Kylie McPherson (right), currently a third-year NGP graduate student, has been named as one of the Research Leadership Scholars, a program that provides School of Medicine graduate students with opportunities to develop leadership skills by participating in OHSU research planning and discussion. As a Research Leadership Scholar, Kylie will participate in monthly OHSU Research Roundtable meetings with faculty and research leaders and will share her important perspectives as a future biomedical scientist.
Taylor Mighell, NGP graduate student in Brian O'Roak's lab, was presented with C.W. Cotterman Award at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in October. Each September, the editorial board of The American Journal of Human Genetics selects two articles published in the journal in the previous year that best represent outstanding scientific contribution to the field of human genetics. Taylor's award is in recognition of his manuscript that was published in May entitled, "A Saturation Mutagenesis Approach to Understanding PTEN Lipid Phosphatase Activity and Genotype-Phenotype Relationships." Great work, Taylor!
Recently, Women in Science (WIS) PDX sat down with directors, Drs. Marc Freeman and Kelly Monk, to talk about the Vollum Institute's support of WIS and commitment to increasing the number of women scientists as part of a sponsor spotlight for their upcoming 1st Annual Fundraising Gala on Thursday, September 20, 6-9pm. Read the full interview and learn more about the gala here.
Marc Meadows was 1 of 15 trainees to receive a $2,000 award to attend the biannual Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum held in Berlin, Germany in July 2018. He presented his research on exo- and endocytosis at an inhibitory synapse in the retina. The scope of Marc's work has broad impacts on our understanding of inhibitory synaptic vesicle dynamics and the pre-processing of visual information. Congratulations, Marc!
NGP alumna, Danielle Robinson and current NGP student, Daniela Saderi are attending the first eLIFE innovation Sprint in Cambridge, UK. It's a two-day intensive hackathon, in which technologists, researchers, developers, science communicators and more are working together to innovate in scholarly communication. Daniela is personally working with a team of technologists from eLife and other researchers to develop PREreview 2.0 and write a short proposal for a Sloan Foundation grant. Have a great time you two!
Congratulations to NGP student, Nate Yoder on his new paper in Nature!
For the first time, researchers in the Vollum Institute have determined the atomic structure of an acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) in a resting state at high pH. ASICs are expressed in neurons throughout the nervous system and contribute to a variety of neurological processes including pain sensation and fear memory formation. ASICs populate three functional states, existing in a resting state at high pH, opening in response to low pH and desensitizing within milliseconds. In their manuscript, published recently in the journal Nature, Yoder, Yoshioka and Gouaux used a combination of x-ray crystallography and single-particle cryo-electron microscopy to determine the structure of the resting channel. Additionally, the authors were able to determine the molecular mechanisms that allow the channel to respond to changes in pH by comparing the structure of the resting channel with those of the channel in open and desensitized states published in 2014 and 2009, respectively. These findings improve our understanding of how the nervous system responds to pH and provide a blueprint for the design of molecular agents to aimed at targeting these channels.
The following abstract by first year NGP student, Alex Nevue, was selected as newsworthy for the SfN's Hot Topics book at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience meeting next week in Washington DC. Congrats, Alex!
Title: Bats possess the molecular and anatomical substrate for laryngeal motor cortex
Authors: Alex Nevue, Peter Lovell, Claudio Mello and Christine Portfors
Language is learned when we are young through a process called imitative vocal learning. Vocal learning requires precise connections between auditory and motor pathways of the brain that enable children to listen and match speech from an adult tutor. The vocal learning process can be shunted by a variety of communication disorders including autism and stuttering. Because vocal learning is so rare, there currently is not a model organism to study it in mammals. Bats have shown some behavior suggesting that they are vocal learners, so we asked if bats possess the neural circuitry required to learn and produce sounds. Using neuronal tracing and gene expression techniques, we found a specialization in the motor cortex of bats that is involved in producing learned vocalizations. Bats are the first non-human mammal that we know to possess this specialization. This research suggests that bats may serve as a useful animal model to study human speech and language disorders.
The Oregon Hearing Research Center (OHRC) at OHSU is a world leader in studies of auditory neuroscience, ranging from cochlear development to cortical processing. Many OHRC faculty have joint appointments in the Vollum Institute as well. An article in today's Oregonian highlights that a number of OHRC faculty are themselves hearing impaired, and so students in NGP learn about hearing disorders and their treatments from lecturers with first-hand experience. Read today's front page Oregonian article.
Glia perform important immune functions to defend the brain against toxic insults and minimize damage after injury. In the aging brain, it has been proposed that changes in glial immunity may be related to the onset of some neurodegenerative diseases. We used a well-established acute axotomyassay in Drosophila to examine how key features of glial immunity are altered with age. Our studies show that in the aging brain glial engulfment of neurodegenerative material is dysfunctional due to down regulation of the Draper receptor at the protein level, as a result of decreased PI3K92E activity and translation efficiency. Additionally, we demonstrate that aged Drosophila olfactory nerves are delayed in initiating Wallerian degeneration after injury, similar to what has been previously shown in mammals. However, increasing Draper/PI3K92E activity in the aging brain was sufficient to rescue both reduced Draper expression and delayed glial clearance of severed axons after injury. This work highlights reduced glial engulfment activity as an intriguing candidate mechanism for age-related vulnerability to neural damage and disease. Congratulations to Maria Purice on her important publication in Nature Communications!
We are proud to announce that Danielle Robinson, a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program, has been awarded a 2016 Mozilla Fellowship for Science. This highly competitive program supports the work of early career researchers who want influence the future of scientific communication and data sharing within their communities. Already a student leader in this area, Danielle has championed digital literacy, openness, and collaboration as a co-organizer of Open Insight PDX and Science Hack Day Portland. She is also a founding member of Women in Science Portland.
Throughout her fellowship year, Danielle will receive support from Mozilla to hone her skills, lead outreach initiatives, and develop local resources around open source, data sharing, and science policy through mentorship at Mozilla, the OHSU Library, and the OHSU School of Medicine. We are excited that Danielle will be able to grow her work as thoughtful and passionate advocate for open science, collaborating with OHSU faculty, students, and administrators to support the knowledge and practices that are key to the creation and communication of impactful research.
Antoinette Foster, starting her 3rd year in the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program, has been awarded a Gilliam Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study program awards a select number of fellowships nationwide to outstanding scientists who are pursuing a PhD in the life sciences and who are committed to increasing diversity among scientists. The 3-year fellowship not only provides financial support, but also the opportunity to attend meetings with HHMI scientists and receive professional development mentoring as part of the program. Antoinette was nominated from OHSU by the directors of the NIH training grant, T32NS007466, "Multidisciplinary Training in Neuroscience" and is pursuing her thesis research in the laboratory of Ben Emery in the Jungers Center. Congratulations, Antoinette!
Congratulations to 2nd year NGP students Nathan Yoder (Gouaux lab) and Will Hendricks (Schnell lab) who received NIH F31 predoctoral fellowships in 2016. They join 12 other current upper level NGP students (above year 2) that have received individual NSF or NIH fellowships, nearly 50 % of those eligible.
Congratulations to NGP Alumna (2015) Carolina Borges-Merjane on her paper "ON and OFF Unipolar Brush Cells Transform Multisensory Inputs to the Auditory System" published in Neuron for this year's OHSU Award for Outstanding Journal Article by a Graduate Student.
Congratulations to NGP students, Reena Clements (photo below) and Christopher Vaaga, on their 2015 LaCroute Neurobiology of Disease Fellowships (formerly known as the OBI Fellowship). Out of 24 applications, these were the two selected by the OBI Research Committee. Congratulations to both of you!
Reena Clements, a 3rd year NGP student in Dr. Kevin Wright's lab, was selected to participate in the OMSI Science Communication Fellowship Program. As a Fellow, Reena will participate in professional development workshops to hone her skills at communicating science to a general audience. She will also participate in OMSI's "Meet a Scientist" program, where she will be able to share her research with museum visitors. Reena is very dedicated to science outreach and currently volunteers with middle and high school students through the Brain in the Box and OnTrack programs at OHSU. She is excited for the opportunity to share her passion for science with the broader community as an OMSI Fellow.