Department News

December 2018

Robert Fettiplace

Robert Fettiplace has been awarded the 2019 Passano Prize!
Since 1945 the Passano Foundation has annually given an award for “endeavors with clinical applications” through Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland Medical School. The award will be presented in Baltimore in May 2019. This is an honor not only for Robert but also for our School of Medicine and Public Health.






November 2018

Donata Oertel

Dr. Oertel, professor and Mary Herman and Lucien Rubinstein Distinguished Chair of Neuroscience, was cited for distinguished research on the cellular basis for the processing of acoustic information in the mammalian cochlear nuclei, and for service to the neuroscience community. AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society, has elected distinguished members as fellows since 1874. This year’s fellows will be honored at the organization’s annual meeting on Feb. 16 in Washington, D.C.




Gail Robertson

Dr. Gail A. Robertson will receive the 2019 Kenneth S. Cole Award from the Biophysical Society!

The selection committee writes that “Gail embodies the spirit and intent of the Cole Award, and is recognized for her groundbreaking contributions to the biology of hERG ion channels”. The award ceremony will take place at the annual meeting of the Biophysical Society on March 2, 2019 at historic Westminster Hall in Baltimore, MD.






October 2018

Darcie Moore

Darcie Moore is the recipient of an NIH Director’s award for High-Risk, High-Reward Research!

This program supports “unusually innovative research from early career investigators.” It is a real honor for Dr. Moore to be granted this prestigious award; only 89 such awards were made. Congratulations!






September 2018

Ed Chapman

Chapman wins Pew Innovation Fund Award

The Pew Charitable Trust announced that Dr. Ed Chapman, professor of neuroscience in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, is one of a dozen leading “Innovation Fund” researchers who will collaborate “to address some of the leading questions in human biology and disease.” Chapman will share a $200,000 grant over two years with Dr. Dorit Hanein, of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. The two will investigate the structure of proteins needed for cellular membrane fusion. Chapman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is an expert in the area of fusion proteins, which allow neurotransmitters to relay signals between neurons. Hanein’s expertise is in structural biology.


December 2018

Robert Fettiplace

Robert Fettiplace has been awarded the 2019 Passano Prize!
Since 1945 the Passano Foundation has annually given an award for “endeavors with clinical applications” through Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland Medical School. The award will be presented in Baltimore in May 2019. This is an honor not only for Robert but also for our School of Medicine and Public Health.




August 2018

Chung-Wei Chiang, Che-Wei Chang, and Meyer Jackson decorate the cover of the August 8, 2018 Journal of Neuroscience!

The title of the paper that accompanies the cover is “The Transmembrane Domain of Synaptobrevin Influences Neurotransmitter Flux Through Synaptic Fusion Pores.”





July 2018

Ed ChapmanEd Chapman receives the 2019 Sir Bernard Katz Award of the Biophysical Society!

Ed Chapman has been chosen to be the 2019 recipient of the Sir Bernard Katz Award of the Exocytosis/Endocytosis subgroup of the Biophysical Society. Recipients of this award include some of the most distinguished investigators of synaptic transmission. Ed will give a plenary lecture at the meeting of the Biophysical Society on March 2nd.





June 2018

Xinyu Zhao

Dr. Xinyu Zhao receives the National Fragile X Foundation Research Award!

The National Fragile X Foundation (NFXF) Board of Directors has awarded Dr. Xinyu Zhao the NFXF Research Award for outstanding contributions to the understanding of Fragile X. Dr. Zhao will receive the award at the NFXF International Fragile X Conference in Cincinnati on July 11, 2018. The work on Fragile X will be published shortly in Nature Communications.





Robert FettiplaceRobert Fettiplace chosen as Kavli Laureate

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.





May 2018

Ari RosenbergDr. Ari Rosenberg won a Shaw Scientist Award!

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.


March 2018

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.

Article Link


February 2018

Erik Dent

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 Robertson

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.




1/2018 Nature PictureResearch findings from the Chapman Lab in collaboration with the Chanda lab are featured in the January 31, 2018 issue of Nature

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!

Article Link


January 2018

January 10 2018 JNeurosci Cover

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).”


December 2017

Cynthia Czajkowski

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.

Read More…





Su-Chun Zhang - ALS feature

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.

Read More…




Holiday Party Photos


October 2017

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.




Chantell EvansFormer 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.

Penn Medicine Physiology Postdoctoral Researcher Named Hanna Gray Fellow

Penn scientist to study why brain cells can’t get rid of ‘trash’

Early-career researchers get a $1.4 million boost




August 2017

Raunak SinhaRaunak 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.






January 2017

Xinyu ZhaoResearch 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.

For more information, please see the complete article


Ed ChapmanResearch 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!

Read the TIME article.