The Vollum Institute congratulates Jiaxing Li, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in Kelly Monk’s lab, on receiving a 2021 Warren Alpert Foundation Distinguished Scholars Fellowship. This highly competitive national program is awarded to 5–7 individuals each year and provides two years of support in a setting that allows neuroscience trainees to pursue independent scholarship to advance career development. Li's research will focus on investigating mechanisms of neuron-oligodendrocyte precursor cell interactions.
Synapses are communication points between neurons that are the fundamental processing units of the nervous system. Synapses also exist between neurons and non-neuronal cells called oligodendrocyte precursor cells, but how these unique synapses are made and what they do is almost completely mysterious. Li and his team will use zebrafish, an in vivo model with powerful genetics and excellent live-imaging capabilities, to study the assembly of these synapses and their roles during oligodendrocyte development and nervous system function.
The focus of The Warren Alpert Foundation is to improve the health of the public through grants and programmatic activities progressing towards attaining or perfecting medical treatments or cures through basic research, translational and outcomes research as well as through health education.