Neuroscience News Spring 2007

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute
Spring, 2007
Volume 16, No. 2

Table of Contents



    The BRI welcomes Dr. Carrie Bearden, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Dr. Yvette Bordelon, Assistant Professor of Neurology, and Dr. Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, Assistant Professor of Neurology, as new members in the Brain Research Institute.

    Carrie Bearden received a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. She then completed her postdoctoral training as a fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, completed an internship in clinical psychology in the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Services at UC San Diego and the San Diego VA Medical Center, an NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, and a fellowship in the Departments of Psychology, and Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. In 2003, Dr. Bearden joined UCLA and is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences.

    Dr. Bearden’s major areas of research interest are neurodevelopmental disorders, cognition, neuroimaging and the genetics of mood disorders and psychosis. "Research focuses on the identification of underlying vulnerability markers, or endophenotypes, for complex psychiatric disorders that typically develop during adolescence, primarily bipolar disorder and psychosis, which may advance our understanding of the genetic contributors and biological processes leading to these illnesses. One of my major research projects, in collaboration with Dr. Nelson Freimer, involves multi-generational pedigrees affected with bipolar disorder in a genetically isolated Latin American population. This work complements my ongoing collaborative studies in U.S. populations of potential neuroanatomic and cognitive endophenotypes for bipolar disorder. I am also investigating neural correlates of thought and language disturbance in adolescents that are at ultra-high risk for developing psychotic illness.”

    Yvette Bordelon received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her thesis work was performed with Dr. Marie-Françoise Chesselet and involved investigating mechanisms of cell death in an animal model of Huntington’s disease. She completed residency training in neurology at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, followed by a Movement Disorders Fellowship at Columbia University. Dr. Bordelon joined the faculty of the UCLA Neurology Department as assistant professor in 2004. She divides her time between clinical work in the Movement Disorders and Huntington’s Disease clinics and research in age-related neurodegenerative disorders. “Research interests focus on the translation of basic science research findings into the clinical practice of neurology and the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular. Efforts are concentrated in three areas: Development of biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Huntington disease and Parkinson disease; conduction of clinical trials in these disorders; and epidemiologic studies in Parkinson disease.”

    Seema Tiwari-Woodruff received a Master of Science degree in microbiology from Rani Durgavati University in Jabalpur, India, followed by a M.S. degree (chemistry) and Ph.D. degree (physiology) from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in physiology and neuroscience in the laboratory of Dr. Diane Papazian at UCLA, while concurrently appointed as a research-teaching assistant at Southern Illinois University. In 1999, Dr. Tiwari-Woodruff joined the UCLA Department of Neurology as a postdoctoral fellow, followed by an assistant research position in the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Bronstein. Dr. Tiwari-Woodruff is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Multiple Sclerosis Program.

    Dr. Tiwari-Woodruff’s area of research interest focuses on the proliferation and migration of oligodendrocytes during development and during demyelinating disease, and the pathology and neuroprotection in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. “My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms involved in proliferation and migration of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in the CNS with the goal of describing normal development and the pathology that occurs during demyelinating disease. We assay the spatial/temporal pattern of neuronal and oligodendrocyte dysfunction in the brain by using a variety of immuno-histochemical and electrophysiology techniques. Recently we have begun to investigate the role of gender specific hormones on oligodendrocyte function during developmental myelination and during remyelination.”

    The BRI is happy to welcome its newest members to the Institute.


    Congratulations to Drs. Carmine Clemente, Itzhak Fried, and James McCracken.

    Carmine Clemente was in the spotlight for an article “Anatomy of a Teaching Career,” in a recent issue of UCLA Today. Dr. Clemente arrived at UCLA in 1952 having been recruited by Horace W. Magoun, chair of the Department of Anatomy and one of the world’s leading figures in brain research. Magoun put his arm around Clemente, walked him out the back door of an Army quonset hut and showed him an enormous hole in the ground, the future site of the UCLA School of Medicine. Fifty-five years later, Dr. Clemente is still here -- a legendary figure who has taught practically every medical student since the medical school opened. He is known nationwide for his textbook, “Anatomy: A Regional Atlas of the Human Body” and “Clemente’s Anatomy Dissector.” An additional testament to Dr. Clemente’s teaching prowess is an award he received last fall--Alpha Omega Alpha’s prestigious Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award which recognizes significant contributions to medical education made by gifted teachers.

    Itzhak Fried, Professor of Surgery (Division of Neurosurgery), received a grant from the Dana Foundation for a three-center consortium to study cognition by direct recordings from the human brain. The “kick-off” conference will bring together researchers in the field of cognitive neuroscience from around the world and will be held June 22 & 23, 2007 in the Neuroscience Research Building auditorium at UCLA.

    James McCracken, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, has been awarded a $9.6 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to establish a multidisciplinary research center on childhood cognitive disorders. The new center at UCLA will seek to advance treatment approaches for cognitive deficits, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.

    Warm congratulations to Drs. Clemente, Fried, and McCracken from the staff, students and faculty of the Brain Research Institute!


    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience will resume Fall quarter, 2007. Mark your calendars and plan to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium.


    October 2, 2007
    Gene Block (UCLA)
    Host: Chris Colwell
    October 9, 2007
    Ellen Lumpkin (Baylor)
    Host: Felix Schweizer

    October 16, 2007
    Ruth Anne Eatock (Harvard)
    Host: Peter Narins

    October 23, 2007
    Kari Stefansson (deCODE Genetics, Iceland) Host: Alvaro Sagasti

    October 30, 2007
    Karl Deisseroth (Stanford)
    Host: Stephanie White

    November 6, 2007
    No Joint Seminars in Neuroscience,
    Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, California

    November 13, 2004
    Douglas Wallace (UCI)
    Host: Ming Guo

    November 20, 2007
    Scott Thompson (University of Maryland)
    Host: Dean Buonomano

    November 27, 2007
    Poster Session Distinguished Lecturer
    Daniel Johnston (University of Texas)
    Host: Dean Buonomano

    December 4, 2007
    Lennart Mucke (UCSF)
    Host: Harry Vinters

    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.


    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowships
    2008 Sloan Research Fellowships

    The Sloan Research Fellowships were established in 1955 to provide support and recognition to young scientists, often in their first university faculty appointments. The award helps tenure track junior faculty at colleges or universities set up laboratories and establish their independent research projects in the following fields: physics, chemistry, mathematics, neuroscience, economics, computer science, and computational and evolutionary molecular biology. These highly competitive awards carry high prestige due to the careful nature of the selection process and the outstanding quality of past recipients, including many UCLA scientists.

    Candidates for the Sloan Research Fellowships must hold the Ph.D. (or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, economics, neuroscience, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, or in a related interdisciplinary field, and normally must be no more than six years from completion of the most recent Ph.D. (or equivalent) as of the year of nomination.

    The size of the award is $45,000 for a two-year period, beginning in September of 2008. The funds can be applied to a wide variety of uses such as: equipment, technical assistance, professional travel, trainee support, or any other activity directly related to the Fellow's research. Expenditures must be approved by the Fellow's department chair and must be in accord with the policies of the institution.

    2008 Sloan Industry Studies Fellowships

    The Sloan Industry Studies Fellowship program was launched in 2004 to support the development of research in industry studies by promoting research cooperation between academics and industry in order to understand the complex influences that shape industrial enterprises. They are modeled after the Sloan Research Fellowships. The size of the award is for $45,000 for a two-year period. The funds can be used by the Fellow for such purposes as travel to field locations, survey design and implementation, research assistance, faculty course buy-outs, summer support, or any other activity related to the Fellow's research. Expenditures must be approved by the Fellow's department chair and must be in accord with the policies of the institution.

    Candidates for the Sloan Industry Studies Fellowships must hold the Ph.D. (or equivalent) in economics, management, engineering, political science, sociology, or in a related or interdisciplinary field, and normally must be no more than six years from completion of their most advanced degree as of the year of their nomination.
    For both programs, special circumstances, such as a change of field, child rearing, military service, or a faculty appointment for less than two years, will be taken into consideration.

    For both programs, candidates in all eligible fields are normally below the rank of associate professor and do not hold tenure, but these are not strict requirements.
    For both programs, funds may not be used to augment an existing full-time salary or for indirect or overhead charges by the Fellow’s institution.

    The application procedure for both fellowship programs is posted on the Sloan website, where the nomination forms may also be downloaded. There is no limit to the amount of eligible nominations that UCLA may submit. For both programs, candidates must be nominated by department heads or other senior scholars. Nomination forms and all supporting materials are due to the sponsor by the deadline dates.

    For each UCLA nominee to either fellowship program, a completed UCLA Goldenrod must be routed to OCGA along with two copies of the nomination package. This will facilitate the administrative process in the event of an award.

    Application Due Dates: September 15, 2007 - Sloan Research Fellowships
    October 15, 2007 - Sloan Industry Studies Fellowships. For More Information:

    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    630 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2550
    New York NY 10111-0242
    Phone: (212) 649-1649
    (Michael Teitelbaum, Vice President)
    (Erica Stella, Sloan Research
    Fellowship Administrator)
    (Gail Pesyna, Sloan Industry Studies
    Fellowship Program Director)

    Post-Doctoral Fellowships at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

    Institut Pasteur announces the Fall 2007 deadline for fellowship applications. These three-year fellowship positions are open to U.S. citizens not currently in France wishing to work in the laboratories of the Institut Pasteur. Located in Paris and founded by Louis Pasteur in 1887, the Institut Pasteur is one of the world's leading private nonprofit centers for infectious disease research. With 2500 people of over 70 nationalities, its 130 research labs are devoted to the basic science of improving global public health.

    The first step is to identify a host lab; a complete list of laboratories may be found
    by visiting:

    The application deadline is Friday, September 7, 2007. This is one of two annual calls for applicants held in February and September each year. September applicants are notified in November and must commence by June 1st; February applicants are notified in April and must commence by December 1st. Please see application guidelines at: or contact offices at:

    420 Lexington Ave, Suite 1654
    New York, NY 10170
    Phone: (212) 599-2050

    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


    Postdoctoral Position -Neurophysiology in Mouse Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders

    A postdoctoral position is available immediately (July 1, 2007) to study neurophysiological alterations in the cortex and basal ganglia in mouse models of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Candidates must have experience with electrophysiological techniques such as patch clamp and/or intracellular recording in brain slices or similar preparations.

    Requirements: Doctoral degree in neuroscience or related field and a background in cellular electrophysiology. Salary (depending upon experience) will start between $35,000-$37,000 plus benefits.

    Candidates should submit an electronic application consisting of a letter, a curriculum vitae including summary of past accomplishments and research experience, and two-three reference letters to:

    Michael S. Levine, Ph.D., at Application can be mailed to:

    Michael S. Levine, Ph.D.
    Mental Retardation Research Center
    58-258 Semel Institute for
    Neuroscience and Human Behavior
    Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Telephone: (310) 825-7595
    FAX: (310) 206-5060

    Research Assistant Position

    A predoctoral graduate student position is available immediately in the Human Brain and Spinal Fluid Resource Center at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center (

    The research would focus on multiple sclerosis. Primary job responsibilities include investigating mRNA variations in MS plaques related to demyelination activity as well as controls, and antemortal factors affecting nucleic acid quality and quantity. Investigating the viral etiopathogenesis of MS is a major component of the project as well as controls. Cryosectioning will be used to prepare sections for histological classification of MS plaques as well as controls utilizing different stains. In addition, MS tissue and controls will be extracted for mRNA analyses.

    Candidates must have some experience with histological techniques (e.g., microtome sectioning, staining, use of microscope, etc.) and general laboratory techniques, as well as be familiar with universal precautions applicable to human specimen use. Computer and lab equipment familiarity is required.

    Candidates should submit curriculum vitae including summary of past accomplishments, research experience, publications and three reference letters to:

    Rashed M. Nagra, Ph.D.,
    Director, Human Brain and Spinal
    Fluid Resource Center
    Neurology Service (127A) 
    Building 212, Room 16 
    WLA VA Medical Center
    11301 Wilshire Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90073 USA
    Fax: (310) 268-4768

    Electronic applications are encouraged; Salary and employment options will be discussed during the interview.


    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.

    Kyle Ahlf is currently a graduate student at Pepperdine working on his Master’s degree. He is interested in abnormal psychology, especially Mood Disorders and more specifically Bipolar Disorder. He plans to continue graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. and eventually conduct research on mood disorders to try to find causes, preventions and further treatments. He has no laboratory experience, but has worked with bipolar and schizophrenic adults extensively. He would like to obtain a paid position, but is willing to volunteer in order to gain research experience. He will be available starting in September.

    Kyle’s resume is available in the editorial office. If interested, please contact him directly at:, or

    Gillian Stevens received her Bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 2004. She will be in Los Angeles this summer and is interested in volunteering in a research laboratory to gain experience prior to entering medical school. Her availability is fairly flexible and she is willing to work 30-40 hours a week. However, if she were to find a paying opportunity, she would need to cut back on her hours. She is available June-August definitely and possibly in the fall depending on her application status to medical school. Gillian’s research background is in evolutionary biology where she studied the mating behavior of nematode worms under the supervision of Professor Mike Palopoli. She developed interests in genetics and gene expression and their subsequent influences on behavior. She hopes to attend medical school in the fall. She is interested in learning more about the genetic components of diseases such as addiction, mental disorders, and movement disorders. She is also interested in conducting research that aims to understand the processes of the brain, how they work, where they are located, and how they can be safely manipulated. Her objectives for the summer include: Participating in a community committed to doing interesting and good work; being in an academically challenging environment where she will be encouraged to think critically, ask questions, and synthesize knowledge; and refocusing and defining her research interests in the medical field.

    A copy of Gillian’s resume is available in the editorial office. Please contact Gillian directly at; telephone (917) 856-4542.


    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