NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Kay Tye, MIT, was awarded the 2016 Freedman Prize for Exceptional Basic Research for her project “Identifying Unique Neural Circuits for Anxiety Control.” The Klerman and Freedman Prizes are granted by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation to exceptional researchers that have been supported by the NARSAD Young Investigator Grant.
Dr. Tye uses optogenetic, pharmacological, electrophysiological, and imaging techniques to study brain circuitry to elucidate pathways implicated in anxiety disorders, which represent the most common form of psychiatric illnesses.
Thirst as a motivator for animals to maintain healthy hydration has long been viewed as a homeostatic response to blood volume and other physiological factors; however, this response is so fast that it is anticipatory, and the mechanisms of which are poorly understood.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Zachary Knight and his team at the University of California, San Francisco, published their latest results exploring this phenomenon in mice. The scientists found an unexpected role for the subfornical (SFO) organ in the anticipatory regulation of thirst in mice, showing that thirst-promoting SFO neurons respond to inputs from the mouth during eating and drinking and then integrate these inputs with information about the composition of the blood.
These results provide a neural mechanism to explain longstanding observations about thirst in animals, including the prevalence of drinking during meals and the rapid satiation of thirst.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, Washington University School of Medicine, published his latest work exploring the metabolic properties that allow for a sustained immune response after infection or immunization. The research describes how a combination of glucose uptake and mitochondrial pyruvate import allow a specific type of plasma cell to sustain durable antibody production.
Understanding the exact mechanisms of immunity and immune response will allow for new treatments for autoimmune and immune-related disorders.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Ed Boyden, MIT Media Lab, published two papers elaborating on the uses for his groundbreaking imaging technique, expansion microscopy.
Published in Nature Biotechnology and Nature Methods, the papers describe expansion microscopy using conventional fluorescently labeled antibodies and proteins, as well as the techniques use in nanoscale RNA imaging.
NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Dragana Rogulja, Harvard Medical School, published her lastest research studying the sex drive of male fruit flies to glean insights into how animals choose behaviors.
Published in Neuron, the researchers showed that the mating drive in male fruit flies is controlled by dopamine levels in one specific area of the brain, shedding light on how animals make and carry out decisions to perform or not to perform a behavior. The findings showed how changes to an internal state, in this case dopamine levels, can change behavior against what an animal was previously motivated to do. This research helps shed light on how behaviors are motivated across species.
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Gabsang Lee and a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently reported that a type of lab-grown human nerve cells can partner with heart muscle cells to create contractions.
Many promising new drug candidates fail in clinical trials due to nervous system side effects. Published in Cell Stem Cell, these induced pluripotent stem cell-derived nerve cells will enable new research on disorders affecting the nervous system, including replicating patients’ diseases in a dish, as well as improved drug candidate testing.
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus and 2014 NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize recipient Dr. Marius Wernig, Stanford University, published his latest research dissecting the steps through which mouse cells go through during reprogramming from stem cells into neurons.
The research, published in Nature, scrutinizes the stages through which individual cells progress during the reprogramming process. Understanding the specific path cells take during differentiation is critical to developing successful future cell replacement therapies and treatments.
NYSCF Principal Investigator Dr. Valentina Fossati shared how stem cell technology has revolutionized multiple sclerosis research during the session on remyelination at the Multiple Sclerosis Meeting hosted by the ARSEP Foundation in Paris, France.
Dr. Fossati leads the NYSCF multiple sclerosis research team and has developed an accelerated protocol to create human stem cell models of multiple sclerosis in a petri dish, a crucial step enabling new research around the globe. The goal of Dr. Fossati's research is to continually progress towards new treatments and, ultimately, cures for all types of multiple sclerosis.