Susan L. Solomon
NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Winrich Freiwald, associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Neural Systems at The Rockefeller University, received the 2016 W. Alden Spencer Award for his work researching how the brain processes faces. Studying rhesus monkeys, Dr. Freiwald and his team have discovered areas of the brain that are key to processing faces, called 'face patches,' and identified several brain areas in charge of facial movements crucial to emotional expression.
Given by Columbia University annually, the W. Alden Spences Award recognizes outstanding research contributions in the field of neuroscience. Dr. Freiwald shares the award with collaborator Dr. Doris Y. Tsao of the California Institute of Technology.
Multiple NYSCF Research Institute scientists and NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Michael Long, NYU Medical Center, authored a paper published in Nature Neuroscience. The researchers used a novel virus to manipulate a specific type of neuron in mouse models, allowing them to use these mouse models to mimic the neuron behavior in other vertebrate species.
This extremely important research allows scientists to use mouse models to extrapolate how neural mechanisms behave in higher order species including humans. Understanding human neural mechanisms is a critical step towards new treatments and cures for many different brain disorders and injuries.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Christopher Harvey and his team at Harvard Medical School published their latest research exploring how short term memories are formed. Using mice and a virtual navigation task, the scientists showed that short term memories can emerge from different groups of neurons in the general dynamics of learning the task over and over again, not necessarily from a winner-take-all model of one neuron group beating out all others.
Understanding how memories form is a critical step to discovering new treatments for memory and thought disorders and injuries.