Neuroscience News Fall 2005

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute
Fall, 2005
Volume 14, No. 3

Table of Contents



    Kate Baicy graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular and cellular biology. She entered the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) in order to combine her interests in psychiatry and the
    neurobiology of addiction. Kate and her mentor, Dr. Edythe London, utilize structural and functional neuroimaging to study addictive disorders and their behavioral and genetic correlates.

    Audrey Carstensen graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. Audrey’s research interest focus on sexual dimorphism in the brain and its effects on behavior.

    José R. Cordero obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry (with honors) from the University of Tampa. He later joined the NIH Academy within the NIAMS where he performed research on the molecular biology of allergy and asthma, followed by a year of clinical research in cardiology where he studied the effects of drug coated stents in patients at the Washington Hospital Center. He entered graduate school at UCLA through the ACCESS program and later transferred to the NSIDP. José is interested in translational investigation, neuroendocrinology and the molecular biology of psychiatric diseases. He is presently working in the laboratory of Dr. Julio Licinio and Dr. Ma-Li Wong where he is studying the pharmacogenetics of major depression along with the effects of inflammatory stress on the CNS.

    Chris Culbertson graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science degree in biopsychology. His research focuses on substance abuse. Chris would like to study the neurological mechanisms related to drug and alcohol addiction, reinforcement, and motivation from the molecular to behavioral levels.

    Erin Gray graduated from the University of Montana, Missoula with a Bachelor of Arts degree in human biology. Her research interests focus on the mechanisms of cell signaling and gene expression regulation in learning and memory.

    Austin Hilliard graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Science degree in cognitive science with a specialization in neuroscience. Austin’s research interests include human language through the study of birdsong, sensorimotor integration, and music. He is also interested in sleep and consciousness, and thalamocortical oscillations.

    Ben Huang received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Columbia University where he participated in studies of hippocampal place-cells and spatial memory, and was involved in examining the molecular mechanisms of synapse formation. Ben’s research interests are learning, memory, and development.

    April Kihara graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, specializing in neuroscience, and a minor in Japanese. She studied motivation with single neuron recording in mammalian brain before moving on to the study of face processing in humans using EEG. April’s current research interests focus on addiction and psychiatric diseases.

    Alex Korb received a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience from Brown University. He is currently interested in combining fMRI and electrophysiology, as well as imaging and depression.

    Ray Luo graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and computer sciences. Ray’s current research interests include ion channels, synaptic signaling, learning and memory, and computational neuroscience.

    Evan Lutkenhoff received a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering, with a minor in philosophy, from Purdue University. As a student in the neuroengineering program, Evan is interested in schizophrenia, autism, and utilizing engineering approaches to study mental illness.

    Jeremy Miller graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy. Jeremy is interested in studying the visual system, and the interconnection between sensory and motor functions.

    Hiroko Nobuta received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the California State University, Long Beach. Hiroko's interest in research focuses on the biological and molecular basis of psychiatric diseases.

    Kate Wassum graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. At UNC-CH Kate studied the effects of drugs of abuse on rapid dopamine dynamics in the nucleus accumbens. She is currently interested in examining what happens in the brain when one is addicted to a drug, and possible treatment options for drug addiction.

    Marina Ollervides graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science degree in biopsychology. She is interested in neuroendocrinology, specifically, investigating how hormones and sex chromosomes cause sex differences in behavior, cognition, and neurodegenerative diseases.

    Justine Overman received a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology from the University of California, Davis. Her research interests include axonal regeneration and neurogenesis following stroke and neurotraumatic injury.

    Angela Rizk-Jackson graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in integrative biology. She is interested in studying higher cognitive functions using novel substrates, such as music, and utilizing imaging techniques in her studies.

    Ryan Schmidt graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry and biology (with a concentration in molecular biology) a minor in Spanish, and a Master of Science degree in chemistry. Ryan is studying the role of epigenetic modifications in development working in the laboratory of Dr. Yi Sun.

    Ashley Scott graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a certificate in neuroscience and behaviors. Her past research focused on developmental disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, and speech/language disorders. Ashley is currently using magnetic resonance imaging techniques to investigate possible subcortical differences in children with autism.

    Patricia St. Clair graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. Patty’s research interests focus on how the brain changes with age, and how genes and other factors interact to influence those changes.

    Nanthia Suthana graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience, where she focused her research on circadian rhythms is learning and memory. Her current interests include synaptic plasticity, functional neuroimaging, and learning and memory.

    Andrew Vosko graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science degree. He completed a double major in biopsychology and cognitive science, and Japanese language and literature. He is interested in researching the neural control and organization of sleep and circadian rhythms.

    Lisa Wu graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in brain and cognitive science. Her research interest is neural repair, with a focus on the spinal cord.

    Jessica Zellhoefer graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and chemistry. Jessica is interested in the molecular mechanisms involved in mental retardation and drug addiction, principally focusing on epigenetics and intracellular GlcNAcylation. She is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Yi Sun.


    The Brain Research Institute welcomes its newest members, Dr. Rochelle Caplan, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences; Dr. Linda Nelson, Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences; Dr. Alvaro Sagasti, Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology; and Dr. Martina Wiedau-Pazos, Assistant Professor of Neurology.

    Rochelle Caplan received a M.D. degree from Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. She then completed residences in psychiatry/EEG, and neurology, at hospital affiliates of the Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University. During this time Dr. Caplan also served as a psychiatric consultant to the Center for Vocational Diagnosis and Rehabilitation for the Ministry of Labor, Tel Aviv, as a resident researcher at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, and as the unit chief of the Child Inpatient Unit at the Ness Ziona Government Psychiatric Hospital. Dr. Caplan first served as a visiting research fellow in child psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, and then joined the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. In 1985, Dr. Caplan was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences. Dr. Caplan is currently a psychiatric consultant to the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program, Director of the Pediatric Neuropsychiatry Program, and Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences.

    Dr. Caplan’s research focuses on the neural substrates of higher-level linguistic skills and social communication in pediatric neurobehavioral disorders including schizophrenia and epilepsy. “My studies use multimodal neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, MRI, MRS, DTI) to study the normal development of children’s higher-level linguistic skills and identify the neural circuits involved in these skills and their structural and functional abnormalities in childhood schizophrenia and epilepsy. Prospective studies examine how epilepsy impacts the development of behavior, cognition, language, social competence, and academic performance over time, the underlying mechanisms of these changes, and the response to medical or surgical intervention (e.g., anterior temporal lobectomy), as well as vagal nerve stimulation. An additional longitudinal study examines behavior, cognition, language, social competence, academic performance, and brain morphometry in the siblings of children with epilepsy compared to the probands and to normal children over time. The siblings of children with schizophrenia are also being studied with these measures in a cross-sectional study. A prospective intervention study investigates how aripiprazole mitigates positive and negative symptoms, as well as higher-linguistic deficits (e.g., thought disorder) in children with schizophrenia. The long-term outcome and development of social communication and behavior, as well as functional plasticity in the non-resected hemisphere of surgically treated children with early onset intractable epilepsy, are also being studied. The role of primary care and specialty provider knowledge, attitude, and behavior on the psychosocial impact of epilepsy on children and other potential obstacles to mental health care are being studied among parents of children with epilepsy.”

    Linda Nelson received a Ph.D. degree from Ohio State University in 1986. She then completed an internship in clinical psychology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in West Los Angeles, and a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology in the Department of Psychology at UCLA. In 1988, Dr. Nelson joined the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine. In 1995, she was appointed as an associate professor and held joint appointments in neurology and psychiatry. In 2005, Dr. Nelson returned to Los Angeles where she is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, and also holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University.

    Dr. Nelson’s research interests include neuropsychology, Alzheimer’s disease and PET imaging. “My research involves using PET-FDDNP to examine Beta-amyloid levels in adults with Down syndrome. The aims of this research are to identify which areas of the brain are initially affected in Alzheimer's disease and the age at which conversion to Alzheimer's disease first occurs. Due to their trisomy 3 statuses, people with Down syndrome are at extreme high risk for this disease early in life. Disease prevalence in this group of individuals is significantly higher than in the general population. Beta-amyloid levels will be tracked over time to help judge disease progression as it relates to specific areas of the brain. Functional components of brain structures are measured using comparative (animal-based) experimental procedures. This type of assessment is new to this population and provides a valid and novel method of measuring learning and memory in severe cognitively impaired individuals.”

    Alvaro Sagasti received a Ph.D. degree in genetics from the Program in Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco in 2001. His thesis advisor was Dr. Cori Bargmann, and his thesis was titled, “Genetics of Cell Fate Diversification in C. elegans.” Upon completion of his Ph.D. degree, Dr. Sagasti was the recipient of a Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Skirball Institute, New York University School of Medicine. There he studied the development of trigeminal sensory neuron morphology in zebrafish with Dr. Alexander Schier. Prior to joining UCLA in July 2005, for four months Dr. Sagasti studied cytoskeletal control of peripheral sensory neuron axon branching as a Grass Foundation Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Dr. Sagasti is currently an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology at UCLA.

    Dr. Sagasti’s major area of research interest is developmental neuroscience. “I am interested in how neurons adopt their complex shapes and coordinate their development with one another. As a model for the development of complex cell shapes in the nervous system, we are studying trigeminal neurons in zebrafish. Trigeminal neurons sense painful and benign mechanical and thermal stimuli in the skin. They are ideal for the study of cell shape because they possess complex peripheral axons that arborize extensively under the skin and can easily be accessed and imaged. We’re studying these cells in zebrafish because they are easy to visualize and manipulate in the transparent, rapidly growing embryos of this species. We employ a combination of embryological, genetic, molecular, imaging and behavioral approaches to address these questions.”

    Martina Wiedau-Pazos received a Dr. med degree in neuroimmunology (summa cum laude, Ph.D. equivalent) from the Free University in Berlin, Germany and a M.D. degree from Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, followed by an internship in neurology at the Free University in Berlin. In 1994, Dr. Wiedau-Pazos moved to the United States to join UCLA. She was first appointed as a research associate in the Department of Neurology, and then in the Department of Chemistry. In 1997, Dr. Wiedau-Pazos completed an internship in internal medicine at UCLA, followed by a residency in neurology, and served as the chief resident in neurology from 1999-2000. For the next three years she was the recipient of fellowships through the Department of Neurology and the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation. In 2003 Dr. Wiedau-Pazos was appointed as a visiting assistant professor, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology.

    Dr. Wiedau-Pazos major research interest is neurodegeneration. “I am currently focusing on the evaluation of mouse models of dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. First, I have generated a double transgenic mouse that expresses human mutant presemilin-1 and mutant tau linked to inherited dementia. We are currently characterizing this double transgenic mouse with respect to behavioral and anatomical abnormalities and will then evaluate potential interactions between tau and presenilin in neuronal degeneration. Second, we are conducting genomic studies to detect factors leading to motor neuron vulnerability to degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in mouse models expressing mutant superoxide dismutase or mutant tau.”
    The Brain Research Institute is happy to welcome its newest members.


    The BRI congratulates the meritorious achievements of Dr. Dean Bok and Dr. Bruce Dobkin.

    Dean BokDolly Green Professor of Ophthalmology, and Professor of Neurobiology, was the recipient of the S. Rodman Irvine, M.D. Prize at the Clinical and Research Seminar held at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. The annual award, established by the Department of Ophthalmology, “recognizes faculty members whose careers illustrate the finest in doctor-patient, or doctor-student relationships; whose actions represent the highest traditions of the medical or vision science professionals; and whose teaching exemplifies dedication to the transmission of knowledge to future generations”

    Bruce Dobkin, Professor of Neurology, was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians for research, writing, and clinical care in neurological rehabilitation. Dr. Dobkin, Director of the UCLA Neurologic Rehabilitation and Research Program, also became editor-in-chief of the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 

    Warm congratulations to Dr. Bok and Dr. Dobkin from the staff, students and faculty of the Brain Research Institute!


    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience series will resume Winter quarter beginning January 10, 2006. A number of outstanding speakers are lined up so mark your calendars and plan to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium.

    Winter 2006 Preview

    January 10, 2006
    Susan Sesack, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Host: David Jentsch)

    January 17, 2006
    Sasha Nelson, Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
    (Host: Dean Buonomano)

    January 24, 2006
    Anthony Zador, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
    (Host: Dean Buonomano)

    January 31, 2006
    J. Anthony Movshon, Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York
    (Host Dario Ringach)

    February 7, 2006
    Alvaro Pascual–Leone, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
    (Host: Marco Iacoboni) 

    February 14, 2006
    Simon Fisher, Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics, Oxford University, United Kingdom
    (Host: Stephanie White)

    February 21, 2006
    Barry Jacobs, Neuroscience Program, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
    (Host: Tad Blair)

    February 28, 2006
    Paul Glimcher, Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York
    (Host: Tad Blair)

    March 7, 2006
    Leslie Vosshall, Department of Neurogenetics & Behavior, Rockefeller University, New York, New York
    (Host: Larry Zipursky)

    March 14, 2006
    The H.W. Magoun Lecture
    Speaker and Title to be Determined
    (Host: Chris Evans)

    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience are sponsored by the Brain Research Institute, the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.


    Training Program in Neural Repair at UCLA

    One postdoctoral position is currently available on an NIH-funded training grant for research relevant to neural repair at UCLA. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a Permanent Resident of the U.S. at the time of the application and must be able to start the position before June 20, 2006. Only applicants who have obtained a M.D. or Ph.D. degree less than 12 months before the start date of the appointment are eligible. Appointments are for one year. To apply, send a letter of nomination from the faculty mentor, a brief (1-2 pages) research program description, an NIH biosketch with list of publications, and two letters of recommendation (no later than November 31, 2005) to:

    M.-F. Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D., Program Director
    Department of Neurology
    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
    B114 RNRC, 710 Westwood Plaza
    Los Angeles, CA 90095
    For inquiries, please contact Dr. Chesselet at

    Postdoctoral Position Studying Tremor 

    A postdoctoral position is available studying tremor. This is an opportunity to develop new research territory for a common disease that has been under-investigated. The lab studies animal models of tremor to learn more about the mechanisms underlying tremor. From this, they hope to design therapies for patients with essential tremor. They have funding from a local foundation to fund acquisition of data over a two-year period that will enable successful funding from VA and NIH sources. 

    The laboratory is located within the Research Building at the West Los Angeles station of Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles, close to UCLA. The lab is close to the research offices, which is handy when dealing with regulatory problems. Postdoctoral fellows have the sole use of a 500 sq. ft. laboratory; there are no requirements to teach courses. 
    If interested, contact:

    Adrian Handforth, MD
    Neurology Service
    VA Greater Los Angeles

    2006 Giannini Family Foundation Fellowships

    These Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to young scientists in the eight Schools of Medicine in the state of California. Residents doing a clinical fellowship are eligible, as are postdoctoral fellows in basic science, even if they have already had some (1 or 2 years) of fellowship support. Both U.S. citizens and permanent residents are welcome to apply. The Giannini Family Foundation is now offering up to three years of fellowship support ($36,000, $38,000 and $40,000 for year 1, 2 and 3 respectively). Stipends can be supplemented, but the Giannini Fellowship should represent the major source of income for the awardee.
    These awards are very competitive and receiving one is considered a prestigious achievement in the professional development of a young basic or clinical scientist. Please encourage your best research-oriented resident or your best postdoctoral basic science scholar to apply for one of these fellowships. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2005. Information is available online at www.gianninifamilyfoundation.organd a PDF or Microsoft Word version of the application can be downloaded from this site. If you have any questions please feel free to call Dr. Dean Bok at 310-825-6737.

    Note: These fellowships are restricted to postdoctoral fellows mentored by School of Medicine faculty. Applications must be completed and mailed before December 1, 2005. Applications e-mailed or faxed will not be considered.

    The McKnight Endowment Fund For Neuroscience--The McKnight Technological Innovations In Neuroscience Awards

    The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience supports innovative research designed to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated. To this end, the Endowment Fund invites letters of intent for the 2006 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Awards. Up to four awards are made annually, each providing $100,000 a year for two years.

    Use of Award Funds: These awards encourage and support scientists working on the development of novel and creative approaches to understanding brain function. The Endowment Fund is especially interested in how technology may be used or adapted to monitor, manipulate, analyze, or model brain function at any level, from the molecular to the entire organism. The program seeks to advance and enlarge the range of technologies available to the neurosciences and does not support research based primarily on existing techniques. 

    A goal of the technology awards is to also foster collaboration between the neurosciences and other disciplines. Collaborative and cross-disciplinary applications are invited. For descriptions of previous awards, visit

    Eligibility: Investigators who are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents, conducting research at institutions within the United States, are invited to apply. Applicants must be in tenured or tenure-track positions.

    How to Submit a Letter of Intent and Selection Process: To apply, submit a two-page letter of intent, summarizing the project and describing how the technology involved will enrich the neurosciences and become accessible to other research in the field. At the top of the first page, please include: the principal investigator's name, institution, mailing address, and email; title for the project; and a one-sentence statement describing the technological innovation you propose to develop.
    The selection committee will invite a few applicants to submit detailed proposals, which area due by May 1, 2006. Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the creativity and potential benefit of the new approach and the significance of the problems to be addressed. Competition is very intense so we encourage applicants to reapply. Funding begins August 1, 2006.

    The deadline is December 1, 2005. Please send letters of intent to: 
    The McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award
    The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience
    710 South Second Street, Suite 400
    Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

    Selection Committee: David Tank (Chair); Larry Abbott; Catherine Dulac; Stephen Heinemann; David Julius; Larry Katz and Michael Shadlen.

    The McKnight Endowment Fund For Neuroscience--2006 McKnight Scholar Awards

    The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience supports innovative research designed to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated. To this end, The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience invites applications for the 2006 McKnight Scholar Awards. 

    These awards were established to encourage emerging neuroscientists to focus on disorders of learning and memory. Applicants for the McKnight Scholar Awards must demonstrate interest in solving important problems in relevant areas of neuroscience, including the translation of basic research to clinical neuroscience. Awards are given to exceptional young scientists who hold the M.D. and/or Ph.D. degree and who are in the early stages of establishing an independent laboratory and research career. Traditionally, successful candidates have held faculty positions for at least one year. For the names of previous recipients and their projects, see Current McKnight Scholars. 

    Up to six McKnight Scholars each will receive three years of support, beginning July 1, 2006. 

    Eligibility- Applicants must have the following: M.D. and/or Ph.D. degree; Formal postdoctoral training completed at the time of application; A record of meritorious research in areas pertinent to the interests of the Endowment Fund; Not more than four years of experience in an independent/tenure-track faculty position; Evidence of a commitment to a career in neuroscience; U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status; U.S.-based sponsoring institution, to which awards will be paid. Applicants may not: Be employees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute or scientists within the intramural program of the National Institutes of Health; apply in more than two rounds of competition; apply for continued postdoctoral support; hold tenured positions or their equivalent.

    Amount and Purpose of Support. Each McKnight Scholar will receive $75,000 annually in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Funds may be used in any way that will facilitate development of the Scholar’s research program, but not for indirect costs. 
    Selection Process. A review committee will evaluate applications and invite a select few to interview with the committee. Applicants selected will be notified by March 14. The interviews are scheduled for Friday, April 21, 2006, in New York. The committee then will recommend candidates to the Board of Directors of the Endowment Fund for final decision. Awards will be announced on or before May 15, 2006. 

    Download application and guidelines at If you receive a pop-up password box, simply click "Cancel" to access the document.
    Printed application forms and guidelines. Please call or write the office of The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. Completed applications must arrive no later than January 3, 2006. The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience

    710 South Second Street, Suite 400 
    Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

    Call For Pilot And Feasibility Studies Applications For 2005/2006

    The CURE Digestive Diseases Research Center invites applications (new or second year renewal) for funding during the 2005-2006 academic year. Funding will be available for high quality research in the field of gastroenterology, which is of relevance to the overall CURE Research Program in gastrointestinal biology and neurogastroenterology, with a special emphasis on receptor and signal transduction, brain-gut interactions, mucosal physiology, and mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal diseases. Proposed projects should lead to the submission of a NIH grant (e.g. R01), VA Merit Review Application or related agency research support. Funding level awarded is up to $25,000/year. 

    Eligibility: 1. New investigators without current or past NIH or related agency research support (including career developmental awards) as principal investigators, who are seeking to establish their own independent research program. Highly innovative proposals are encouraged. 2. Established investigators with other research support, who have not been involved in gastrointestinal research and who want to enter this field of research. 3. Established investigators with other support for gastrointestinal research, who want to pursue a new research direction in the field of Gastroenterology, which represents a significant departure from their funded research. Category 1 is given preference by the review committee. 

    Applicants Must: 1. Hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have at least 2 years of postgraduate research experience. 2. Trainees who are recipient of an NRSA individual award (F32) or are supported by an institutional training grant (T32) are eligible only if they are in their last year of training. Application Deadline: November 15, 2005; Starting Date: March 1, 2006 
    Application forms with detailed instructions can be obtained from the website or from:

    Caroline McNeil 
    Coordinator, PFS Program 
    CURE; VAGLAHS, Bldg. 115, Rm. 117B
    11301 Wilshire Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90073 
    Tel: (310) 268-3243 or (310) 312-9284 
    FAX: (310) 268-4963 

    The Whitehall Foundation --Grants for Research in Neurobiology

    The Whitehall Foundation is accepting applications throughout the year for grants to support basic research in neurobiology, especially on how the brain's sensory, motor, and other complex functions relate to behavior. 

    Candidates eligible for these grants include tenured or tenure-track professors at accredited American institutions. 

    Deadlines for letters of intent to apply are due by January 15, April 15, and October 1; the three deadlines for applications during the year are June 1, September 1, and February 15. 

    The total amount to be awarded and number of awards is not specified, however, the amount of individual awards range from $30,000 to $75,000 each year for up to three years. 

    View the full text of the announcement on the Foundation's web site:


    Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility
    Confocal Microscopy
    For information, contact: 
    Dr. Matt Schibler X59783

    Electron Microscopy and Specimen Preparation
    For information, contact:
    Marianne Cilluffo, x59848 (310-825-9848)

    Microscopic Techniques and Histological Preparation
    For information, contact:
    Marianne Cilluffo, x59848 (310-825-9848)

    Other Cores:
    Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
    For information, contact:
    Dr. Kym Faull X67881


    Postmortem Human Frozen Brain Tissue and Matched Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) and Blood are Available for Scientists to Search for Etiopathogeneses of Human Disease.

    The National Neurological Research Specimen Bank and the Multiple Sclerosis Human Neurospecimen Bank, located at VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center, maintains a collection of quick frozen and formalin fixed postmortem human brain tissue and frozen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with neurological diseases (including Alzheimer's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, depressive disorder/suicide, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, schizophrenia, stroke/CVA and other less common diseases). Full inventory is available upon request. Diagnoses are documented by clinical medical records and gross/microscopic neuropathology.
    Special features of the Bank are as follows:

    1). Serial digital images of coronal sections (7 mm thick and obtained before quick freezing) are available for selecting samples to be studied.
    2). Microscopic neuropathology is available on each dissected sample and the dissected sample's localization is sketched on the gross coronal section image from which it came.
    3). Plaques of demyelination are classified as active, chronic active or inactive, and a shipment includes adjacent normal appearing white and nearby gray matter from the same case (they serve as a type of control).
    4). Ice artifact is minimized and it does not interfere with in situ hybridization or in situ PCR or immunocytochemistry.
    5). Tissue samples have been used for harvesting enough mRNA for microarray assay plates.
    6). CSF cells and cell-free CSF are available pre- and postmortem as is serum, plasma and buffy coats. They are stored quick frozen (full inventory is available upon request).

    The Bank is supported by NIH (NINCDS/NIMH), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Healthcare Center.
    For further information on tissues/CSF available and how to access them, contact:

    Wallace W. Tourtellotte, M.D., Ph.D.
    Neurology Research (127A)
    VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center
    11301 Wilshire Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90073
    (310) 268_4638; fax: (310) 268_4638
    web site:

    Alzheimer's Disease Brain Tissue and CSF

    The Neuropathology Laboratory at UCLA Medical Center maintains a bank of frozen, formalin and paraformaldehyde-fixed and paraffin-embedded postmortem human brain tissues and frozen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients who die with Alzheimer's disease and other dementing and degenerative illnesses (including progressive supranuclear palsy, Parkinson's disease, fronto-temporal dementia), as well as control materials removed in a similar fashion from patients who are neurologically normal. Tissues are maintained as part of the NIA-funded Neuropathology Core functions of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center. These tissues/fluids are available as a resource to investigators in any discipline. Pilot studies using the tissues/CSF to examine biomolecules that are of known importance in animal models and suspected significance in human neurodegenerative conditions are particularly encouraged. Every attempt will be made to provide research materials for worthwhile projects in a timely fashion. For further information on tissues/CSF available and how to access them, contact:

    Dr. Harry Vinters
    Section of Neuropathology
    UCLA Medical Center, CHS 18-170
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1732
    Phone: 310-825-6191; Fax: 310-206-8290


    The BRI regularly receives letters and resumes from people looking for work in the field of neuroscience. Below is an abbreviated list of the candidates and the type of work they seek. Copies of their resumes are often available in our editorial office. If you are interested in one or more of these individuals, please contact them directly, or call x56055.

    Miriam Foley is a student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She will graduate in June, 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and psychology. Miriam would like to obtain a research assistant position in neuroscience. She would like to work in a lab setting developing new drug treatments and/or researching specific brain areas and studying the brain’s functions. During the past years at Wilfrid Laurier University she has developed many skills and knowledge of chemistry, psychology, physic, calculus, statistics, and biochemistry. Specifically, in the chemistry lab, she has performed many titrations (acid/base, water hardness test, etc.) and has written up procedures for each different type of lab performed. Equipment she has utilized includes electrodeposition, spectrophotometry, gravimetric analysis, fluorimetry, chromatographer, etc. In psychology she has learned skills to prepare research experiments, producing APA style lab reports, performing statistical calculations (mean, median, mode, probability, percentiles, R, R squared, slope, equation of a line, graphing) and interpretations (strong or weak correlation, rate of change, summary of the data, calculations and graph(s) presentation). Relevant course work includes motivation & emotion, clinical therapies, research methods, testing and measurement, biopsychology, and biochemistry. Miriam can be reached directly via e-mail at:

    Victoria Menashy would like to obtain a laboratory assistant position. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology, with a concentration in pre-health sciences, in May 2005 from Yeshiva University, Stern College in New York. Relevant course work completed includes Principles of Biology I & II and Lab, Chemistry I & II and Lab, Organic Chemistry I & II and Lab, Physics I & II and Lab, Biology of Women’s Health, Forensic Biology, Cell Biology and Lab, Ecology and Lab, Genetics and Lab, Human Anatomy and Lab, Molecular Biology and Lab, Physiology and Lab, Calculus I, and Statistics. Victoria has had research experience as an assistant in the Reproductive Endocrinology Research Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, during the summer of 2004. There she assisted in studies of gene expression (CYP 17) that is involved in androgen biosynthesis. She performed various laboratory procedures, including purifying DNA and RNA, bacterial transformation, gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction, and DNA quantification. She prepared reagents, maintained laboratory inventory, and reordered items. Victoria’s clinical experience was gained as a volunteer at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center during 2003 and 2004. She was assigned to the Neo-Natal ICU and aided nurses with feeding, monitoring patients’ blood pressure and heart rate, and provided general office support duties. Victoria also worked as a student intern at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, during the summer of 2003 where she accompanied doctors from different specialties, such as pediatrics and internal medicine, on hospital rounds, observed various procedures and surgeries, and rotated in a dialysis center, blood bank, genetics clinic, research lab, and microbiology laboratory. From November 2002-May 2003, Victoria was a student intern at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York and acted as a liaison between the ER waiting room and the ER treatment areas, assisted ER staff and aided physicians, nurses, and other staff when performing research for the chemical studies in various departments. Victoria also volunteered at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from December 1998-May 2000 interacting with patients and performing general office support duties for medical staff. During the summer of 1999, Victoria was student intern at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica accompanying cardiologists on hospital rounds, observing various procedures, and preparing patients for EKGs and echocardiograms. Victoria can be reached directly via e-mail at:

    Orlando Pérez would like to pursue graduate and medical degrees in the neurosciences. His goal is to become a successful neurosurgeon involved in developing neurosurgery techniques and instruments for better recovery. Orlando will be graduating from the University of California at Davis this fall with a Bachelors of Science Degree in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior. Prior to beginning graduate studies, he would like to obtain a research assistant position where he can actively participate in laboratory research. Orlando has gained laboratory experience while completing his B.S. degree. Since September 2003, he has been working in the laboratory of Robert F. Berman, Ph.D., in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UC Davis. There research aims to gain understanding of the mechanisms involved in brain injury, and to develop treatments designed to facilitate repair and recovery. Orlando’s lab responsibilities include: Traumatic brain injury surgeries and instrumentation (lateral fluid percussion instrument, stereotaxic); post operative care; perfusion, behavioral studies (pre- and post- operatively); and histology. In addition, Orlando worked during the summer of 2003 in the laboratory of Dr. Christine Gall in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility, UC Irvine. Research interests focused on the regulation of neuronal gene expression and it effects on neuronal plasticity. Orlando’s responsibilities included establishing a complete histology service including tissue processing, embedding, sectioning and H&E staining for fixed tissues, in addition to creating and staining frozen sections. Orlando can be reached directly via e-mail

    Eric Signoff recently graduated with honors, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in biological basis of behavior and linguistics, with a minor in chemistry, from the University of Pennsylvania. He has moved to Los Angeles to teach at the Polytechnic School, and would like to volunteer in a research laboratory evenings and weekends. He has research experience in rehabilitation medicine, neuropathology, and cognitive psychology in labs at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. His senior honors thesis (mentor, Dr. John Trueswell) was titled, “Defining and relating ‘passive bilingualism’ to agrammatism in aphasia.” From 2001-2005, he conduced clinical research at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Rose Biester, and was co-author on a paper entitled, “Studying Efficacy of Amantadine to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury Induced Tremor.” During the summer of 2002, Eric worked as a research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Mangels at Columbia University. There he conducted research in cognitive psychology, performed EEGs, data analysis and assisted in developing research studies. Eric can be reached directly via e-mail


    Neuroscience News serves as the primary vehicle for disseminating information to the UCLA neuroscience community. It is published solely on the Brain Research Institute’s web site and distributed to the BRI Calendar E-mail list. Please submit all information to the BRI editorial office, E-mail, or call extension 56055 or 55061.

    Editor: Linda Maninger