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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In recent years, research into the myriad complexities of the brain and neurophysiology has gained momentum at NJIT across diverse disciplines, including biology, biomedical engineering, mathematical sciences and computing. With the formal inauguration of the university's Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research (IBNR) in March, the efforts of NJIT researchers to increase basic understanding of the brain that could lead to new healing therapies for related injuries and disease will be more sharply focused and closely coordinated. As the primary home for all neuroscience initiatives at NJIT, the IBNR will serve as an umbrella and organizing framework for collaborative research and training in areas ranging from brain injury, to neural engineering, to neurobiology, to computational neuroscience. Researchers will investigate, for example, how specific behaviors are generated in the nervous system, the mathematical modeling of neural patterns in bacteria, animals and humans, and innovations in brain imaging and neurorehabilitation, among others. In opening remarks at the IBNR inauguration ceremony held in the Campus Center, NJIT President Joel Bloom offered a succinct summary of the new institute's working environment: "Very talented people working in teams across disciplines to solve very challenging problems." This perspective was similarly reiterated by NJIT Provost Fadi Deek, Professor of Biomedical Engineering Namas Chandra and Professor of Neurobiology Farzan Nadim. Chandra and Nadim, both distinguished researchers, are co-directors of the IBNR. As Chandra and Nadim emphasized, the IBNR will not only promote leading-edge integrative research but will also engage students at every level in this research. Chandra said, "We are beginning to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the brain. But this can only happen if knowledgeable people in many disciplines come together and speak the same language - the language of neuroscience. NJIT is providing the structure critical for making this happen." Nadim added, "The IBNR puts us in the position of having a truly interdisciplinary program in the neurosciences at NJIT. Involving undergraduate and graduate students in the work of the institute will clearly reinforce how interdisciplinary collaboration is fundamental to meeting the challenges we propose to approach, which include acquiring more comprehensive knowledge of the normal brain so that we can understand what's wrong with respect to diseases and disorders." Provost Deek said that the IBNR sets a high bar for research and education at the university, not only in terms of successful scientific investigation but also to the extent that it succeeds in valuing participation by junior as well as senior faculty, and by an increasing presence of women and minorities historically underrepresented in such leading-edge initiatives. Referencing the university's current strategic plan, 2020 Vision, Deek said that the IBNR is "how the university will look in 2020." "Establishing the IBNR is a milestone of superb collaborative synergy among faculty, staff and students," said Atam Dhawan, NJIT's vice provost for research, in his welcoming remarks. At NJIT, as Dhawan explained, this synergy integrates numerous related efforts across disciplines and research centers. It will also make the IBNR a focal point for collaboration with a wide range of other institutions and funding organizations. Cooperation in working toward common goals in brain and neuroscience research already involves Rutgers University-Newark, Rutgers Biomedical Health System, part of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, the Brain Health Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the Kessler Foundation. The National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the Kessler Foundation are among the organizations providing funding for research currently underway. The audience of some 200 gathered for the formal inauguration of the IBNR, which included brief presentations of research by faculty and students and a tour of campus research facilities, reflected the inclusive outreach of the IBNR initiative. Commenting on the perspective of his own institution, Sussex County Community College President Jon Connolly said that a key goal at his school is to provide students who want to eventually attend NJIT with the physical resources and solid grounding in the STEM disciplines relevant to successful participation in research such as that going forward at the IBNR. The keynote address at the inauguration was given by Colonel Sidney R. Hinds II, M.D., U.S. Army. Currently, he is the coordinator for the Brain Health Research Program for the Department of Defense (DoD) Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office and medical advisor to the principal assistant for research and technology, Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland. He has also served as the national director for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. While a critical DoD research priority is traumatic brain injury (TBI) related to the combat experience of U.S. military personnel, Hinds said that the scope of this effort is also far more inclusive. Citing the incidence of brain injuries in the national population -- some 1.7 million reported annually with 52,000 deaths -- he said that DoD programs and collaborations in this area promise to benefit not only those serving in all branches of our military but also the general U.S. population and the people of other countries. Accordingly, the DoD is working with a wide range of academic institutions and research organizations to investigate the "full continuum of brain trauma and how that trauma occurs." "We do have state-of-the-art science and critical care but we need to standardize our approach and better utilize what we know. We want to go from good to great," Hinds said. Going from "good to great," he explained will require comprehensive investigation of what he termed the "neurotoxic cascade" of brain injuries -- the nuanced, complex impacts on the anatomy of the brain and our neurophysiology. This includes gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the unique challenges presented by mild, or concussive, TBI, which are the majority of such injuries. Collaboration will be the key to progress in acquiring new basic knowledge and improving care for the injured, Hinds said. "It is not going to be one organization, not one individual, not one lab but a very multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary approach that will move the field forward toward better understanding of the brain, especially with respect to brain injury." Commenting specifically on the establishment of the IBNR, Hinds spoke of how it will build on research that NJIT is already doing in collaboration with the DoD and other groups. He characterized the IBNR as a place where "geographically disparate, perhaps mission-disparate, organizations can be brought together to best utilize available resources to answer critical questions about traumatic brain injury and neuroscience." Under the leadership of Directors Chandra and Nadim, Hinds said, the IBNR will be a place where "shared experiences, shared resources and shared research" can be strategically focused on identifying critical gaps in our knowledge and then prioritizing and initiating efforts that can fill those gaps. One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of 11,400 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cybersecurity, in addition to others. NJIT is among the top U.S. polytechnic public universities in research expenditures, exceeding $130 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Leading neuroscience researchers and scholars from across New York will gather for the inaugural SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum on Thursday, February 23, 2017, from 9:30 A.M. to 4:15 P.M. The forum will be held in the D'Ambra Auditorium at the Life Sciences Research Building on the Uptown Campus at the University at Albany. The State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) are home to leading public research universities deeply committed to work that addresses state and global challenges. In service of this mission, the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum, a brainchild of Drs. James Dias, Vice President for Research at UAlbany and Mark Hauber, Interim Vice Provost for Research at CUNY Central, seeks to foster faculty collaborations and research synergies across the state of New York, and to spur multi-investigator, large-scale, and multi-institutional extramural funding pursuits in neuroscience. Prof. Yasmin Hurd, a nationally acclaimed researcher on addiction and related psychiatric disorders from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, will present the keynote address and discuss her pioneering new research on the transgenerational effects of cannabis on the developing brain. This keynote will be followed by break-out sessions moderated by SUNY and CUNY Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and Deans of Research and Science. Specifically, the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum will convene interdisciplinary, thematically-based group discussions, afford opportunities to share research interest along with current and planned endeavors, enable networking and collaborative interactions, and conclude with a plenary session to summarize Forum activities and to discuss future collaborative opportunities in neuroscience research among SUNY, CUNY and other neuroscience colleagues. Alexander N. Cartwright, SUNY Provost, and Executive Vice Chancellor said, "This is such an important endeavor and my sincere thanks go to the SUNY, CUNY and state-wide participants. Together we can make life-changing advances in neuroscience research and discovery that go well beyond what one institution can do alone. This type of collaboration underscores New York State's capacity for leadership in the field." Mark Hauber, Interim Vice Provost for Research at CUNY noted: "Neuroscience by definition is an interdisciplinary field that needs to bring together researchers from diverse fields for success. Focusing on neuroscience as part of ongoing initiatives for SUNY-CUNY collaborations brings our diverse faculty and student talents together to increase extramural funding and high-impact productivity of research at New York State's public university systems." UAlbany Vice President for Research James A. Dias said, "Neuroscience in the 21st century is clearly in the midst of a seismic transformation with an unprecedented focus on multi-investigator, interdisciplinary collaborative research strategies aimed at overcoming some of today's most complex and perplexing scientific challenges. This is why I could not be more pleased that the University at Albany is hosting the first ever SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum bringing faculty scholars and scientists together to forge new research collaborations and spark novel extramural funding pursuits in search of the next scientific breakthrough to improve the health and well-being of society." Hosted on the UAlbany campus, one of the four distinguished SUNY University Centers, the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum will be held in the D'Ambra Auditorium of the 194,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Life Sciences Research Building - home to a number of UAlbany's top neuroscience researchers. The founding members of the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum include the State University of New York, the City University of New York Office of Research, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, SUNY Optometry, and the University at Albany. Both Research Foundations of SUNY and CUNY are participating in this effort. Faculty and industry partners from more than 15 SUNY, CUNY and independent universities and colleges will be participating in the event. SUNY is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. In 2015-16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. For more information, please visit http://www. . The City University of New York is the nation's largest and leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional and graduate schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adults, continuing and professional education students. For more information, please visit: http://www. A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information on CUNY research, please contact Shante Booker (shante.booker@cuny.edu) or visit: http://www. For more information on SUNY Research, please contact Holly Liapis 518-320-1311 or visit: http://www.


News Article | September 23, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Chronic pain and loss of bladder control are among the most devastating consequences of spinal cord injury, rated by many patients as a higher priority for treatment than paralysis or numbness. Now a UC San Francisco team has transplanted immature human neurons into mice with spinal cord injuries, and shown that the cells successfully wire up with the damaged spinal cord to improve bladder control and reduce pain. This is a key step towards developing cell therapies for spinal cord injury in humans, say the researchers, who are currently working to develop the technique for future clinical trials. Recent mouse studies have demonstrated that transplants of neurons may be effective treatments for neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and even Parkinson’s disease. The new study – published Sept. 22, 2016, in Cell Stem Cell – is the first to successfully transplant human neurons as a treatment for symptoms of spinal cord injury. “This is an important proof of principle for using cell therapy to repair damaged neural tissue. It brings us one step closer to using such transplants to bring much needed relief to people with spinal cord injuries,” said co-senior author Arnold Kriegstein, M.D., Ph.D., who is a professor of developmental and stem cell biology and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF. Currently, over a quarter of a million people in the U.S. live with spinal cord injuries, and 17,000 new cases occur each year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. In addition to paralysis and loss of sensation, recent estimates suggest that more than half of patients with spinal cord injury go on to develop chronic neuropathic pain, and nearly all develop bladder dysfunction. In addition to being painful, the inability to empty the bladder leads to back up in the urinary system that can result in kidney damage. “The field has been very focused on restoring patients’ ability to walk, perhaps because that’s often their most visible impairment,” said co-senior author Linda Noble-Haeusslein, PhD, who is the Alvera L. Kan Endowed Chair of Neurological Surgery and a professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation at UCSF. But a 2004 study that directly asked patients with spinal cord injury about their experiences found that nearly 20 percent of paraplegics and 10 percent of quadriplegics ranked bladder control as their highest priority for treatment, while fewer patients prioritized walking. “That study suggested that we had really missed the boat as a field,” said Noble-Haeusslein, who is also co-director of UCSF’s Neurobehavioral Core for Rehabilitation Research. “It caused us to dramatically shift what we do in the lab.” Chronic pain and loss of bladder control are caused by wide-spread inflammation immediately following acute spinal injuries, which can lead to more wide-spread damage further from the site of injury. In particular, inflammation damages inhibitory neural circuitry that uses the neurotransmitter GABA to keep spinal circuits’ activity under control. When GABA-producing cells are weakened, the spinal cord loses control over circuits controlling pain sensation as well as those responsible for emptying the bladder. Previously, researchers led by Kriegstein’s collaborator Allan Basbaum, Ph.D., chair of anatomy at UCSF, successfully treated neuropathic pain caused by peripheral nerve damane by transplanting GABA-producing medial ganglionic eminence (MGE)-like cells derived from mouse stem cells into the uninjured spinal cord. In another recent study, Scott C. Baraban, Ph.D., who holds the William K. Bowes Jr. Endowed Chair in Neuroscience Research at UCSF, successfully controlled seizures in epileptic mice by transplanting mouse MGE-like cells into the hippocampus, a brain region where seizures often begin. In the new paper, Noble-Haeusslein and Kriegstein took these efforts a step closer to therapies that could be used in human patients by testing whether human GABA-producing cells could effectively integrate into the damaged spinal cord and improve bladder dysfunction and chronic pain. They caused lab-grown human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into MGE-like inhibitory neuron precursors, then transplanted the immature human cells into mice two weeks following injury of the thoracic spinal cord (about half-way up the back). Six months later, the cells, which had been introduced just below the inflamed lumbar region of the spine where bladder function is controlled, had successfully migrated toward the site of injury, developed into mature inhibitory neurons and made synaptic connections with the local spinal cord circuitry. While untreated mice with spinal cord injuries developed hypersensitivity to touch and painful stimuli as well as abnormal scratching and grooming, mice with new human inhibitory neurons showed significantly fewer of all these signs of neuropathic pain by three to six months after transplantation. Treated mice also exhibited significantly improved bladder function – measured by decreased bladder pressure, lower amounts of urine in the bladder, and improved function of bladder muscles. As a result, the researchers observed, the mice were able to produce more normal, voluntary patterns of urination in their cages. The researchers hope the new findings will lead to the use of neural progenitors to improve the lot of patients with spinal cord injury, but Noble emphasizes that clinical trials are still a long way off: “This was a trial run,” Noble-Haeusslein said. “There’s still much to optimize going forward.” First, researchers will need to replicate the findings, and investigate the optimal timing of the intervention for improving bladder control and chronic pain. There are also safety concerns regarding transplanting neurons into the spinal cord: although the researchers saw no evidence of negative impacts on movement control or other spinal functions in experiments in uninjured control mice, more detailed safety studies still need to be done. Nevertheless, the researchers emphasize the new study should be cause for cautious optimism among spinal cord patients: “This is a very important step,” Kriegstein said. “It shows efficacy of a human cell therapy for neuropathic pain and bladder dysfunction in an animal model of spinal cord injury. The next step on the way to the clinic and a trial in patients is scaling up production of the interneuron precursors facilities that meet FDA quality and safety standards.” Kriegstein and co-author Cory Nicholas, Ph.D., are co-founders of Neurona Therapeutics, a startup company that is developing human MGE-like cells for future clinical trials. The research was supported by the US National Institute of Health Challenge Grant RC1 NS068200, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine Early Translational Research Grant TR3-05606, and philanthropic support from Mr. Robert Sieker.


News Article | November 30, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Brain scientists are using tropical fish to investigate how the spinal cord can be coaxed to repair itself after injury. The European research team has received £1.1 million (€1.3m) to investigate how zebrafish are able to repair and replace damaged nerve cells. Researchers will explore how these mechanisms can be triggered in other animals and human cells. They hope their findings will reveal new therapies that could be tested in patients with neurodegenerative conditions, such as motor neuron disease and multiple sclerosis. Such treatments could also help people with certain types of paralysis. The spinal cord carries vital connections between the brain and muscles called motor neurons, which are crucial for controlling movement of the body. Damage to these fragile nerve cells - either by injury or disease - is permanent and results in irreversible paralysis. Zebrafish have the remarkable ability to repair injured connections and replace damaged motor neurons, enabling them to regain full movement within four weeks after injury. They are also able to repair the specialised sheath that surrounds nerve cells - called myelin - which helps speed up the transmission of nerve impulses that control movement. The team - coordinated by the University of Edinburgh - includes brain experts from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), University Hospital Dresden, DFG Centre for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Researchers are developing specialised microscope techniques to monitor the mechanisms of nerve cell repair in action. They hope to identify the molecular signals that instruct stem cells in the zebrafish's spinal cord to produce new motor neurons and stimulate repair of the myelin sheath. These factors will then be examined in further animal studies and laboratory tests on human cells. At the end of the three-year study, the researchers hope to identify potential therapies that can be taken forward into clinical trials involving patients with neurodegenerative diseases. The study is funded by the European Commission through the European Research Area Network for Neuroscience Research (ERA-NET NEURON) and co-funded through national funding agencies. Lead researcher Professor Catherina Becker, Director of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Neuroregeneration, said: "This exciting project brings together leading experts from across Europe to explore the intrinsic capacity of the spinal cord to repair itself. We hope this will eventually lead to urgently needed therapies for people who have damage to their spinal cord, either from disease or injury."


Chauhan N.B.,Neuroscience Research | Chauhan N.B.,University of Illinois at Chicago
Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health concern and a major cause of death and disability worldwide. Each year, an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain TBI of which ∼52,000 people die, ∼275,000 people are hospitalized and 1,365,000 people are treated as emergency outpatients. Currently there are ∼5.3 million Americans living with TBI. TBI is more of a disease process than of an event that is associated with immediate and long-term sensomotor, psychological and cognitive impairments. TBI is the best known established epigenetic risk factor for later development of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. People sustaining TBI are ∼4 times more likely to develop dementia at a later stage than people without TBI. Single brain injury is linked to later development of symptoms resembling Alzheimer's disease while repetitive brain injuries are linked to later development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and/or Dementia Pugilistica (DP). Furthermore, genetic background of ß-amyloid precursor protein (APP), Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), presenilin (PS) and neprilysin (NEP) genes is associated with exacerbation of neurodegenerative process after TBI. This review encompasses acute effects and chronic neurodegenerative consequences after TBI. © 2014 - IOS Press.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

New research conducted in adolescent rodents provides insights on the mechanisms behind anorexia nervosa and points to a potential treatment strategy. In experiments involving food restriction and/or exercise, investigators found that the extent to which certain receptors are expressed in neurons in a particular region of the brain can influence whether an adolescent female rat develops anorexia nervosa-like behavior, such as to exercise, rather than eat, in spite of being hungry. The findings suggest that a risk factor for anorexia may be under-expression of these receptors, called α4βδ -GABAA receptors, following stress. Therefore, boosting the activity of these receptors may be a promising treatment strategy. "Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, surpassing even that of depression, and currently, there are no accepted pharmacological treatments," said Dr. Chiye Aoki, lead author of the Journal of Neuroscience Research article. "This makes the pursuit of effective medications particularly important. Rodent models enable scientists to separate cultural influences from the neurobiological basis of behaviors that are present in the illness."


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: www.prnewswire.com

RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Raleigh-based Wake Research (Wake Research Associates, LLC) announces a partnership with Western Neurosurgery, Ltd., an affiliated partner of Carondelet Neurological Institute, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson Neuroscience Research brings...


A new study has found that adolescents suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to develop substance use disorders if they have lower gray matter volume in the brain, a clue that can help in the design of better methods for early detection and more targeted prevention and treatment. Dr. Hilary Blumberg, senior author of the study pointed out that bipolar and substance use disorders often develop together in adolescence, and this co-occurrence increases the risk of adverse outcomes such as suicide. "This study provides the first insight into the regulatory brain systems that may underlie this elevated risk," added lead author Dr. Elizabeth Lippard. Importantly, the investigators also found that the gray matter reductions had different patterns in females and males. "Our findings provide further evidence that sex matters in neuroscience research and demonstrate the importance of examining differences between girls and boys, women and men," said co-author Dr. Carolyn Mazure. "We don't know what we don't study. And what we don't know can't be used to help others." "It is critical to continue to work to understand sex differences in the development of brain pathways to these disorders to improve early detection, treatment, and prevention," Blumberg said. The study is part of a Journal of Neuroscience Research issue dedicated entirely to sex differences at all levels of the brain, from the genetic and epigenetic level, to the synaptic, cellular, and systems levels.


News Article | November 7, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Following decades of clinical research largely excluding females, scientists are finding that there are large differences in men and women that go well beyond their reproductive systems. Now, the Journal of Neuroscience Research is dedicating an issue entirely to sex differences at all levels of the brain, from the genetic and epigenetic level, to the synaptic, cellular, and systems levels. In one study in the issue, researchers examined how variants in the gene that codes for a protein called galanin might influence susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS) in males compared with females. Recent studies have found elevated levels of this protein in post-mortem brain samples of patients with MS. In this latest work, investigators compared the frequencies of "more active" and "less active" variants of the DNA sequences that control expression of the galanin gene between healthy controls and MS patients. Initially they found no difference between the two groups; however, when considering gender, there was a more than twofold decrease in a "less active" genetic variant in healthy men compared with healthy women. Moreover, the presence of this variant increased susceptibility to MS in men but not in women. The presence of this variant in men was also associated with delayed onset of MS. Interestingly, the progression rate of MS was significantly accelerated in women if they carried the variant. "We hope that our findings will foster development of a personalized strategy for the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis, one that takes into account the gender-specific contribution of galanin gene variants to susceptibility and disease progression," said Dr. Victoria Lioudyno, lead author of the study. "Neuroscience today is at a crossroads. Do we continue the status quo and ignore sex as a biological variable, or do we acknowledge that sex influences the brain at all levels and address the major gaps in knowledge?" asked Dr Eric M Prager, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuroscience Research. "The work published in this issue unequivocally concludes that sex matters and that researchers can no longer allow for the over-reliance on male animals and cells, which obscure key differences that might influence clinical studies."


EicOsis, LLC was awarded a federal grant totaling over $4 million to advance compounds through Phase 1 clinical trials for diabetic neuropathic pain. The grant, "Development of an Oral Analgesic for Neuropathic Pain", is funded through The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (Blueprint).

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