December 13, 2008
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
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
seminaron 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
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 RochesterThe 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
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
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
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 RochesterDr. 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
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
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
October 11, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.