Neuroscience News Spring 2004

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute
Spring, 2004
Volume 13, No. 2

Table of Contents


Three new members recently joined the Brain Research Institute. The BRI welcomes Dr. Robert M. Bilder, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Psychology, Dr. Warren S. Grundfest, Professor of Surgery, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Natik Piri, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology.

Robert Bilder received a Ph.D. degree in psychology with an emphasis on experimental cognition and human neuropsychology from City College, City University of New York, in 1984. During the course of his graduate studies, Dr. Bilder also completed an internship in clinical neuropsychology in the Division of Neuropsychology, New York State Neurological Institute, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York. From 1984-1987, Dr. Bilder held varied research, clinical, and teaching positions at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Hospital, Columbia University, and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. In 1988, Dr. Bilder was appointed Chief of Neuropsychology at Hillside Hospital Division of Long Island Jewish Health System, and was appointed in 1989 as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) of Yeshiva University, and in 1995 was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. While continuing part-time at Hillside Hospital, in 1996 Dr. Bilder was appointed Associate Director for Human Research at the Center for Advanced Brain Imaging, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. In 2002, Dr. Bilder left the east coast to join UCLA, and is currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Psychology, Senior Research Scientist in the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, and Chief of Medical Psychology-Neuropsychology, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital.

Dr. Bilder's major areas of research interests are neuropsychology, neuroimaging, and schizophrenia. "Research focuses on structural and functional neuroimaging to better understand working memory and executive deficits, and the effects of genes, drugs, and schizophrenia on these processes. One study examines MR imaging of first episode schizophrenia in patients who have been followed longitudinally with clinical and neurocognitive assessments as they undergo a structured treatment algorithm with novel antipsychotic agents. The cortical and hippocampal surfaces of these brains have already been mapped, and the next phase is to map the functional correlates of structural abnormalities. Another study focuses on analysis of fMRI data collected in patients with schizophrenia and a history of violent/aggressive behavior, who were randomized to treatment with different antipsychotic agents, and had repeated fMRI measures while performing tests of response switching and inhibition. A new series of fMRI studies (pilot phase completed, remaining studies now being planned) focuses on the degree to which the maintenance functions of working memory depend on the perceptual representation of to-be-remembered material, and how the stability and updating of these representations may be affected by differences in certain candidate genes and psychopharmacological treatments.”
Warren S. Grundfest received a M.D. degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, in 1980. He completed residencies in general surgery at both UCLA, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Until 2001 he continued at UCLA as Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery and at Cedars-Sinai as Director of its Laser Research and Technology Development Program, and was named to the Dorothy and E. Philip Lyon Chair in Laser Research. Dr. Grundfest has held visiting appointments at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California School of Engineering. Dr. Grundfest is currently Professor of Surgery in the UCLA School of Medicine, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering in the UCLA School of Engineering.

Dr. Grundfest’s areas of major research interests focus on biomedical sensors, opitcs and lasers. “Current research covers a diverse array of topics. I am exploring applications of biologic spectroscopy and other techniques to the study of human pathophysiology. Techniques including time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging, and two-photon spectroscopy provide unique capablilities for the study of tissue and identificaiton of disease states. Characterization of disease based on molecular expression is feasible using these and other techniques.”

Natik Piri received a Ph.D. degree from the Shemyakin Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, in 1991. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute, and a one-year appointment as a postgraduate researcher. From 1995 to 2003, Dr. Piri served as an Assistant Research Ophthalmologist in the Stein Institute. Currently, Dr. Piri is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology in the Jules Stein Eye Institute 
Dr. Piri’s areas of research interest focus on the molecular biology of retinal ganglion cells. The main objective of Dr Piri’s research is aimed toward understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death in glaucoma. “Although, it has been established that RGC in glaucoma die by apoptosis the exact pathway from death stimulus to cell death is not completely understood. As an initial step, gene expression pattern altered in glaucomatous retinas will be analyzed using DNA microarrays and proteomics technologies, as well as using conventional molecular biology, biochemistry and genetic methods. I am also working on identification of new genes, expression of which is restricted to the retinal ganglion cells. Once these genes are identified, I will study their possible involvement in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies. The function of the corresponding proteins in RGC differentiation, metabolism and structural features will be investigated. Gene and protein expression studies may lead to a better understanding of the regulatory events involved in RGC apoptosis, and provide molecular targets for development of new therapeutic agents with neuroprotective effect in order to prevent or delay the loss of ganglion cells in glaucoma.”

The BRI is happy to welcome our new members to the Institute.”


The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience will resume Fall quarter. Mark your calendars and plan to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Louis Jolyon West Auditorium (C8-183, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA.


October 5, 2004
Mark Humayun, M.D., Ph.D., Doheny Retina Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 
(Host: George Scarlatis)

October 12, 2004
Harry Orr, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Tulloch Professor of Genetics, Director, Institute of Human Genetics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 
(Host: Nelson Freimer)

October 19, 2005
Jerry Rudy, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder
(Host: Michael Fanselow)

October 26, 2004
No Joint Seminars in Neuroscience Lecture
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

November 2, 2004
Takao Hensch, Ph.D., Brain Science Institute, Wako-shi, Japan
(Host: Stephanie White)

November 9, 2004
Anthony Grace, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(Host: Edythe London)

November16, 2004
Poster Session Distinguished Lecturer
David McCormick, Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
(Host Felix Schweizer)

November 23, 2004
Denis Pare, Ph.D., Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
(Host: Tad Blair)

November 30, 2004
Massimo Scanziani, Ph.D., Neurobiology Section, University of California, San Diego
(Host: Felix Schweizer)

December 7, 2004
Wolfgang Wurst, M.D., Institute of Developmental Genetics, Germany
(Host: Michael Fanselow)

The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience are sponsored by The Brain Research Institute and the Neuropsychiatric Institute; co-sponsored by the Interdepartmental Programs for Neuroscience, the Mental Retardation Research Center, and the Departments of Anesthesiology, Neurobiology, Neurology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Psychology, Physiology, Physiological Science, Ophthalmology, and Surgery/Neurosurgery.



Two predoctoral and two postdoctoral positions are available on an NIH-funded training grant for research relevant to Neural Repair at UCLA. Applicants MUST be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident of the U.S. at the time of the application. Starting date for predoctoral fellows is July 1, 2004 and for postdoctoral fellows, between July 1, 2004 and June 1, 2005. Only applicants who have obtained a M.D. or Ph.D. degree less than 12 months before the starting date are eligible for the postdoctoral positions. Appointments are for one year and may be renewed for an additional year on a competitive basis that requires a full application and proof of application for alternate funding. To apply send a letter of nomination from the faculty mentor, a brief (1-2 pages) research program, an NIH biosketch with list of publications, and two letters of recommendation to:

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


Funding is available for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the reproductive neuroendocrine laboratory of Dr. Nancy Wayne in the Department of Physiology at UCLA School of Medicine. The long-term goal of this NEW project is to understand the impact of external/internal signals on the cell physiology of GnRH neurons and downstream reproductive events. This project will provide a unique perspective on the functional links between input to the GnRH secretory system and reproductive output. This work uses transgenic fish models (zebrafish and medaka) in which GnRH neurons express fluorescent protein reporters in order to target specific neurons in the intact brain for cell physiological analysis. The lab is particularly interested in studying the effects of photoperiod, chemosensory cues, sex steroids, and development/aging on GnRH-neuron membrane excitability and calcium signaling in this unique model system. The candidate should have molecular and/or biophysical experience, and a keen interest in reproductive neuroendocrinology. Salary will be according to UCLA guidelines and experience of the candidate. Please send applications (cover letter including statement of research interest as it pertains to the above work, updated curriculum vitae, and names of 3 references), e-mail preferred, to:

Dr. Nancy Wayne
Department of Physiology, 53-231 CHS
UCLA School of Medicine
10833 Le Conte Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1751
E-mail:; phone: 310-794-1159; FAX: 310-206-5661.

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 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:
Brigitta Sjostrand X68054

Microscopic Techniques and Histological Preparation
For information, contact:
Sharon Sampogna X59848

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:



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.

Dr. Cecilia Glykys is seeking a job in the area of clinical research at UCLA. She is particularly interested in a position where her medical knowledge can be put into practice. Dr. Glykys received a M.D. degree from the University of Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela, in 2001. She then worked as a primary care physician, was the director of ambulatory services, and completed an internship in general medicine. In addition to treating patients, she also performed administrative duties including personnel management, pharmacy requisitions, and public health surveys such as an epidemiologic surveillance of her local community. Dr. Glykys came to Los Angeles after finishing her internship. For the last several months she has been a volunteer at UCLA in basic, as well as, in clinical research. Currently, she is a volunteer in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Research under the supervision of Dr. George Trummer and Dr. Nikola Hristov. Dr. Glykys is proficient in written and oral communication in both Spanish and English. She has also mastered many computer skills She is very interested in working in clinical research, and can be reached by email at

Anne Sinke is a student at the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands). He is studying biomedical sciences, working toward a bachelor degree. He is currently completing an internship in the Department of Nephrology. at the University Medical Center Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Upon completion of this internship, he will begin studying toward the Master’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences, with human pathobiology as his major. During his master studies, he is required to complete two internships. One of the internships he will carry out in The Netherlands, but the other one he would like to complete abroad. His field of interest is neurosciences, and he will be able to pay his own expenses during his internship. He would like to obtain a position at UCLA. His “internship” covers a period of 4 months, and provides for the cost of travel and daily living and housing expenses Anne Sinke has extensive course background in biomedical sciences, and has laboratory experience with several techniques used in the course of his research on “The glomerular expression of heperanase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-g) in normal and diabetical conditions.” (A.P. Sinke CV available in editorial office). Anne Sinke can be contacted directly by E-mail at: ; Anne Sinke, Van Goghstraat 24, 5151 SR Drunen, The Netherlands.


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