Three primary Neuroscience faculty were chosen to recieve 2017 Synergy Awards: Dr. Jay Baraban, Dr. Loyal Goff, Dr. Ulrich Mueller. Dr. Mark Wu, secondary in Neuroscience, was chosen to receive a 2017 Innovation Award. Congratulations!
2017 Innovation Award Winner:
While much is known about how hunger and feeding behaviors are regulated, little is known about the hunger for specific macromolecules like protein. Mark Wu recently identified in fruit flies the first known neural circuit encoding protein hunger, which is based on two dopaminergic neurons. He is using flies and mice to study the molecular, genetic and physiologic pathways underlying protein hunger.
2017 Synergy Award Winners:
Dr. Jay Baraban
One of the most common microRNAs in aortic smooth muscle in mice has been shown to minimize the stiffening of the aorta, which in aged people can lead to increased pressure, systolic hypertension and other problems. Jay Baraban has identified an RNAse that may be able to protect mice from developing aortic stiffness and is looking to develop drugs that may be able to prevent or reverse aortic stiffness.
Baraban will be collaborating with Samarjit (Sam) Das and Dan Berkowitz.
Dr. Loyal Goff
Using single cell RNA sequencing to understand the regulatory networks involved in cell fate specification in the developing mammalian retina, Loyal Goff and colleagues aim to improve on and extend the CoGAPS (coordinated gene activity in pattern sets) Bayesian algorithm. Until now, CoGAPS has been used only to study cancer genomics, but they aim to apply it to large RNA-seq data sets to order developmental pathways.
Gof will be collaborating Elana Fertig.
Dr. Ulrich Mueller
Classical neurogenesis models state that the diversity of cells in the brain results from a single type of progenitor. Recently, however, many specific progenitor cells that can only give rise to cells of certain fates have been identified in the mouse neocortex. Ulrich Mueller is using ferrets to establish a new model system to study neocortex development with hopes to someday understand how microcephaly, autism and schizophrenia arise.
Mueller will be collaborating with Kristina Nielsen.