On May 31 the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced that Robert Fettiplace would share the $1 million Kavli Prize in Neuroscience with James Hudspeth of Rockefeller University and Christine Petit of the Collége de France/Pasteur Institute in Paris. The prize recognizes work that reveals how hair cells of the inner ear convert mechanical movements to electrical signals that the brain uses for hearing and balance. King Harald of Norway will present the gold medal to the Kavli Laureates in Oslo in October.
This award of $40,000/year for five years from the James D. Shaw and Dorothy Shaw fund is intended both to advance research in the biological sciences and to give encouragement to young scholar-scientists who show great promise of substantial scientific achievement. Dr. Rosenberg’s work is aimed at understanding how people integrate sensory information from multiple modalities, for example how people combine vestibular with visual information to grasp objects.
Ana Fernández-Mariño and Baron Chanda published a paper in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in which they describe a new interaction-energy analysis with which they reveal how movements in the voltage-sensor domains drive movements of the pore domains of voltage-gated ion channels. They show that the S4 and S5 alpha helices interact through a rack-and-pinion mechanism with a gear ratio of about 4:1.
Erik Dent receives H. I Romnes Faculty Fellowship
Much of the work neurons do takes place along axonal and dendritic processes and dendrites, raising the question how the substrates for those functions get there. Dr. Dent’s work explores how neurons regulate the hauling of cargos along cytoskeletal tracks into tiny spine crevices and into the sheets of growth cones. For his outstanding contributions not only as a scientist but also as a teacher and colleague, Dr. Dent has been awarded the fellowship that honors the late WARF Trustee President H. I. Romnes.
Gail Roberson receives the Kellett Mid-Career Award
Electrical excitability coordinates contraction of the heart, control of muscles, and signaling between neurons. Dr. Robertson’s research concerns voltage-gated ion channels. After demonstrating how important ion channels are as targets for drugs, her most recent work reveals how the pieces of ion channels come together. Dr. Robertson is recognized not only for her scientific accomplishments but also for her fine teaching and for her generosity as a colleague. Her contributions are recognized by a Kellett Mid-Career Award.
Huan Bao, Debasis Das, Nicholas A. Courtney, Yihao Jiang, Joseph S. Briguglio, Xiaochu Lou, Baron Chanda and Edwin R. Chapman are the contributing authors from the Department of Neuroscience. Congratulations!
Sayantanee Biswas and Kate Kalil illustrate the cover of the Journal of Neuroscience
The cover of the January 10, 2018 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience is the work of Sayantanee Biswas and Katherine Kalil. The description of that figure is as follows:
“This image acquired with super resolution STED microscopy shows a fixed cortical axonal growth cone stained for F-actin (magenta) in the growth cone periphery and microtubules (cyan) in the center. The entry of single microtubules into filopodia and extension along actin filament bundles is regulated by the microtubule associated protein tau. For more information see the article by Biswas and Kalil (pages 291–307).”
Cynthia Czajkowski, Neuroscience professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health, has been named UW–Madison’s interim associate vice chancellor for research in the biological sciences. Czajkowski will fill in for oncology Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Biological Sciences Norman Drinkwater, who will become interim vice chancellor for research and graduate education beginning Jan. 1.
In his UW-Madison lab, Su-Chun Zhang discovered a likely cause of ALS, the deadly neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after turning skin cells from ALS patients into stem cells. The research is one of many ways scientists in Madison and around the world are making use of a groundbreaking development announced 10 years ago this week: induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells.
Roopra Lab graduate student, Nadia Khan, receives NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award.
Nadia Khan, a Predoctoral fellow and member of the Roopra Lab, has been awarded the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award. This award supports a defined pathway across career stages for outstanding graduate students who are from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience research. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions, and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers.
Former Chapman Lab graduate student, Chantell Evans, named Hanna Grey Fellow
Chantell Evans, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and former member of the Chapman Lab, has been selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as one of 15 early-career scientists in its first year of HHMI Hanna Grey Fellows.
Raunak Sinha to join faculty
Raunak Sinha has accepted our offer to join the Departments of Neuroscience and of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences as Assistant Professor. We all look forward to welcoming him in Madison in April 2018.
Research findings from the lab of Xinyu Zhao, Professor of Neuroscience, are featured in a recent article from Waisman Communications.
The article, titled “Am I a stem cell? How do I know?” describes recent research in the lab that shows how a gene called MBD1 plays an important role in maintaining the identity of neural stem cells and regulating the stem-cell-to-nerve-cell pipeline in the brain.
According to Zhao, it is critical that stem cells maintain their identity if they are to retain their ability to develop into specialized cells. “This is the first time someone has shown that MBD1 plays a pivotal role in maintaining the ‘stemness’ of neural stem cells,” she says.
Research findings from the lab of Ed Chapman, Professor of Neuroscience, are part of the cover story on Botox in the January 16 2017 issue of TIME magazine.
Chapman, and graduate student Ewa Bomba-Warczak are quoted in the article about their work showing how Botox might affect the central nervous system and not just the area where it is injected.
Congratulations, Ed and Ewa!