NINDS NRSA-F32 awarded to Taylor Jay

Taylor Jay, PhD

Congratulations to Taylor Jay, postdoctoral fellow in the Freeman lab, who received a NINDS F32 Postdoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship for her project “Glial regulation of neuronal physiology in response to local injury”.

The focus of Jay's investigation is understanding the role of glia in propagating injury signals broadly across the nervous system. This work will expand upon research by Dr. Jimmy Hsu in the Freeman lab, which established that following injury to the nervous system, neurons distant to the injury site exhibit changes in physiology and function. Interestingly, these physiological changes required glia.

One of the project's aims is to identify how glia sense injury in the nervous system and to dissect the pathways by which these signals are transduced into functional responses. Jay and her team also propose to identify the factors that glia produce to induce neurophysiological changes in neurons distant from the injury site and to identify the functional role of these long-range changes in neuronal function after injury. Together, these studies will provide insight into the mechanisms by which injury signals spread across the nervous system and identify the cellular and molecular pathways responsible for this unknown but important phenomenon. These mechanisms could then be targeted therapeutically to maintain beneficial responses of glia in clearing axonal debris after injury while preventing signaling that leads to detrimental changes in uninjured neuronal physiology.

The purpose of the Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral fellowship is to enhance the research training of promising postdoctoral candidates who have the potential to become productive, independent investigators in scientific health-related research fields.