Neuroscience News Winter 2006

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute
Winter, 2006
Volume 15, No. 1

Table of Contents



    The Brain Research Institute welcomes its newest members, Dr. Liana Apostolova, Assistant Professor of Neurology; Dr. James W. Bisley, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology; Dr. Gal Bitan, Assistant Professor of Neurology; Dr. Maria Castro, Professor of Medicine, and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology; Dr. Pedro Lowenstein, Professor of Medicine, and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology; Dr. Whitney B. Pope, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology; Dr. Carlos Portera-Cailliau, Assistant Professor of Neurology, and Neurobiology; Dr. David B. Teplow, Professor of Neurology; and Dr. Cho-Lea Tso, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology & Oncology.

    Liana Apostolova received a M.D. degree from the Medical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. She then moved to the United States to complete her residency training in neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Dr. Apostolova joined UCLA as the Tichi Wilkerson-Kassell Dementia Fellow in the Department of Neurology in 2003. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology, and a faculty member in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UCLA.

    Dr. Apostolova conducts neuroimaging research in Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and other neurodegenerative disorders. “My current research investigates the magnetic resonance imaging markers predictive of conversion of MCI to AD, as well as functional localization and functional connectivity in normal and abnormal cognition.”

    James Bisley received a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He then completed postdoctoral training in neuroscience at the University of Rochester, New York, the National Eye Institute, and Georgetown University, and at Columbia University. In 2003, Dr. Bisley was appointed as Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University. Dr. Bisley joined UCLA as an Assistant Professor of Neurobiology in 2006.

    Dr. Bisley’s research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception, visual attention and visual memory. “Specifically, I have focused on 2 questions: What are the neural mechanisms underlying the allocation of visual attention and how are moving stimuli encoded and remembered in the brain. To answer these questions, I work with animals that are trained to perform simple behavioral tasks. I then use techniques such as single unit recording, reversible inactivation, microstimulation and long-term lesion studies. Recently, I have been studying the responses of neurons in posterior parietal cortex, while the animals perform under naturalistic viewing conditions. I am also running experiments that are aimed at understanding how information about visual motion is stored in short-term memory tasks. Finally, I have a continuing study aimed at understanding distractions based on a hierarchal model of the attentional allocation system.”

    Gal Bitan received a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He then completed postgraduate training in structural biology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in peptide and protein chemistry at both the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. In 2003, Dr. Bitan was appointed as an instructor in neurology in the Center for Neurologic Disease at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 2004, Dr. Bitan joined UCLA where he is currently Assistant Professor of Neurology in the David Geffen School of Medicine.

    Dr. Bitan is a chemist by training, working in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, with strong interests in structural biology, aberrant protein folding, and rational drug design. Dr. Bitan has made fundamental contributions to the study of early events in the pathologic cascades that cause Alzheimer's disease, including the introduction of rapid photo-cross-linking techniques for investigation of amyloid β-protein assembly and the discovery of the earliest assembly intermediate, the paranucleus. His research focuses on development of novel, mechanism-based drugs for Alzheimer’s disease.

    Maria Castro received a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the School of Biological Sciences at the National University of Argentina, La Plata. She moved to the United States, as a Fogarty Visiting Research Fellow, joining the Laboratory of Neurochemistry and Neuroimmunology, at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Upon completion of her fellowship, Dr. Castro moved to the United Kingdom. She held appointments as a senior research fellow in the Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology at the University of Reading, as a lecturer at the Dundee Institute of Technology, at the University of Wales College of Cardiff, and at the University of Manchester. In 1995, Dr. Castro was appointed Co-Director of the Molecular Medicine and Gene Therapy Unit, and in 1998, Professor of Molecular Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Manchester. Dr. Castro returned to the U.S. in 2001, and is currently Professor of Medicine, and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, and Co-Director of the Board of Governor’s Gene Therapeutic Research Institute and the Division of Molecular Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

    Dr. Castro’s area of research interest is brain tumor immunology and gene therapy technologies. “My laboratory is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying brain tumor regression and immunological long-term memory in pre-clinical models of glioblastoma (GBM). Our group has uncovered the role of plasmocitoid dendritic cells (pDC) in mediating tumor regression and initiating both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune response against intracranial tumors. We are currently working with immune cells’ knock out mice to establish the phenotype of immune cells responsible for long-term memory in the syngeneic GBM models. We are establishing gutless and lentivirus vectors with the aim of imaging in vivo and non-invasively the trafficking of activated immune cells in and out of the central nervous system.”

    Pedro Lowenstein received a M.D. degree and a Ph.D. degree from the School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was trained and educated in science by Drs. Daniel Cardinali, Jaim Etcheverry, and Eduardo De Robertis. In 1984, he moved to the United States to complete a postdoctoral research fellowship in psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph T. Coyle, followed by a fellowship at the Laboratory of Neurochemistry at NINCDS, NIH, in the laboratory of Dr. Harold Gainer. He then moved to the United Kingdom, and held appointments as a research scientist in the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit in Oxford, under the direction of Dr. Peter Somogyi, after which he moved as a lecturer to the University of Dundee, and was later appointed as a senior lecturer at the University of Wales College of Cardiff. In 1993, Dr. Lowenstein was appointed as a research fellow at the Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine, and in 1995 named the Lister Institute Professor of Molecular Medicine and Gene Therapy at the University of Manchester School of Medicine. Enamored of the British way of life, but past his tolerance for bad weather, in 2001 Dr. Lowenstein moved back to the U.S., and is currently Professor of Medicine, and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at UCLA and, Director of the Gene Therapeutics Research Institute, Bram and Elaine Goldsmith Chair in Gene Therapeutics, and Co-Director of the Division of Molecular Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

    Dr. Lowenstein's research program relates to the cellular and molecular basis of brain-immune responses and their manipulation to eliminate viral infections and treat tumors in the central nervous system. "My team is engineering the brain micro-environment, using viral vectors to deliver cytokines, chemokines and transcription factors. One of the aims is to create lymphatics, and recruit dendritic cells to the brain, two central immune components missing from the brain, which we have evidence can help to eradicate brain tumors. We are also interested in understanding the cellular and molecular basis for the interactions between the brain and the immune system, being particularly fascinated by how the immune system regulates brain gene expression, function and structure in health and disease, i.e. in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Finally, much of neuroimmunology makes only sense when examined from an evolutionary perspective. Thus, we are interested in understanding how the human brain’s immune system has been slowly derived by natural selection during the last billion years of life on the blue planet."

    Whitney Pope received a Ph.D. degree in neurobiology and physiology from Northwestern University, and a M.D. degree from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine. He then completed an internship in the Department of Medicine at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, and a residency in radiological sciences at UCLA. He continued postdoctoral training as a fellow in the Division of Neuroradiology in the Department of Radiological Sciences, and in 2004 was appointed Assistant Professor of Radiological Sciences.

    Dr. Pope’s major area of research interest is brain tumors. “My research focuses on the imaging of brain tumors, using advance magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques such as perfusion and diffusion imaging. Additionally, in collaboration with members of the Department of Nuclear Medicine, I am using MR images fused to positron emission tomography (PET) studies to follow the response of brain tumors to new therapies.”

    Carlos Portera-Cailliau received his M.D.-Ph.D. (Neuroscience) degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He then completed his training in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital (Harvard Medical School) where he was elected Chief Resident. Dr. Portera-Cailliau completed his postdoctoral research training first at Columbia University in the laboratory of Dr. Rafael Yuste, and then at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory under Dr. Karel Svoboda. He has also trained as a clinical fellow in movement disorders at the Center for Parkinson Disease and other Movement Disorders of Columbia University Medical Center under the mentorship of Dr. Stanley Fahn. Dr. Portera-Cailliau joined UCLA in 2004 where he currently holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor of Neurology, and Neurobiology.

    “My laboratory is interested in studying how cortical circuits are assembled during brain development using two-photon microscopy in vivo and in vitro. We are investigating the role of dendritic filopodia, which are precursors to spines in pyramidal neurons, in synapse formation. Filopodia differ from spines in that they are longer, lack bulbous heads, and are more motile. These attributes suggest an exploratory role for filopodia. Filopodia are believed to be important for establishing early synaptic contacts with axons. We have previously shown that filopodia elongate in response to glutamate, suggesting that glutamate released by nearby axons might recruit available filopodia to form early synapses. But how does the dendrite translate the glutamate signal to the actin cytoskeleton for filopodial extension? How long does it take a filopodium to make a synapse? How are spines subsequently generated? We are studying the regulation of filopodial synaptogenesis by glutamate receptors and signaling cascades that affect actin polymerization using pharmacological and molecular approaches.

    “We are also investigating the mechanisms of growth and pruning of thalamocortical (TC) axons. The development of axonal arbors is critical for the establishment of precise neural circuits, but relatively little is known about the mechanisms of axonal elaboration and target recognition in vivo. What is the exact balance between growth and pruning of axonal tips? How do branches arise and how are they pruned? Do all axons in a particular target region develop in a similar manner or are multiple strategies employed? We use in vivo two-photon time-lapse microscopy to image axons in the neocortex of GFP transgenic mice over the first three weeks of postnatal development. We have imaged Layer 1 and 2/3 collaterals of TC axons repeatedly over time scales of minutes, hours, or days. We want to explore the molecular mechanisms of axon growth and pruning, using in utero electroporation to express or knock-down genes of interest.”

    David Teplow completed his graduate work in tumor and molecular immunology at the University of Washington, where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Teplow’s graduate work, which involved protein chemical studies of cell surface receptors, led him to Caltech in Pasadena, where he worked first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a junior faculty member to develop highly sensitive methods for protein primary structure analysis and to apply these new methods to the study of proteins in the nervous system. From 1991–2004, Dr. Teplow was a faculty member in the Departments of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, where he established a research program to understand the structural biology of the amyloid β-protein (Aβ) and its contribution to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Teplow joined the faculty at UCLA in 2005, where he currently is a Professor of Neurology, a member of the Molecular Biology Institute, and Director of the Biopolymer Laboratory at UCLA.

    Dr. Teplow is a leader in the areas of the structural biology of amyloid proteins and the biophysics of amyloid assembly. The Teplow laboratory seeks to understand and treat neurodegenerative disorders linked to pathologic protein folding. “In AD, Aβ self-associates to form a variety of oligomeric and polymeric structures with potent neurotoxic activities. Aβ oligomers have been found in vivo in AD patients and may be the proximate neurotoxins in the disease. To understand how the nascent Aβ monomer folds and assembles into neurotoxic forms, an interdisciplinary strategy is utilized comprising in vivo, in vitro, in vacuo, and in silica approaches. The long-term goal is to discover the key factors controlling production of neurotoxic assemblies and then to target these factors in strategies for drug development.”

    Cho-Lea Tso received a Ph.D. degree, and completed her postdoctoral training, in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2004, Dr Tso was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology & Oncology at UCLA.

    Dr. Tso’s area of research interest is brain cancer stem cells (glioblastoma). “My research focuses on characterization of glioblastoma (GBM) stem cells, which are previously unrecognized subpopulation within tumors that are likely responsible for tumor initiation and tumor recurrence. We characterize the properties of GBM stem cell in cellular, molecular, genomic, and functional levels both in vitro and in vivo. We aim to identify key factors and potential pathways that trigger the dysregulated self-renewal, differentiation and sustained tumor growth. Findings from these studies will contribute fundamental information towards establishing the identity, mechanisms and role of GBM stem cells in tumorigenesis, malignant progression and resistance to treatment. Ultimately, this knowledge and experimental results may translate into new strategies for developing and designing an effective GBM stem cell-targeted anti cancer therapy, which is not targeted in the current brain cancer therapy.”

    The Brain Research Institute is happy to welcome its newest members.


    The BRI congratulates the meritorious achievements of Dr. Donald Becker, and Dr. Lawrence Kruger.

    Donald P. Becker, W. Eugene Stern Professor of Neurosurgery, has been named Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the David Geffen School of Medicine. In addition, the Division of Neurosurgery presented Dr. Becker with a Visionary Award at its inaugural Visionary Ball fund-raiser in October, 2005. Dr. Becker is known as a world leader in fundamental research into the mechanisms of brain tissue and brain cellular injury and recovery from trauma, attendant ischemia and intracranial pressure.

    Lawrence Kruger, Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology, was elected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science Council as a Fellow. Dr. Kruger was recognized for his contributions to science at the Fellows Forum held at the association’s annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, this past February.

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


    Theodore Bullock, one of the founders of the BRI, passed away on December 20, 2005, at the age of 90. Together, the “Big 5,” as Carmine Clemente called them – Theodore Bullock, John French, Donald Lindsley, Horace “Tid” Magoun, and Charles “Tom” Sawyer – helped orchestrate the development of the strong base in neuroscience at UCLA upon which the BRI was founded.

    Theodore H. Bullock joined UCLA in 1946 in the Department of Zoology, concentrating on the physiology of neuronal and integrative mechanisms in invertebrates (e.g., jellyfish, sea slugs, squid) and vertebrates (electric fish, eels, reptiles, sloths, and others). His pioneering investigations included studies of sensory systems, especially in fish, neurophysiology of nerve cells, and electrical activity and evolution of the brain. He helped establish the field of comparative and integrative neurobiology, and was admitted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1963. He was among BRI faculty involved in planning a new Marine Biology Facility to enable studies of brain and behavior in sea forms, jointly sponsored by the BRI and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla. The new facility, situated in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was completed in 1965. Also in 1965, he and G. Adrian Horridge co-authored a benchmark two-volume reference still considered essential, Structure and Function in the Nervous Systems of Invertebrates. In 1966, he left UCLA to join the newly-formed Department of Neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, and he later became director of the Marine Biology Facility at Scripps in 1970. Although he retired from the faculty in 1982, he continued his research and maintained strong ties to UCSD and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography until the day of his death.

    Ted Bullock received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1940, and throughout his career published a number of influential papers. In 2002, he listed his current research interests as “Basic neurophysiology of nerve cells and organized groups of them from system, communication and integrative points of view; coding; recognition; modes of interaction; spontaneous activity; origin of pattern; comparative neurology of invertebrates and lower vertebrates, in relation to behavior. Lateral line, acoustic, and equilibratory sensory systems, especially in fish; electrical activity of the brain, from the comparative viewpoint; evolution of the brain.” A detailed description of Ted Bullock’s life and far-ranging scientific interests can be found in his 1995 autobiographical summary, at; A list of many of his publications can be viewed as part of his web profile at

    The impact of Ted Bullock’s pioneering research, dedication, and many contributions to neuroscience and the education and training of scientists will continue for years to come. During the course of his career, he served as mentor to 35 Ph.D. students who completed their doctorates under his guidance. In addition to his appointment to the National Academy of Sciences, his contributions were acknowledged with many other honors and awards, including the Gerard Prize from the Society for Neuroscience (of which he served as president from 1973-74), the Lashley Prize from the American Philosophical Society, a Queen’s Fellow in marine biology in Australia, and a number of honorary doctorates. He ardently loved his work, and stated in his autobiography that, “…The privilege and good fortune of being able to do science, to profess research, to think hard and long about what needs to be done and then do it and then write about it and lecture about it is so vividly real and ever-present that one almost feels guilty of self-indulgence….” The BRI was extremely fortunate to have had Ted Bullock as one of its founding members.

    In addition to his wife of 68 years, Martha, Ted Bullock is survived by his son Stephen; daughter Christine Kazman; and five grandchildren.


    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience series will resume Spring quarter beginning April 4, 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.

    Spring 2006 Preview

    April 4, 2006
    The Charles H. (Tom) Sawyer Distinguished Lecture
    “Stress and the Mind-Body Connection: Lessons from Neuroendocrinology”
    Bruce S. McEwen, Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, New York
    (Host: Art Arnold and the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology)

    April 11, 2006
    “Growth and Survival Signals Controlling Development of the Peripheral Nervous System”
    David D. Ginty, Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
    (Host: Yi Sun)

    April 18, 2006
    “Novel Ion Channel Functions of Aquaporins in the Brain”
    Andrea Yool, Department of Physiology & Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona
    (Host: Felix Schweizer)

    April 25, 2006
    “Synaptic Integration of Sensory Input by Single Neurons In Vivo”
    Michael A. Hausser, Department of Physiology, University College London, United Kingdom
    (Host: Spencer Smith)

    May 2, 2006
    “Title to be Determined”
    Yadin Dudai, Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
    (Host: Alcino Silva) 

    May 9, 2006
    The Grass Traveling Scientist Distinguished Lecture
    “The Neural Basis of Learning and Memory Mechanisms Underlying Drug Addiction”
    Barry J. Everitt, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
    (Host: Michael Fanselow)

    May 16, 2006
    “From Peppers to Peppermints: The Molecular Biology of Pain”
    David J. Julius, Department of Cell & Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco
    (Host: Larry Zipursky)

    May 23, 2006
    The Fourteenth Annual Samuel Eiduson Student Lecture
    John Ohab, Interdepartmental Graduate Program for Neuroscience, UCLA
    “A Novel Neurovascular Niche for Neurogenesis after Stroke”
    (Host: Michael Levine)

    May 30, 2006
    Speaker and Title to be Determined
    (Host: Felix Schweizer)

    June 6, 2006
    The Third Annual Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience Lecture
    “Title to be Determined”
    Catalina Abad, Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA
    (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.


    The McKnight Endowment Fund For Neuroscience 2007 McKnight Brain Disorders Awards
    Application - Deadline: April 3, 2006.

    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 Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award assists scientists working to apply the knowledge achieved through basic research to human brain injury or disease. Up to six awards are made annually, each providing $100,000 per year for three years.

    Use of Award Funds

    The Endowment Fund established the McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award to help translate laboratory discoveries about the brain into diagnoses and therapies to improve human health. Examples of projects include (but are not limited to): using a model organism to study the function of disease genes; applying novel technology (imaging, genomics, proteomics) to achieve early diagnosis, or to identify the pathogenesis of a brain disease; applying principles of gene transfer, stem cell biology, and axonal growth to neural repair and to the recovery from brain disorders.


    Candidates should be a scientist doing basic biological or biomedical research who proposes to apply his/her knowledge and experience to improve the understanding of a brain disorder or disease.

    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 tenured-track, faculty positions. Applicants may not be employees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute or scientists within the intramural program of the National Institutes of Health. Funds may be used toward a variety of research activities, but not the recipient’s salary. Collaborative and cross-disciplinary applications are explicitly invited.

    Selection Process

    To apply, submit a two-page letter of intent explaining how McKnight award support would permit new approaches and accomplishments toward the development of translational research. 
    In your letter, please address the following questions: 1) What clinical problem are you addressing? 2) What are your specific aims? 3) How will the knowledge and experience you have gained in basic research be applied to improving the understanding of a brain disorder or disease? The letter should clearly describe how the proposed research will uncover mechanisms of brain injury or disease and how it will translate to diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure.

    The deadline is April 3, 2006. Letters should not exceed two pages or 750 words. At the top of the first page, please include: the principal investigator’s name, institution, mailing address, email, and a title for the project.

    The selection committee will invite a small number of applicants to submit more detailed proposals, which will be due September 27, 2006. Funding begins February 1, 2007. Committee members are: Larry Squire, Chair; David Anderson; Charles Gilbert; Jeremy Nathans; Eric Nestler; Chris Walsh; and Huda Zoghbi.

    Please send letters of intent to: 
    McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award 
    The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience 
    710 South Second Street, Suite 400 
    Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

    Society for Neuroscience- Neuroscience Scholars Program

    Each spring, the Society for Neuroscience accepts applications for its Neuroscience Scholars Program. This program is designed to enhance career development and professional networking opportunities for pre- and postdoctoral minority students in neuroscience.

    The program, made possible through a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), provides fellows with the following: Travel assistance to participate in SfN's annual meetings, including special program activities; supplemental funds to participate in enrichment activities outside the fellow's home institution; complimentary SfN membership with a subscription to The Journal of Neuroscience online; guidance at the Society's annual meeting and year-round through individual mentors, and the chance to meet with one or more senior neuroscientists of your choice during the annual meeting.

    Fellows are selected according to the following criteria: Academic excellence; professional goals; research interests, and experience. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Past fellowship recipients are not eligible to apply. Candidates are notified of the selection committee's decision in September. Application deadline: Monday, July 17, 2006

    Application in pdf format:

    Sample advisors biosketch in pdf format:

    Mentoring Opportunity

    The Society for Neuroscience is seeking members who are interested in becoming a mentor for our Neuroscience Scholars Program. As a mentor, you will inspire young scientists by meeting with them during the annual meeting and providing assistance throughout the year. Mentors will receive recognition for their efforts in Nexus, SfN's electronic newsletter, and at the annual meeting. For more information please contact.

    Neuroscience Scholars Program 
    Society for Neuroscience 
    1121 14th St., NW, Suite 1010 
    Washington, DC 20005 
    Phone: 202-962-4000; Fax: 202-962-4941 

    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:

    The Center for Computational Biology

    The Center for Computational Biology (CCB) at UCLA was established to develop, implement and test novel computational biology methods that are applicable across spatial scales and biological systems.

    This RFA intends to solicit outstanding new proposals that will provide fresh, exciting and challenging biomedical problems and applications to serve as driving forces for the development of modern mathematical models and computational tools within the CCB.

    Program description, eligibility, deadline and the application process are described online at: and

    For More Information please contact:
    Arthur W. Toga, Ph.D., PI
    Center for Computational Biology
    Laboratory of Neuro Imaging
    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
    635 Charles Young Drive South, Suite 225 Los Angeles, CA 90095-7334
    Tel (310) 206-2101; Fax (310) 206-5518 Email


    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


    Laboratory Assistant-Molecular & Cellular Research

    A Laboratory Assistant position is currently available, conducting molecular and cellular research with transgenic mouse models of neurological disorders. Duties include: 1) Prepare solutions, chemical reagents and perform DNA extraction and PCR analysis; 2) Prepare for and perform brain extractions on transgenic mice and rats; 3) Laboratory animal colony care and maintenance; 4) Organize experimental data and procedures; 5) Maintain experimental records and protocols, and 6) Assist students, post-docs, and senior electrophysiologists. Experienced individual preferred with at least an undergraduate degree in one of the majors in biological sciences and/or biochemistry. Salary and job title commensurate with experience; position available immediately.

    Please contact Pamela Rawlins by e-mail at, or phone (310) 825-0404.


    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.

    Omar Chowdhry would like to obtain a summer research position. He would prefer a paid position, but may be willing to work as a volunteer on a project which is being submitted for publication to a scientific journal. Omar is currently a student at Midwestern University of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2009. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors) in integrative biology with emphasis on human biology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. Omar has nearly two years of clinical research experience. He worked with Dr. Mohammad Yasin Sheikh at the University Medical Center at UCSF as a research assistant where investigations focused on the strong correlation between loss in bone mass and hepatitis C treatments. Omar helped organize the project to evaluate bone mineral density in 75 chronic hepatitis C patients treated with combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks. His previous experience was as a staff research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Cedric Shackleton, Head Scientist at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. There Omar worked on a variety of projects including identification of urinary mouse steroids and body fluid testing (sera and urine) for steroid disorders, including prenatal testing. Results were analyzed to determine whether disorders like SLOS (Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome) or STS (Steroid Sulfatase Deficiency) were present. Omar’s additional projects include quantification of 7-dehydrocholesterol in knockout mice, and quantification of cholesterol in human sera for a Merck® Pharmaceutical clinical study. Omar can be contacted directly

    Amity Green graduated with honors in psychophysiology with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Brain Sciences Institute at Swinburne University, in Melbourne, Australia. She recently moved to the U.S. and is looking to continue her career in neuroscience research. She is willing to volunteer her time in order to gain more experience and hopefully work into a paid position. During her final year at the university and just before she left Australia, she was working at the Cabrini Sleep Centre as a Sleep Scientist, and in the months prior gained some experience as a Research Assistant and EEG Technician at the Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic. Amity’s cover letter and resume area available from the editorial office, or contact Amity directly

    Dnyanesh Tipre received a Ph.D. degree from the Department of Chemical Technology at the University of Mumbai, Bombay in 2002, and recently completed three-and a-half year’s postdoctoral research in PET imaging at the National Institutes of Health. He has gained experience in basic and clinical PET imaging and would like to pursue research in this field. Dr. Tipre’s CV is available from the editorial office, or contact Dr. Tipre directly

    Yuanzi Zhao received a Ph.D. degree in anesthesiology from the Capital University of Medical Sciences in China, in 2003. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in physiology at the University of Missouri, and most recently has worked as a research scholar at the University of Iowa. There her research focuses on the central cellular mechanisms of angiotensin II (AngII) induced hypertension and the role of estrogen in this process. Her experiments are being carried out by utilizing an in vitro living mouse brain slice preparation and real-time confocal microscopy to record the intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species ( ROS ) and calcium induced by AngII in subfornical organ (SFO) and area postrema (AP) neurons and the effects of 17?-Estradiol on AngII induced generation of ROS. Earlier projects completed during the course of her thesis studies investigated the effects of local anesthetic Ropivacaine on ion channels in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Voltage-gated sodium current, potassium current, ligand-gated GABAA evoked current and spontaneous firing were recorded sing whole cell patch clamp techniques. Dr. Zhao’s research interests are electrophysiology, pharmacology, cardiovascular and neurological research. She has extensive experience with patch clamp techniques, imaging studies using confocal microscopy, primary neuron culture and dissection of living brain slices. She is anxious to find a position in Los Angeles so that she can join her husband and family. Dr. Zhao’s CV is available from the editorial office, or contact Dr. Zhao directly or


    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