Neuroscience News

Research News - January 2017
Xinyu Zhao Research findings from the lab of Xinyu Zhao, Professor of Neuroscience, are featured in a recent article from Waisman Communications.

The article, titled "Am I a stem cell? How do I know?" describes recent research in the lab that shows how a gene called MBD1 plays an important role in maintaining the identity of neural stem cells and regulating the stem-cell-to-nerve-cell pipeline in the brain.

According to Zhao, it is critical that stem cells maintain their identity if they are to retain their ability to develop into specialized cells. "This is the first time someone has shown that MBD1 plays a pivotal role in maintaining the 'stemness' of neural stem cells," she says.

For more information, please see the complete article at:
http://www.waisman.wisc.edu/news2017-ZhaoStemCells.htm
 

Research News - January 2017
Ed Chapman Research findings from the lab of Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, are part of the cover story on Botox in the January 16 2017 issue of TIME magazine. Chapman, and graduate student Ewa Bomba-Warczak are quoted in the aticle about their work showing how Botox might affect the central nervous system and not just the area where it is injected.
  

Congratulations, Ed and Ewa!

Click Here to read the TIME article.

 
Research News - Sep. 2016
Erik Dent Research findings from the lab of Erik Dent, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, have been published in a recent article titled "Transport of a kinesis-cargo pair along microtubules into dendritic spines undergoing synaptic plasticity", Nature Communications, 7, 12741. (Link)

Synaptic plasticity often involves changes in the structure and composition of dendritic spines. We present evidence for microtubule-based targeting of a specific motor-cargo pair directly into hippocampal dendritic spines in an activity-dependent fashion, resulting in targeted exocytosis in individual spines. These findings suggest a mechanism for targeting dendritic cargo directly into specific spines during synaptic plasticity and indicate that microtubule-bound kinesins prevent unregulated fusion by sequestering vesicular cargo to microtubules.
 

Awards and Honors - July 2016
Su-Chun Zhang Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, has been awarded a UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative award for his research project titled "Reconstruction of Neural Circuits in Parkinson's Disease".

Reviewers chose from nearly 120 proposals outlining early-stage studies and investments in instruments and equipment aimed at providing important momentum to interdisciplinary research that could soon merit more attention and outside funding. Congratulations!

Read more...

Research News - May 2016
Ed Chapman Research findings from the lab of Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, have been published in a recent article titled "Different states of synaptotagmin regulate evoked versus spontaneous release", Nature Communications, 7, 10971. (Link)

Altering the relative orientations of C2 domains of synaptotagmin by the introduction of proline residues shows that evoked synaptic transmission was supported by the addition of multiples of 3 proline residues, a period of the alpha-helix. In contrast, the rates of spontaneous release were clamped at normal levels in mutants with additional proline residues that were not multiples of 3. These results show that different structural states of synaptotagmin control evoked and spontaneous synaptic transmission.
 

Research News - May 2016
Xinyu Zhao Research findings from the lab of Xinyu Zhao, Professor of Neuroscience, are featured in two recent news articles from the UW News and Communications Dept.

In the first study, Prof. Zhao and colleagues used an experimental drug to reverse - in mice - damage from the mutatation that causes Fragile X syndrome, a condition causing an intellectual disability that affects one boy in 4,000 and one girl in 7,000. Because more than one-third of fragile X patients are also diagnosed with autism, the study may shed light on that condition.

In one of the first studies to "read" the genetic activity inside individual brain cells, Prof. Zhao has identified the genetic machinery that causes maturation in a young nerve cell. The cells under study came from the hippocampus, a memory-related structure that is the only place in a mammal's brain where new neurons can form throughout life.

For more information, please see the complete articles at:
http://news.wisc.edu/experimental-drug-cancels-effect-from-key-intellectual-disability-gene-in-mice/
http://news.wisc.edu/single-brain-cells-reveal-genes-controlling-formation-development/
 

Awards and Honors - February 2016
Mary Halloran Mary Halloran, Professor of Zoology and Neuroscience, has been chosen to receive a Kellett mid-career award! This award brings not only recognition but also financial support for Dr. Halloran's research program.
 

Congratulations!

Awards and Honors - January 2016
Xinyu Zhao Xinyu Zhao, Professor of Neuroscience, has been chosen to receive the Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Award! In addition to the honor, this award also brings financial support for Dr. Zhao's research program.
 

Congratulations!

Research News - January 2016
Ed Chapman Research from the lab of Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, is the featured cover story in the January 2016 issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (Links: Cover, Article: Huan Bao et.al.).

Prof. Chapman provided this overview of the research:

Membrane fusion underlies myriad processes in eukaryotic cells, ranging from fertilization and viral entry to hormone release and synaptic transmission. This topic is therefore the subject of intensive study. In 2013, the Nobel Prize was awarded to a group of investigators who identified proteins that regulate and catalyze the membrane fusion reactions that mediate exocytosis. This crucial work has armed researchers with the molecules that mediate fusion, but for many of these proteins little is known concerning how they operate. For example, it is well established that vesicular (v-) and target (t-) SNAREs assemble together into four-helix bundles that form the core of a conserved membrane fusion machine, but the means by which they mediate fusion remains unknown.

A crucial step in exocytosis is the formation of a pore that forms the initial aqueous connection between the lumen of secretory vesicles and the extracellular space. We argue that the problem of membrane fusion cannot be solved until the structure of this intermediate has been determined. Fusion pores can be envisioned as ephemeral channels. Because of their low abundance and short-lived open lifetime, novel approaches are needed to study their structure and dynamics. Here, we describe a combination of approaches, including the use of nanodiscs, that we employed to gain insights into the structure and regulation of fusion pores.

The research is also the topic of the News & Views article by Manfred Lindau:
http://www.nature.com/nsmb/journal/v23/n1/full/nsmb.3157.html
The original article is at: http://www.nature.com/nsmb/journal/v23/n1/full/nsmb.3141.html

Faculty News - August 2015
Ari Rosenberg Ari Rosenberg has joined the Dept of Neuroscience as our newest Assistant Professor. Ari's research interests include Neural computations underlying 3D vision, multisensory integration, and the neural basis of autism. Ari and his wife Adhira come to us most recently from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Welcome to Madison!
Read more...

Faculty News - August 2015
Su-Chun Zhang Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, is charting new territory in his quest to help patients suffering from ravishing neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injury. He's busy building a company, Brainxell, to turn research into real treatments that make a difference to patients.

Zhang says Brainxell will focus on producing the neurological tools (e.g., cell lines, reagents and high-throughput screening methods) that support new therapeutics down the line.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - July 2015
Su-Chun Zhang Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, has been named the Steenbock Professor of Behavioral and Neural Sciences.

Steenbock Professorships provide a group of outstanding UW-Madison faculty with 10 years of financial support for their research programs. Zhang's lab has successfully differentiated human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells into a wide range of nerve and neuronal cell types found in the brain and spinal cord. Congratulations!

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Research News - July 2015
Su-Chun Zhang Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, has shown a new way to silence genes in stem cells and their progeny at any stage of development, applying a dramatically improved method for "editing" genes to human stem cells.

The new discovery solves two limitations with existing knock-out techniques. Shutting off a gene too soon can kill a cell or stymie development. And the knock-out techniques did not work well with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, the do-it-all cells that can transform into any cell in the body.

Read more...

Research News - June 2015
Xinyu Zhao Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited intellectual disability and the greatest single genetic contributor to autism. Unlocking the mechanisms behind fragile X could make important revelations about the brain.

In a new study published June 4 in the journal Cell Reports, Xinyu Zhao, Professor of Neuroscience, and colleagues show that two proteins implicated in fragile X play a crucial role in the proper development of neurons in mice. They also show that while the two proteins act through distinct mechanisms in the formation of new neurons - which send, receive and process information in the brain - they also share some duties.

"This is the first demonstration of the additive function of fragile X proteins in neuronal development," says Professor Zhao.

Read more...

Research News - June 2015
Su-Chun Zhang Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, says medical researchers and the federal government have a responsibility to forge ahead with clinical trials to prove whether and how neural stem cells can replace damaged or dead neural cells caused by spinal cord injury, stroke and Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS).

Prof. Zhang was the first scientist to isolate neural stem cells from embryonic stem cells and then from other types of all-purpose stem cells. Since then, he has been instrumental in differentiating these neural cells into neurons, which carry nerve signals, and glial cells, which keep neurons healthy.

Read more...

Classroom News - April 2015
Lea Ziskind-Conhaim Lea Ziskind-Conhaim, Professor, Neuroscience, has been named an "Honored Instructor" .

Students say that "Professor Lea genuinely cares about the affordable, effective, and integrative instruction of students at UW-Madison. She advocated for affordable course materials, wrote her own course manual, and teaches students in a calm, effective way." Congratulations!
 

Awards and Honors - April 2015
Xinyu Zhao Xinyu Zhao, Professor of Neuroscience, and colleague Anita Bhattacharyya, Waisman Center, have been awarded a three-year grant from the John Merck Fund to explore a new treatment for fragile X syndrome (FXS) using gene editing.

Fragile X syndrome, an intellectual disability, causes learning difficulties, hyperactivity, social anxiety, hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, and autism and autism-related behaviors. Zhao and Bhattacharyya's grant is part of the Merck Fund's developmental disabilities translational research program that supports research with potential for immediate impact on people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - April 2015
Luis Populin Luis Populin, Associate Professort of Neuroscience, has received a three-year Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award to support research into therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of the most common childhood diagnoses in the United States. The work grows from Populin's studies of monkeys, which measured the effects of methylphenidate (Ritalin, a common ADHD drug), on working memory and other aspects of executive functioning.

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Awards and Honors - March 2015
Baron Chanda Baron Chanda, Associate Professort of Neuroscience, is one of nine members of the UW-Madison faculty honored with Romnes Faculty Fellowships. Romnes awards recognize exceptional faculty members who have earned tenure within the last six years. Selected by a Graduate School committee, winners receive an unrestricted $50,000 award for research, supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

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Classroom News - Feb. 2015
Andrew Lokuta Andrew Lokuta, Faculty Associate, Neuroscience, is featured in a recent article for taking a new approach to better engage minority students in and beyond the classroom.

These new approaches include incorporating culturally inclusive and relevant material, such as information about an African-American pioneer of heart surgery, as well as getting students involved in supplemental instruction.

Read more...

Department News - November 2014
Baron Chanda Donata Oertel, Professor of Neuroscience, is the new full-time Chair of the Department of Neuroscience, effective Nov. 15, 2014. Prof. Oertel has been with the Department of Neurowcience and UW for several years, and takes over from Tom Yin, who served as Interim Chair for the past three+ years and guided the Department through its formative years. Welcome, Donata, and thank you, Tom!

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Research News - August 2014
Baron Chanda Baron Chanda, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, and his colleagues have re-engineered a normal, voltage-dependent potassium ion channel and made it either heat or cold-sensitive, demonstrating the plausible molecular mechanics and structure necessary to make a temperature-sensing ion channel. Temperature-sensitive signaling plays an important role in pain pathways and is considered an important target for treating chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain. Interestingly, many of these heat sensors also respond to things like capsaicin, which provides that burning sensation when you eat chili peppers. The cold-sensitive channels also respond to 'cooling' chemicals like menthol or camphor.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - August 2014
Two Neuroscience researchers have been awarded grants under the new Discovery to Product (D2P) program at the University of Wisconsin.

Su-Chun Zhang Su-Chun Zhang Professort of Neuroscience, a renowned stem cell biologist at the Waisman Center, was funded to market a new technology to create large quantities of nerve cells and make them available to researchers who are investigating treatments for the nervous system.

Gail Robertson Gail Robertson, Professor of Neuroscience, was funded to commercialize a second-generation test to ensure that candidate drugs do not disrupt heart rhythms.

 
Read more...

Awards and Honors - April 2014
Donata Oertel Donata Oertel, Professor, Neuroscience, is among four University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty members who received Hilldale Awards in recognition of their contributions to teaching, research and service. The annual awards, given since 1987, are based on the university's four divisions: biological sciences, physical sciences, social studies, and arts and humanities.

The awards are sponsored by the Hilldale Fund, which supports the advancement of scholarly activity at UW-Madison. The recipients were honored at the April 7 meeting of the university's Faculty Senate.

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Research News - April 2014
Su-Chun Zhang ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called Lou Gehrig's disease), causes paralysis and death. According to the ALS Association, as many as 30,000 Americans are living with ALS. By studying nerve cells that originated in patients with a severe neurological disease, Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, and his colleagues have pinpointed an error in protein formation that could be the root of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

In a new report, Zhang, Waisman scientist Hong Chen, and colleagues have pointed a finger at proteins that build a transport structure inside the motor neurons. Called neurofilament, this structure moves chemicals and cellular subunits to the far reaches of the nerve cell. The cargo needing movement includes neurotransmitters, which signal the muscles, and mitochondria, which process energy.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - Dec. 2013
June Dahl June Dahl, Professor of Neuroscience, was awarded the Folkert Belzer award from the medical school recently. The award is intended to recognize an individual who may be regarded as an "unsung hero" because of contributions extending over a prolonged period.  
 
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Awards and Honors - Nov. 2013
Baron Chanda Baron Chanda, Associate Professor, Neuroscience, received the Paul F. Cranefield Award from the Society for General Physiology. The Cranefield Award is given to an independent young investigator who in the preceding calendar year has published a "truly noteworthy paper" in the Journal of General Physiology. In addition, a graduate student in Baron's lab, Sandipan Chowdhury, was awarded the 2013 Graduate Cranefield Award from the same organization. Congratulations Baron and Sandipan!
Read more...
 
Research News - July 2013
Su-Chun Zhang Many scientists use animals to model human diseases. Mice can be obese or display symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Rats get Alzheimer's and diabetes. But animal models are seldom perfect, and so scientists are looking at a relatively new type of stem cell, called the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell), that can be grown into specialized cells that become useful models for human disease.

IPS cells are usually produced by reprogramming a skin sample into a primitive form that is able to develop into all of the specialized cells in the body. In the laboratories at the Waisman Center at UW-Madison, scientists are growing iPS cells into models of disorders caused by defective nerve cells. The technology depends on work pioneered over the past decade or so by Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, who leads the iPS Core at Waisman, which also produces cells for other investigators on campus.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - June 2013
Tom Yin Tom Yin, Professor and Interim Chair, Neuroscience, has been awarded the inaugural William and Christine Hartmann Prize in Auditory Neuroscience from the Acoustical Society of America. The prize is for research that links auditory physiology with auditory perception or behavior in humans or other animals..
Read more...
 
Awards and Honors - Apr. 2013
Sarah Weber Sarah Weber, an undergraduate student in the lab of Luis Populin, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, has won a 2013-2014 Wisconsin Hilldale Undegraduate Research Fellowship. This is a campus-wide undergraduate research competition. The title of her project is "Effect of Methylphenidate on Impulsivity and Temporal Discounting". Congratulations!
 
Research News - Mar. 2013
Su-Chun Zhang For the first time, scientists have transplanted neural cells derived from a monkey's skin into its brain and watched the cells develop into several types of mature brain cells, according to the authors of a new study in Cell Reports. After six months, the cells looked entirely normal, and were only detectable because they initially were tagged with a fluorescent protein.

And since the skin cells were not "foreign" tissue, there were no signs of immune rejection - potentially a major problem with cell transplants. "When you look at the brain, you cannot tell that it is a graft," says senior author Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience. "Structurally the host brain looks like a normal brain; the graft can only be seen under the fluorescent microscope."

Read more...

Research News - Jan 2013
Zhen Huang New research in the laboratory of Zhen Huang, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, shows how developing neural cells control the growth of blood vessels. Although it makes intuitive sense that blood vessel development should be guided by neuronal development in some fashion, Huang spent years making sure he wasn't being mislead by his experiment. Now, he's satisfied himself, and his scientific reviewers, and the journal PLOS Biology has just published his study. For more information:
Article at Univ of Wisconsin News
PLOS Biology article
 
New Year Baby - Jan 2013
Dinesh and baby Dinesh Joshi, Research Associate in the lab of Prof. Bill Chiu, and his wife Anchal Gusain are the proud parents of the newest member of the Neuroscience community. Shreyash Joshi was born in the early morning of Jan. 1, 2013, the first baby born at Madison's Meriter Hospital for the new year. He was featured in a news story on WKOW-TV (click here for news story).
Congratulations!
 
Transitions - Dec 2012
John Harting It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of John Harting, UWSMPH and Medical Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Neuroscience, effective December 31, 2012. John has been in the Departments of Anatomy/Neuroscience for 39 years and has made major contributions to research (he is one of the world's experts on the neuroanatomy of the superior colliculus), teaching (he has won numerous teaching awards in the Medical School) and administration (he served as the chair of Anatomy for 29 years). To read a brief summary of John's distinguished career, please click here.
 
Faculty News - Aug 2012
Dan Uhlrich Dan Uhlrich, Professor of Neuroscience, has been appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Policy. In his new role, Uhlrich will oversee many facets of research policy on campus, including responsible conduct of research, animal research and the use of human subjects. For more information please click here.
 
Awards and Honors - May 2012
Cindy Czajkowski Cynthia Czajkowski, Professor of Neuroscience, has been awarded a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship, which recognizes professors whose distinguished scholarship has advanced the confines of knowledge, and whose excellence has also included teaching and service. The recipient receives a $75,000 flexible research award. Congratulations!
 
Spinal cord symposium - May 2012
Lea Ziskind-Conhaim Lea Ziskind-Conhaim, Professor of Neuroscience, organized the fourth Biennial spinal cord symposium "Cellular and Networks Functions in the Spinal cord." More than 120 neuroscientists from 12 countries participated in the 3 days meeting that was held in Madison on May 22-25, 2012. For more information please visit:
http://conferencing.uwex.edu/conferences/SpinalConference2012/index.cfm
 
Awards and Honors - Apr. 2012
Dan Geisler Dan Geisler, Professor Emeritus, was awarded the Basic Sciences Emeritus Faculty Award by the Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association at their annual banquet held in Madison on Apr. 27, 2012. The citation reads:
"This award is given to a basic scientist who demonstrates long and effective service to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in teaching and/or research or noteworthy administration, including program development."
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge  
 
Awards and Honors - Apr. 2012
June Dahl June Dahl, Professor of Neuroscience, was recently awarded an honorary degree from her alma mater, Macalester College in St. Paul. It wil be presented at their commencement ceremony on May 12. She also received the Board of Directors Award of Honor from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. It is given to non-pharmacists "who have made significant contributions to the health field."  
 
Awards and Honors - Apr. 2012
Robert Fettiplace Robert Fettiplace, Professor of Neuroscience, has been elected to be a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies. Congratulations Robert !!

 
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Awards and Honors - Apr. 2012
Kevin Strang Kevin Strang, Faculty Associate, Neuroscience, has been named as one of the nation's "300 Best Professors" in a guidebook compiled by The Princeton Review and ratemyprofessors.com.

"One cannot page through this book without feeling tremendous respect for the powerful ways these teachers are enriching their students' lives, their colleges, and ultimately our future as a society," says Robert Franek, senior vice president/publisher at The Princeton Review.

Congratulations Kevin !!

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Faculty News - Apr. 2012
Su-chun Zhang Xinyu Zhao Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, and Xinyu Zhao, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, were featured participants at the seventh annual Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium held April 11, 2012, at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute in Fitchburg, just south of Madison.

Titled "Neural Stem Cells: Generation and Regeneration", the symposium focused on the mechanisms of neural development, modeling neural disorders, and harnessing the potential of neural regeneration.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - Apr. 2012
Andrew Lokuta Andrew Lokuta, Assoc Faculty Associate, Neuroscience, has been awarded the Chancellor's Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching. Congratulations to Drew for this distinguished honor!!

 
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Research News - Mar. 2012
Su-Chun Zhang A special type of brain cell forged from stem cells could help restore the muscle coordination deficits that cause the uncontrollable spasms characteristic of Huntington's disease. "This is really something unexpected," says Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience and the senior author of the new study, which showed that locomotion could be restored in mice with a Huntington's-like condition.

Zhang is an expert at making different types of brain cells from human embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells. In the new study, his group focused on what are known as GABA neurons, cells whose degradation is responsible for disruption of a key neural circuit and loss of motor function in Huntington's patients. GABA neurons, Zhang explains, produce a key neurotransmitter, a chemical that helps underpin the communication network in the brain that coordinates movement.

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Awards and Honors - Mar. 2012
Ed Chapman Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, has been named as one of the winners of this year's Kellett Mid-Career Award. The Kellett award, supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), recognizes outstanding mid-career faculty members who are five to 20 years past the first promotion to a tenured position. Each winner, chosen by a Graduate School committee, receives a $60,000 flexible research award.

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Awards and Honors - Feb. 2012
Tom Yin Tom Yin, Professor and Interim Chair, Neuroscience, and Eric Young, Johns Hopkins, were honored with a special symposium celebrating their research in auditory neuroscience at the recent annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. The symposium was titled "The Yin and Young of sound localization".
 
 
Awards and Honors - Feb. 2012
Donata Oertel Congratulations to Donata Oertel for her nomination and selection to present a Society for Neuroscience Special Lecture this coming Fall! A very special recognition for a special researcher!!

 

Research News - Feb. 2012
Su-Chun Zhang Stem Cell research in the lab of Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, was featured in a recent article about the 45'th anniversary of the Waisman Center.

First tamed in 1998, embryonic stem cells - the blank slate cells that arise in early development and go on to form all 220 tissues in the human body - have since been directed in the lab dish by Prof. Zhang to become some of the most fundamental building blocks of the brain.

Scientists can now make neurons and astrocytes with relative ease, and they're exploring the intricate workings of those cells and how they might be used clinically to alleviate conditions such as Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - Feb. 2012
Baron Chanda Erik Dent Baron Chanda and Erik Dent have both won the Vilas Associate Award for 2012 and 2013 from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School. The award provides flexible research funding for each of the two years. Congratulations!
 
Research News - Dec. 2011
Ed Chapman Research in the lab of Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, provides insight into how working memory holds a piece of information - or thoughts linger, on the cellular level . They found the molecular sensor that controls a little-understood phase of nerve cell communication that keeps a message alive well after it has been delivered.

When one nerve cell sends a signal to another at a synapse, most of the communication takes place instantaneously, with an electrical impulse causing calcium in the sending cell to release a shot of neurotransmitter into the receiving cell. The much-studied action, which makes up the bulk of activity between communicating nerve cells, ends in milliseconds.

But a second, slower phase often follows, in which the signal hangs on such that residual levels of calcium continue to drive the release of neurotransmitters over a much longer period-seconds. Overlooked for a long time, this slow phase of nerve cell communication (also called asynchronous) is now clearly in the spotlight following the Wisconsin studies.

Read more...

Research News - Oct. 2011
Robert Fettiplace Robert Fettiplace, Professor of Neuroscience, and his colleagues have recently made observations that go a long way toward explaining how the mammalian cochlea can be so sharply tuned. This work shows how force generated by the prestin motors in outer hair cells can locally amplify the motion of the basilar membrane with every cycle of the sound, even at the high frequencies that mammals hear. The key to the puzzle is that outer hair cells rest at depolarized potentials at which voltage-gated potassium channels are strongly activated. This elegant and ground breaking work was published by Stuart L. Johnson, Maryline Beurg, Walter Marcotti, and Robert Fettiplace, in Neuron "Prestin-Driven Cochlear Amplification is Not Limited by the Outer Hair Cell Membrane Time Constant" 70:1143-1154, 2011.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - Oct. 2011
Meyer Jackson Meyer Jackson, Professor of Neuroscience, has been named the winner of the Biophysical Society's 2012 Kenneth S. Cole Award.

Jackson is a nationally recognized expert on the workings of synapses, junctures where communication between nerve cells takes place. His group studies how neurotransmitter-filled vesicles inside synapses fuse with the cell membrane and how the entry of calcium triggers membrane fusion.

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Awards and Honors - Sep. 2011
Erik Dent Erik Dent has won the 24th Annual Kreig Cortical Explorer Award from the Cajal Club, an international society focused on the study of the cerebral cortex.

The award will be presented at the annual Cajal Club dinner at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting on November 13, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Read more...

Awards and Honors - Aug. 2011
Ed Chapman Congratulations to Ed Chapman for having his Howard Hughes Investigator status renewed for another term.

 
 

Awards and Honors - July 2011
Click to enlarge John Harting Wins Sixth 2011 Medical Alumni Distinguished Award for Basic Sciences Teaching.

This award recognizes the most distinguished basic science teacher in the first two years of medical school as identified by second-year medical students. John is no stranger to teaching related awards, having received more than 30 in his career. He received his first Medical Alumni Teaching Award in 1979 and currently holds the sole endowed chair as the UW Medical School Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Professor. John has been teaching UW medical, occupational and physical therapy, and physician assistant student for some 38 years. In addition to teaching, he directed a basic science research program for decades and served as chair of the Department of Anatomy for almost 29 years.

John took the opportunity at the award ceremony to give the $500 award check to Ian Stormont, a second year medical student who was president of MEDIC (Medical Information Center). This group's goals are to improve the health of an underserved population and give medical and other health care students what is literally a hands-on learning opportunity.

Awards and Honors - July 2011
Click to enlarge Dr. Edward Bersu, Professor of Neuroscience, was voted by 2011 graduating class of medical students to participate in their Investiture (hooding) at the UWMSPH graduation ceremony on May, 2011. This was the third time Ed has received this honor. He is also the recipient of numerous other medical and University teaching awards, including the most prestigious University Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991 and the Medical Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. Ed is one of the most respected teachers on the UW campus, teaching not only medical students but all allied health students.
 
Awards and Honors - July 2011
Click to enlarge Dr. Karen Krabbenhoft , Senior Lecturer, Department of Neuroscience, was awarded the Preclinical Teaching Award given by the graduating class at their match Day on March 17, 2011. Karen is known as one of he most effective educators on the UW campus and has won numerous teaching awards, including the Medical Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007 and the honor of participating in the Investiture/hooding ceremony in 2000 and 2009.
 
Research News - June 2011
Su-Chun Zhang Research conducted by Sam Kwon, graduate student, and Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, has shown that synaptophysin controls the replacement of the constantly needed sacs, also known as vesicles. The study, appearing in the current issue of the journal Neuron [PDF], may lead to future drugs that could restore normalcy when vesicles are not utilized efficiently.

It may help explain why people with synaptophysin mutations may have mental retardation.

"It will take more studies to directly link how this cycling defect leads to mental retardation, but we now have a good starting point," Kwon says.

Scientists could also now begin to screen for molecules that could override the defect and restore normal rates of endocytosis, adds Chapman.

Read more...

Research News - May 2011
Su-Chun Zhang A group led by Su-Chun Zhang, Professor of Neuroscience, reports it has been able to direct embryonic and induced human stem cells to become astrocytes in the lab dish. This opens a new avenue to more fully understanding the functional roles of the brain's most commonplace cell, as well as its involvement in a host of central nervous system disorders ranging from headaches to dementia...

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Research News - Feb. 2010
Baron Chanda A UW team led by Baron Chanda, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, has made a discovery important to the millions of people who are on common medications for heart and neurological diseases

The discovery, published in the Jan. 31, 2010 issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, relates to ion channels, key molecular players that generate and control electrical signals critical for heart, brain and other types of cells to do their jobs. If anything goes wrong in the process, called excitability, potentially deadly heartbeat abnormalities and epilepsies may arise.

The researchers have shown how the structure that couples the two main parts of sodium ion channels may allow them to communicate.

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