much of the last decade, the nogo receptor has been a prime target of researchers trying to coax nerves in the spinal cord to grow again. They named the protein after its ability to stop neurons from growing. Its action in the brain has not been a hot topic of study.

  • March 1, 2008

    Shawn D. Newlands, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS Joins the University of Rochester

    Dr. Shawn Newlands has been appointed Professor & Chair of Otolaryngology and Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy effective March, 2008. Shawn is an expert in head and neck oncologic surgery and an accomplished neuroscientist. His appointment will serve as a basic science anchor as a neuroscientist within our Community and contributes to the mutual benefit of both departments and the growth of translational research interests at Rochester. His is currently studying normal and pathologic vestibular function in primates and humans.

    Shawn comes to Rochester from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, where he served as Harry Carothers Wiess Professor and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology since 2003. Prior to joining the University of Texas in 1999, he served for three years on the faculty of the Division of Otolaryngology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

    Shawn was among the first graduates of the combined MD, PhD program at the University of Texas Medical Branch, earning a PhD in neuroscience along with his medical degree. He completed an internship in general surgery at Virginia-Mason Medical Center in Seattle, followed by a residency in otolaryngology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Shawn holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California in Santa Barbara, as well as a master's in business administration from the University of Texas in Austin.

  • December 24, 2007

    Sleep Chemical Central to Effectiveness of Deep Brain Stimulation

    A brain chemical that makes us sleepy also appears to play a central role in the success of deep brain stimulation to ease symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders. The surprising finding is outlined in a paper published online Dec. 23 in Nature Medicine.

    The work shows that adenosine, a brain chemical most widely known as the cause of drowsiness, is central to the effect of deep brain stimulation, or DBS. The technique is used to treat people affected by Parkinson's disease and who have severe tremor, and it's also being tested in people who have severe depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Patients typically are equipped with a brain pacemaker, a small implanted device that delivers carefully choreographed electrical signals to a very precise point in the patient's brain. The procedure disrupts abnormal nerve signals and alleviates symptoms, but doctors have long debated exactly how the procedure works.

    Certainly the electrical effect of the stimulation on neurons is central to the effect of deep brain stimulation, said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., Ph.D., the neuroscientist and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery who led the research team. But we also found a very important role for adenosine, which is surprising.

  • September 19, 2007

    U.S. Navy Awards Grant to Study Neural Effects of Underwater Sound to John Olschowka, Ph.D. and Diane Dalecki, Ph.D.

    John Olschowka (PI, Dept. of Neurobiology & Anatomy) and Diane Dalecki (co-I) received a two-year grant from the U.S. Navy titled Neural Effects of Underwater Sound. Underwater sound fields are used for numerous commercial and military applications, including imaging, oil exploration, mapping the ocean, and harbor surveillance. Sponsored by the U.S. Navy, Drs. Olschowka and Dalecki have embarked on a new collaborative project that will investigate the interactions of continuous and impulsive underwater sound fields with the brain and spinal cord. The Olschowka lab, in the UR Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, has long-standing expertise in examining injury to neural tissues, including trauma, using molecular, protein, and immunohistochemical techniques. Using the acoustic sources and technical expertise of the Dalecki lab, the team will investigate neural bioeffects of sound fields at frequencies ranging from 500 Hz-30 kHz. To also study the effects of acoustic impulses, the facilities and expertise available at Hydroacoustic, Inc. will be employed to generate underwater impulsive sound fields using an air gun system. Neural tissues of animals exposed to these continuous and impulsive underwater sound fields will be assessed for vascular damage, axonal injury, and glial activation. Results of this project will help to establish safe exposure guidelines for human divers and marine life exposed to underwater sound fields.

  • August 3, 2007

    Spouses Awarded Prestigious Sloan, Pew Fellowships

    This summer the University of Rochester Medical Center boasts winners of two of the most prestigious awards available to young scientists - and the winners are from the same family.

    Edward Brown, Ph.D., has been named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, and his spouse Ania Majewska, Ph.D., has received an award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Brown, one of just 20 scientists in the nation to be recognized by the Pew Charitable Trusts this year, will receive $240,000 toward his research, while Majewska will receive $45,000 to continue her work.

  • June 4, 2007

    Brain Inflammation May Be Friend, Not Foe, For Alzheimer’s Patients

  • October 11, 2006

    Cajal Club Explorer Award

    A couple of weeks ago, Gary Paige, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, was informed that Ania Majewska, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor who had recently joined the department, had won the Cajal Club Explorer Award. Receiving such a prestigious award is a cause for recognition and celebration. What make's this all the more special, however, is Ania's personal and professional story.

  • August 25, 2006

    Speedsters’ Traffic Fines Fund New Research on Spinal Cord Injury

    More than a dozen Rochester scientists seeking ways to reverse or lessen the effects of paralysis and other effects of spinal cord injury will begin new projects and continue promising research, thanks to motorists in New York State who push the gas medal a little too far.

    Three research projects at the University of Rochester Medical Center are among the programs funded this year through the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program run by the New York State Department of Health. The program, created in 1998, uses fines paid by speeding motorists to fund research into spinal cord injury, whose number-one cause nationwide is motor vehicle accidents. In Rochester this year the grants are going to Roman Giger, Ph.D.; Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., Ph.D.; and Mark Noble, Ph.D.

  • June 12, 2006

    Rochester Awarded New MS Research Center

    A new research center whose scientists are working on better ways to treat multiple sclerosis has been established in Rochester by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

    The University of Rochester Medical Center is bringing together experts who normally focus on Alzheimer's disease, HIV vaccines, and spinal cord repair, as well as multiple sclerosis, in a unique center designed to stimulate MS research by drawing on the expertise of scientists from a wide array of disciplines. The new Collaborative Multiple Sclerosis Research Center Award – the only one in the nation established by the society this year – is headed by neurologist Benjamin Segal, M.D., associate professor of Neurology and director of Neuroimmunology Research. Segal has enlisted several of his colleagues to direct their attention on new ways to investigate the disease.

    Also taking part in the project are neurologists Steven Schwid, M.D., and Andrew Goodman, M.D., who have extensive experience with clinical trials in MS; and Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., and Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., who head research centers in aging and in vaccine biology, respectively.

  • June 2, 2006

    Rochester Neuroscientist Awarded NSF Career Grant

    David Pinto, Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy and Biomedical Engineering, will receive $590,000 for his research during the next five years, as part of NSF's program to support promising scientists early in their careers.

  • May 15, 2006

    Flick of Whiskers Helps Tease Out Brain’s ‘Shadow’ Signaling System

    By blowing gentle puffs of air onto a mouse's whiskers and watching how its brain reacts, scientists are discovering that a long-overlooked signaling system in the brain is crucial to our everyday activity.

    The work is the latest in a growing body of evidence that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes aren't simply support cells but are stars of the brain in their own right, say researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center who did the study. The work will be reported in a paper in the June issue of Nature Neuroscience and is now available online.

    Now people have to take astrocytes seriously, said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and a member of the Center for Aging and Developmental Biology, whose team did the research. In the past few years she has found that the cells, long thought to simply nourish other cells and clean up their wastes, are central to diseases like epilepsy, spinal cord injury, and maybe even Alzheimer's disease.

  • February 23, 2006

    $3.5 Million Grant To Support Research on New Treatment for Severe OCD

    As part of a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers will look at whether a breakthrough therapy for Parkinson's disease can also treat the worst cases of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). A research team led out of the University of Rochester Medical Center will measure whether Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) can reduce the rampant anxiety that keeps some OCD patients homebound.

    DBS is one of the most promising areas of OCD research because early studies show that it may help many within the approximately 20 percent of OCD patients for whom neither psychological nor drug therapy works, said Suzanne Haber, Ph.D., a professor within the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Some patients have been able to venture out to work and school for the first time with DBS, said Haber, who is lead investigator for the grant.

  • January 6, 2006

    Blood Flow in Brain Takes a Twist, Affecting Views of Alzheimer’s

    New findings that long-overlooked brain cells play an important role in regulating blood flow in the brain call into question one of the basic assumptions underlying today's most sophisticated brain imaging techniques and could open a new frontier when it comes to understanding Alzheimer's disease.

    In a paper to appear in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience and now available on-line, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center demonstrate that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes play a direct role in controlling blood flow in the brain, a crucial process that allows parts of the brain to burst into activity when needed. The finding is intriguing for a disease like Alzheimer's, which has long been considered a disease of brain cells known as neurons, and certainly not astrocytes.

    For many years, astrocytes have been considered mainly as housekeeping cells that help nourish and maintain a healthy environment for neurons. But it's turning out that astrocytes may play a central role in many human diseases, said neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., Ph.D., who has produced a string of publications fingering astrocytes in diseases like epilepsy and spinal cord injury.

  • August 15, 2005

    Roots of Epilepsy May Lie in Oft-Ignored Brain Cells

    Star-shaped brain cells that are often overlooked by doctors and scientists as mere support cells appear to play a key role in the development of epilepsy, researchers say in a study published on-line August 14 in Nature Medicine. It's one of the first times scientists have produced firm evidence implicating the cells, known as astrocytes, in a common human disease.

    Scientists found that astrocytes can serve as ground zero in the brain, setting off a harmful cascade of electrical activity in the brain by sending out a brain chemical that triggers other brain cells to fire out of control.

    While it's impossible to tell at this early stage what effect the finding will have on treatment, the investigators at the University of Rochester Medical Center are hopeful the results will give doctors and pharmaceutical firms a new target in efforts to treat and prevent the disease.

    This opens up a new vista in efforts to treat epilepsy. It might be possible to treat epilepsy not by depressing or slowing brain function, as many of the current medications do, but by targeting brain cells that have been completely overlooked, says Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and a researcher in the Center for Aging and Developmental Biology, who led the research. We are hopeful that someday, this will be very beneficial to patients.

  • July 28, 2004

    Scientists Finger Surprise Culprit in Spinal Cord Injury

    ATP, the vital energy source that keeps our body's cells alive, runs amok at the site of a spinal cord injury, pouring into the area around the wound and killing the cells that normally allow us to move, scientists report in the cover story of the August issue of Nature Medicine.

    The finding that ATP is a culprit in causing the devastating damage of spinal cord injury is unexpected. Doctors have known that initial trauma to the spinal cord is exacerbated by a cascade of molecular events over the first few hours that permanently worsen the paralysis for patients. But the finding that high levels of ATP kill healthy cells in nearby regions of the spinal cord that were otherwise uninjured is surprising and marks one of the first times that high levels of ATP have been identified as a cause of injury in the body.

    While the work opens up a promising new avenue of study, the work is years away from possible application in patients, cautions Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., Ph.D., the researcher who led the study. In addition, the research offers promise mainly to people who have just suffered a spinal cord injury, not for patients whose injury is more than a day old. Just as clot-busting agents can help patients who have had a stroke or heart attack who get to an emergency room within a few hours, so a compound that could stem the damage from ATP might help patients who have had a spinal cord injury and are treated immediately.

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