Neuroscience News Spring 2008

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute
Spring, 2008
Volume 17, No. 2

Table of Contents



    The Brain Research Institute welcomes its newest member, Dr. Zhefeng Guo, Assistant Professor of Neurology.

    Zhefeng Guo received a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003, working in the laboratory of Dr. Wayne Hubbel. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics studying the mechanism of domain swapping in amyloid fibril formation using site-directed mutagenesis and biochemical approaches, and also studying the structures of amyloid peptides in the context of a full-length protein using X-ray crystallography. Dr. Guo is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology.

    Dr. Guo’s major area of research interest is the structural biology of amyloid-related neurodegenerative diseases. “Our long-term goal is to understand the structural basis of amyloid-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and prion diseases, and to develop structure-based therapeutics. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than five million Americans. In Alzheimer's disease, amyloid beta (Abeta) protein plays a central role in disease development. Self-association of Abeta leads to the formation of oligomers and fibrils that are toxic to neuronal cells. Elucidating the structures of these oligomers and fibrils would contribute important insights into the mechanism of Alzheimer's disease. Currently, we are developing new approaches to study the structures of Abeta oligomers and fibrils using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. EPR is a powerful technique for studying protein structure, dynamics, folding, and protein-protein interactions. In the studies of amyloid proteins, EPR has some unique advantages over other structural techniques. We will also employ our new EPR approaches to study other proteins such as tau in Alzheimer's disease, alpha-synuclein in Parkinson's disease, huntingtin in Huntington's disease, and prion protein in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.”

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


    The BRI congratulates the meritorious achievements of Drs. Utpal Banerjee, Grégoire Courtine, Daniel Geschwind, Ming Guo, Edythe London and Gary Small.

    Utpal Banerjee, Professor of Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, and Biological Chemistry is a newly elected member in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This academy is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy-research centers.

    Grégoire Courtine, formerly a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. V. Reggie Edgerton, and currently an Assistant Professor and Director of the Experimental Neurorehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, was honored at the Postdoctoral Scholars Reception for important contributions to the missions of research, teaching and public service at UCLA.

    Daniel Geschwind, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences received the Autism Speaks 2008 Scientific Service Award for his outstanding contributions to Autism Speaks and to the field itself. Dr. Geschwind has been a champion of autism research since 1995, and is a founding member and chief scientific adviser for Autism Genetic Resource Exchange.

    Ming Guo, Assistant Professor of Neurology, and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, is the recipient of a Klingenstein Fellowship Award in the Neurosciences. Among the nine recipients of this award, Dr. Guo has been specifically recognized as the Eight Robert Ebert Clinical Scholar which honors Dr. Ebert’s contribution to academic medicine and to the Klingenstein Foundation, and each year honors the most outstanding physician/scientist among the awardees. In addition, Dr. Guo is the recipient of a McKnight Foundation Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award for her research on Drosophila models of Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Guo seeks to develop new models of Parkinson’s disease to study genes identified with the disease and to identify cellular defects related to certain genetic mutations. She plans to dissect the molecular mechanisms that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, which her research to date has shown is important in the disease.

    Edythe London, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology is the 2008 recipient of the Marian W. Fischman Lectureship Award. This award, established in 2001 in memory of Fischman, a leading scientist in the exploration of narcotics addiction, recognizes the contributions of an outstanding women scientist in drug abuse research.

    Gary Small, Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging, and Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, is the recipient of the 2008 Award for Research in Geriatric Psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists for his contributions to the advancement in this field. Dr. Small is an internationally recognized investigator in age-related memory loss and dementia. 

    Warm congratulations to Drs. Banerjee, Courtine, Geschwind, Guo, London and Small from the staff, students and faculty of the Brain Research Institute!


    Donald Novin, long-time member of the Department of Psychology and the BRI passed away on February 19, 2008. He will be greatly missed. 

    Don Novin joined UCLA as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in 1962 and remained until his retirement in 1994. During much of that time he was Chair of the Behavioral Neuroscience Area and Director of the NIH "Physiological Psychology" Training Grant, which he initially helped procure and which continues to this day as the longest-running such grant in the country. 

    Don was a dominant figure in research on the behavioral neuroscience of motivation. He made a number of major contributions toward understanding the mechanisms whereby need for water and food control the brain's states of thirst, hunger, and satiety. One of his earliest and best known contributions was to show the relationship between brain osmotic pressure receptors and thirst. Later in his career, when it became dogma that monitoring of need state was done by receptors within the brain, he had a major impact by demonstrating important roles for visceral receptors. 

    Early-onset Parkinson's disease forced his premature retirement, which occurred at a time when he was making what he considered his most important discoveries. As his disease progressed, he became less and less able to carry out normal activities. Until quite recently, however, he took great pleasure in visiting his corner office on the eighth floor of Franz Hall; stories of department politics, etc., were always a sure way to provoke a brief respite from his Parkinson's symptoms, which responded well to his active interest and involvement. He will be greatly missed. We offer our best wishes and condolences to his wife, Carolyn, and his sons, Wade and Eli. (Robert Bjork, Chair of Psychology)


    2008 Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 

    OutreachThis year, almost 400 elementary through high school students visited UCLA during BAW. Over 50 graduate and undergraduate students and faculty volunteered for the events. In addition, for the first time, funding was received from the GSA community service program to assist schools that might otherwise not be able to afford the trip to UCLA.

    Of the many events, the four-hour daily visits included interactive neuroscience activities and lab tours. Brain demonstrations were the most popular aspect of the program: groups of 7–10 students rotated around five stations and graduate students answered questions about the UCLA collection of human and animal brains.

    The lab tours were in keeping with the theme of UCLA Neuroscience—“from molecules to behavior”—with students attending a variety of labs. Interactive events included age-appropriate presentations on topics including brain injury, sensation, and lobe functions.

    Credit for this event goes to the organizing Neuroscience students, Nanthia Suthana, Marina Ziehn, Angela Rizk-Jackson, other students and faculty who participated and to Joe Watson, our newly appointed BRI Outreach Program Director. 

    BRI Sponsored California Science Fair Prizes. 

    This was the first year the BRI sponsored prizes for the California State Science Fair. The 57th Annual State Science Fair was held May 19-20th, at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, with over 900 middle and high school students competing. The BRI awarded multiple Neuroscience prizes for both the senior (grades 9-12) and junior (grades 6-8) levels, including Special Awards for top prizes and Recognition Awards. Winners’ projects varied from Cognitive Science to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

    Credit goes to Joe Watson for organizing the participation of the BRI in this event. Our judges were Joe Watson, Chris Evans, Ashley Scott, Libby O'Hare and Nanthia Suthana. The winners of the UCLA BRI Special Awards were: Devesh M. Vashistha (Senior, “The Role of Histone Modifications in Transcriptional Dysregulation of Neuronal Genes in Huntington’s Disease) and Alyssa L. Chan (Junior, “Alzheimer’s Disease: Inhibitory Effect of Metal and Metal-EDTA Complexes on Peroxidase Activity”). Recognition Awards included Sunil C. Bopdapati (Senior), Taylor A. Anderson (Senior), Alexandra Reale (Junior), and Christian T. Tanaka (Junior).



    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience series will resume Fall quarter beginning September 30, 2008. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium.

    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.

    Joint Seminars in Neuroscience
    Fall Quarter 2008 Preview

    September 30, 2008
    David Linden (Johns Hopkins)
    Host: Dean Buonomano

    October 7, 2008
    Dwight Bergles (Johns Hopkins)
    Host: Baljit Khakh

    October 14, 2008
    Ehud Isacoff (UC Berkeley)
    Host: Baljit Khakh

    October 21, 2008
    Stephen Smith (Stanford)
    Host: Kelsey Martin

    October 28, 2008
    Elaine Ostrander (NIH)
    Host: Chris Evans

    November 4, 2008
    Robert Malenka (Stanford)
    Host: William Yang

    November 11, 2008 
    No JSN- Veteran’s Day Holiday

    November 18, 2008
    No JSN- SfN Meeting, Washington, D.C.

    November 25, 2008 
    Speaker to be Determined

    December 2, 2008
    Richard Tsein (Stanford)
    Poster Session Distinguished Lecturer
    Host: Felix Schweizer


    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    2009 Sloan Research Fellowships

    The Sloan Research Fellowship Program was 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 researchers.

    The size of the award is $45,000 for a two-year period, beginning in September of 2009. 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.

    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.

    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    2009 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 $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 nomination.

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

    To Apply: 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.

    Special Application Instructions: 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, 2008- Sloan Research Fellowships; October 15, 2008 - 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
    Email: (Research Fellowships)
    Email: (Gail Pesyna, Sloan Industry Studies Fellowship Program Director)

    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 announcement on

    T32/T90 Neuroscience Training Grants at UCLA

    A number of training grants offer support to neuroscience graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Appointments are generally made each year at the beginning of the project period, but can be made during the entire year. All inquiries and applications must be submitted by the faculty mentor. The BRI frequently sends out “Call for Nominations,” so please watch for announcements. Mike Levine is submitting a T32 program to fund 1st and 2nd year Neuroscience students across the IDP, Neurobiology and Psychology programs which if successful will increase cross-talk among our training programs. 

    Of note is that the BRI has recently instated a committee (The BRI Committee for Enhancement of Neuroscience Training Programs) to determine where the BRI can help in the operation and submission of NIH T32 grants. The Chair of the Committee is the BRI Associate Director for Research Dr Bernard Balleine and several new initiatives regarding program recruitment, faculty information databases and ethics training will be put in place during the coming months.

    T32/T90 Neuroscience Training Grants at UCLA

    Grant Number

    PI Name

    Project Title

    Number Pre/Post



    Arnold, Arthur

    Neuroendocrinology, Sex Differences, and Reproduction

    5 Pre
    2 Post



    Chesselet, Marie-Francoise

    Training Program in Neural Repair     

    2 Pre
    2 Post



    Cohen, Mark

    Comprehensive Training in Neuroimaging Fundamentals and Applications   

    5 Pre



    De Vellis, Jean

    Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

    3 Pre
    5 Post



    Devaskar, Sherin

    Training in Neonatal and Developmental Diseases

    7 Post



    Dunkel Schetter, Christine

    Biobehavioral Issues in Physical and Mental Health

    3 Pre
    2 Post

    7/1 or 9/1


    Fanselow, Michael

    Training in Behavioral Neuroscience  

    3 Pre
    2 Post



    Feldman, Jack

    Training Program in Neural Microcircuits

    2 Pre
    2 Post



    Freimer, Nelson

    Training Grant in Neurobehavioral Genetics          

    4 Post



    Geschwind, Daniel

    Training Grant in Neurobehavioral Genetics

    4 Pre



    Glanzman, David

    Training Program in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology

    4 Pre

    7/1-6/30 in 09


    Hinkin, Charles

    Neuropsychology AIDS Fellowship

    3 Post

    Start 7/1 thru 9/1


    Irwin, Michael

    Post-Graduate Training Program in Psychoneuroimmunology and Mental Disorders

    3 Post
    2 yrs



    Leuchter, Andrew

    Research Training: Psychobiological Sciences

    5 Post



    London, Edythe

    Training Program in Translational Neuroscience of Drug Abuse

    3 Pre



    Monbouquette, Harold

    Biotechnology Training in Biomedical Sciences

    5 Pre



    O'Dell, Thomas

    Cellular Neurobiology

    4 Post



    Rawson, Richard

    UCLA Drug Abuse Research Training Center

    2 Pre
    3 Post

    1 yr--Varies


    Tidball, James

    Training in Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology

    4 Pre

    Oct 1
    1 year appt


    Travis, Gabriel

    Vision Research Training Grant

    6 Pre
    2 Post



    The Training Program in Neural Repair

    The Training Program in Neural Repair at UCLA is inviting applications for pre- and postdoctoral training support for the academic year 2008-2009. Trainees from all graduate programs and UCLA departments are eligible for support to work on scientific problems related to degeneration and repair of the nervous system. Faculty mentors must hold an Academic Senate Faculty position at UCLA. Nominations are accepted from faculty mentors only. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. at the time of the application. Trainees are required to participate in a weekly brown bag lunch seminar series, monthly workshop on innovative technologies, and biannual meetings with the program Steering Committee. Appointments on the training grant are for one year only, renewable on a competitive basis. Applications must be sent or delivered as a hard copy to Marie-Françoise Chesselet, Program Director, RNRC B114, UCLA, 710 Westwood plaza, Los Angeles CA 90095. Only letters of recommendation may be sent electronically to Applications must include: a letter of nomination from the mentor, GPA and GRE scores of the applicant, NIH format biosketch of trainee and mentor, other support information for the mentor, 2 letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant, and a 2 page description of the research project and how it relates to Neural Repair. Applications are due by June 2, 2008. For further information please contact Dr Chesselet at


    Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility*
    Confocal Microscopy
    For information, contact: 
    Dr. Matt Schibler X59783 (310-825-9783)

    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:

    Biopolymer Laboratory
    Peptide synthesis, amino acid analysis, Edman sequencing, mass spectrometry.
    For information contact:
    Margaret Condron x62088 (310.206.2088)

    Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
    For information, contact:
    Dr. Kym Faull X67881 (310-206-7881)

    * The BRI Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Core has moved in with the Advanced Light Microscopy Core, directed by Shimon Weiss and Laurent Bentolila. After a decade of operation on the first floor of the Gonda, joining these two facilities will result in a technically sophisticated confocal core on campus with considerably up-graded equipment and increased capacity compared to our current facility. The facility will have enhanced capability for FRET, FLIM, FCS, 2-photon microscopy and small animal imaging (zebrafish, flies and C. elegans). This core is centrally located on the B floor of the new California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) and will continue to be available to all faculty laboratories at UCLA. Dr. Matt Schibler who has admirably run the BRI core since its inception will continue to train users and run/maintain equipment in the new facility. For concerned regular users of the core please contact Matt if you require details of instrument availability in March and April; the exact date for completion of the move is not yet established. There should be little downtime since most of the new instruments are up and running. You may need to learn slight differences between the new confocals even though they run on the same software. At this time no increase in core usage fees is anticipated.


    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 Fellows, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

    Two open positions, available immediately, for Postdoctoral Fellows in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The first project involves expressing glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in rat brain using an inducible adenovirus vector, and testing its effects on cocaine self-administration in the rat. The second project involves studying the effects of chemotherapeutic agents on cognitive function and neurogenesis in the rat. Applicants should have a Ph.D. and a background in psychology, pharmacology or neuroscience Please contact:

    Robert N. Pechnick, Ph.D.
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
    Thalians Mental Health Center, Room E-123
    8730 Alden Drive
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    Phone 310-423-6206; Fax 310-423-0888

    NIH-funded Postdoctoral Positions Mechanisms of Plasticity and Neural Repair

    NIH-funded postdoctoral positions are available immediately for Ph.D. graduates to study mechanisms of plasticity and neural repair in the brain and spinal cord. Projects are centered on the effects of diet and exercise on cognitive abilities and neural repair, involving molecular and behavioral approaches. Productive experience in molecular biology or biochemistry is desirable. 
    Send resume:

    F. Gómez-Pinilla, Ph.D.
    Department of Physiological Sciences
    University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1527

    Postdoctoral Fellowship in Alcohol Research Rutgers University

    Rutgers University is seeking applications to fill immediate openings for NIAAA-supported postdoctoral fellowship positions in alcohol tesearch. Applicants should have (or anticipate having) a Ph.D. by August 2008. Strong quantitative skills are desirable. In particular, the postdoctoral fellow will help analyze longitudinal/experimental data and will have opportunities to write up findings and submit publications and grants with a strong transdisciplinary research team whose expertise includes translational clinical research, psychophysiology, quantitative, and developmental research. Starting salary is expected to be $35K plus benefits. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applicants should send a curriculum vitae, a personal statement describing research interests, up to three reprints or preprints, and three letters of recommendations to Marsha E. Bates, Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers University, 607 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Informal inquiries can be made to Marsha Bates, or Eun Young Mun Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled, but for thorough consideration, submit application materials by July 1, 2008. Rutgers is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants who are from underrepresented ethnic minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


    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 the editorial office at x56055. 

    Rishi Malla graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in physics and English. He then completed a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at San Francisco State University, refreshing his knowledge of the basics of organic chemistry and biology, and for the last several months has been volunteering as a technical assistant in a cell lab at UCLA. Rishi would like to obtain a research assistant position. His most recent experience includes:
    (1) Molecular Cell Biology and Cell Signaling--
    Cell culture, immunocytochemistry, Western Blot, DNA cloning and purification, cell cytometry, transformation, transfection, cell freezing, optical density photospectrometry; 
    (2) Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry Lab--
    Protease Inhibitor synthesis starting from amino acid, flash column chromatography, thin layer chromatography, NMR spectroscopy analysis with and without software, IR analysis & gas chromatography analysis, other separation techniques, rotational evaporator and vacuum setup; and (3) Physics--Use of oscilloscope, pulse height analyzer, photomultiplier, LabVIEW, Lock-In Amplifier, and Excel. Please contact Rishi directly via email at:

    Vandana Suresh graduated with a Master’s degree in physics and would like to obtain a research assistant position at UCLA. Vandana’s research interests are understanding the mechanisms underlying visual cognition, particularly the processes by which the visual apparatus perceives and integrates features such as color, shape, and texture into knowledge of a distinct and complete object. As a volunteer in the Social and Emotion Cognition Lab at Caltech, Vandana was involved in an ongoing project to determine how language, which is lateralized to the left hemisphere for most humans, is organized in the brain of people who have agenesis of the corpus callosum. With Prof. Adolphs and Dr. Paul, they examined verb generation using BOLD fMRI in adults with complete callosal absence. Vandana would like to learn more about techniques such as fMRI to gain a deeper understanding of underlying brain function during visual perception. Vandana’s CV is available in the editorial office, please contact: for further information.

    Mojdeh Toomarian recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in biology and a concentration in neuroscience. Mojdeh has worked in biological research laboratories for four years, accumulating a variety of lab skills and techniques including molecular biology, tissue culture, immunohistochemistry, and confocal microscopy. Mojdeh’s undergraduate thesis research was focused on the effects of astrocyte secreted factors on inhibitory neuron development; most experience is mainly in cellular and molecular neuroscience, but would like to continue adding to research experience in any field of neuroscience. Mojdeh’s CV is available in the editiorial office’ please contact for further information.

    Samantha Yeates is a sophomore majoring in psychology-neuroscience with a minor in chemistry at Saint Mary’s College. She would like to volunteer this summer to gain experience in a psychology research laboratory, and hopes to design and participate in projects pertaining to learning, memory, language processing, or related subjects. Please contact Samantha directly via email at:


    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,, or call extension 56055 or 55061.

    Editor: Linda Maninger