February 13, 2015
At upper left, a healthy astrocyte — a supportive brain cell — is shown in blue between green sheaths of myelin, which are produced by oligodendrocytes, the tentacled objects also seen in green.In individuals suffering from Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, JC viruses (red particles) first infect the astrocyte (upper right) and mutate, eventually causing the astrocyte to explode (bottom image). The viruses then infect the oligodendrocytes.
When University researchers Steven Goldman and Maiken Nedergaard created a mouse model whose brains consisted of both animal neurons and human glia cells, their study initially focused on findings that the human cells essentially made the mice smarter.
However, they also created a powerful new platform for researchers to study human glial cells in experimental animals. And that is providing new insights into Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
The study, out today in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggests that the evolution of a subset of glia called astrocytes – which are larger and more complex in humans than other species – may have been one of the key events that led to the higher cognitive functions that distinguish us from other species.
For more information please visit the URMC Newsroom article.
February 4, 2015
NBA Faculty Candidate: Krishnan Padmanabhan, PhD
Krishnan Padmanabhan, PhD
Faculty candidate Dr. Padmanabhan, Junior Fellow Crick-Jacobs Center for Theoretical and Computational Biolgy The Salk Institute of Biological Studies, will present the talk
The Role of Diversity in the Neural ComputationsMonday, February 23rd at 2:00pm in K-307 (3-6408)
A key question in neuroscience is to understand how neuronal circuits process sensory information and generate behaviors in response to that information. Consider the sense of smell for instance. In a single sniff, mammals can synthesize data about dozens of volitile chemical compounds to create a singular unified perception, like the smell of coffee. In the olfactory system of mice, feedforward projections from the principle cells of the main olfactory bulb relay information about these odors directly to cortical regions as an early step toward forming a sensory percept. Feedback projections from these cortical areas back to early olfactory structures dynamically impact the way incoming odor information is processed based on such features as experience, memory and brain state. How these two computations are done, and how the olfactory system uses these computations to generate behavior remain open questions.
In my talk, I will discuss our recent work tackling 2 aspects of this process.
- How the biophysical properties of neurons improves information transmission in the feedforward direction.
- How the anatomy of connections from the higher processing areas may reveal key computational principles about sensory processing.
February 1, 2015
MSTP Announces 40th Anniversary Celebration!
The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is excited to announce a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the MSTP NIH training grant on Friday, October 9, 2015.
The keynote speaker will be an MSTP alumni from the Class of 1980: Edward Rubin, MD, PhD, Director, DOE Joint Genome Institute.
EddyRubin is an internationally-known geneticist and medical researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, where he became head of the Genomic Sciences Division in 1998. In 2002 he assumed the directorship of the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) to lead the JGI ’s involvement in the Human Genome Project (HGP).
For more information and schedule of events for the day, please visit the MSTP 40th Anniversary page.
January 12, 2015
NIH Neuro Start Up Challenge
Several neuroscience graduate students and clinicians from the University of Rochester are involved in the NIH Neuro Start Up Challenge and have developed their elevator pitch and executive summary as part of the public voting phase. We encourage the neuroscience community to visit their Showcase page and provide votes and constructive feedback on the discussion board this week. Public voting will run Monday, January 12th through Friday, January 16th.
Team: University of Rochester- 8&9.A (Inventions 8 and 9)
Company Name: VasoMark
About the Challenge: The Neuro Start Up Challenge, launched by the NIH in partnership with the CAI and HPN, is designed to bring brain-related, patented technologies from the NIH to market. Teams of medical, scientific and business experts compete in several phases to create a company and execute a business plan with the ultimate goal of launching their start-up.
Thank you for your support