News 20162015201420132011 Archive NGP student plays with RPOThursday, July 21, 2016Second year NGP student, Monique Mendes, had a unique opportunity to play alongside the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in their Side-by-Side Reading Session – a program that pairs amateur and professional musicians in a joint rehearsal and performance at Kodak Hall on July 21st. Congratulations Monique!Ryan Dawes defends thesisMonday, July 18, 2016 Ryan Dawes successfully defended his thesis, "β-Adrenergic Receptor Signaling Constrains Breast Cancer Progression and Modulates Tumor-Associated Exosome Content And Function" on July 18, 2016. Congratulations Dr. Dawes!Rebecca Lowery Defends ThesisThursday, July 7, 2016Rebecca Lowery has successfully defended her thesis, "The Role of Microglia and Fractalkine Signaling in Experience-dependent Synaptic Plasticity". Congratulate her when you see her.Congratulations Dr. Lowery!Elissa Wong receives Neuman Scolarship AwardTuesday, June 21, 2016Elissa Wong, a fifth year toxicology graduate student in Ania Majewska’s lab, received the Margaret and William F. Neuman Scholarship Award in Environmental Medicine for exemplary scholarship and citizenship. Dr. William Neuman was the chair of the Department of Radiation Biology and Biophysics for many years and helped to create the Toxicology Training Program and the Environmental Health Science Center. Dr. Margaret Neuman received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester. Later, working here, she researched the effects of uranium on bone biochemistry, and was an expert on the regulation of bone minerals.The criteria for receiving this are as follows: 1) scholarship, 2) scientific excellence, 3) productivity, and 4) exceptional citizenship to the field of toxicology.Congratulations Elissa!Elissa Wong Awarded Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship from NIAAASunday, May 1, 2016Elissa Wong, a 4th year Toxicology Graduate Program student in Dr. Ania Majewska's lab received a perfect 10 review score and was awarded an NIH (NRSA) Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the NIAAA. The title of her project is: Synaptic plasticity and microglial-synapse interactions after developmental alcohol exposure (2016-2018).Congrats Elissa!NGP Graduate Alum, Grayson Sipe, Wins Doty Thesis AwardFriday, April 29, 2016Grayson Sipe, recent doctoral graduate from the Majewska lab, received the Robert Doty prize for the 2016 outstanding dissertation in neuroscience. The Doty prize is named in the honor of longtime faculty member Robert Doty, who made great contributions to neuroscience research at the University of Rochester and nationally. It is awarded on the basis of the impact and importance of research, novelty of experimental design, independence and creativity of the student and research implications and relevance for neuroscience. Grayson’s thesis entitled “The Role of P2Y12 in non-pathological microglial functions during synaptic plasticity”, which he successfully defended on February 19th, 2016, embodied all these characteristics. Grayson has now moved to his postdoctoral position with Dr. Mriganka Sur at MIT. Dr. Peter Shrager presented Grayson the prize at the annual neuroscience retreat on Friday, April 29th. Congratulations Grayson!!!The Brain’s Gardeners: Immune Cells ‘Prune’ Connections Between NeuronsMonday, March 7, 2016 Microglia (green) with purple representing the P2Y12 receptor which the study shows is a critical regulator in the process of pruning connections between nerve cells.A new study out today in the journal Nature Communications shows that cells normally associated with protecting the brain from infection and injury also play an important role in rewiring the connections between nerve cells. While this discovery sheds new light on the mechanics of neuroplasticity, it could also help explain diseases like autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia, which may arise when this process breaks down and connections between brain cells are not formed or removed correctly.“We have long considered the reorganization of the brain’s network of connections as solely the domain of neurons,” said Ania Majewska, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and senior author of the study. “These findings show that a precisely choreographed interaction between multiple cells types is necessary to carry out the formation and destruction of connections that allow proper signaling in the brain.”The study is another example of a dramatic shift in scientists’ understanding of the role that the immune system, specifically cells called microglia, plays in maintaining brain function. Microglia have been long understood to be the sentinels of the central nervous system, patrolling the brain and spinal cord and springing into action to stamp out infections or gobble up dead cell tissue. However, scientists are now beginning to appreciate that, in addition to serving as the brain’s first line of defense, these cells also have a nurturing side, particularly as it relates to the connections between neurons.Read More: The Brain’s Gardeners: Immune Cells ‘Prune’ Connections Between NeuronsCongratulations Dr. Sipe!Wednesday, February 17, 2016Make sure you congratulate Grayson Sipe on defending his thesis. Way to go Grayson!