Thu 6th July 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Leah Elias, a Postdoc in Dr. Blackshaw's lab, for being named a 2023 Jane Coffin Childs Fellow

Congratulations to Dr. Leah Elias for being awarded a 2023 Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship!  Dr. Elias is a Postdoc in Dr. Seth Blackshaw's lab in the Department of Neuroscience.  

Excerpt from Jane Coffin Childs Press Release:

The Jane Coffin Childs Fund for Medical Research Names its 2023 Fellows

Twenty-seven exceptional postdoctoral fellows selected as awardees to esteemed fellowship program in biomedical research.

Fellows are funded for a three-year term and receive flexible stipend support.

“The Jane Coffin Childs Fund welcomes the 2023 cohort of Fellows to our distinguished network of scientists around the world and are proud to be able to advance the careers of these exceptional individuals.”  said Anita Pepper, Ph.D., the JCC’s executive director.

More about Dr. Elias:

Sleep disorders are common and negatively impact our quality of life and biological health. Yet, how the brain encodes the need for restorative sleep is poorly understood. Dr. Leah Elias will investigate the cellular circuits and molecular signals that encode sleep pressure in Dr. Seth Blackshaw’s lab at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Using single nucleus RNA sequencing, Dr. Elias has identified a cluster of neurons that are activated by sleep deprivation. Furthermore, she has identified candidate genes that are differentially regulated in response to sleep deprivation. She will leverage these findings to mechanistically dissect sleep signals in the brain at the cellular and molecular levels. Dr. Elias’ research has important implications for the basic biology of sleep and may reveal novel therapeutic targets for sleep and metabolic disorders.

As a PhD student in Dr. Ishmail Abdus-Saboor‘s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Elias studied the neural circuitry controlling social touch. Specifically, she identified a new pathway that connects social touch in the skin to reward circuits in the brain. With this background in neural circuitry, Dr. Elias will now investigate how the need for sleep is encoded in the brain. 

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