Amy Gleichman

Biologist chosen for $2.5 million Ben Barres Early Career Award

Elaine Hsiao, assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College, has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award as part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Neurodegeneration Challenge Network. The award will support her laboratory’s research on mapping cellular networks to better understand microbiome contributions to neurodegenerative diseases.

Amy Gleichman

2019 Los Angeles Brain Bee

The Brain Bee is a program designed especially to stimulate high school students to learn about neuroscience. Like a Spelling Bee, the Brain Bee allows students to compete with each other in their knowledge of neuroscience. The competition involves a written exam which includes a practical component involving neuroanatomy. Participants advancing to the next round compete with each other in a Jeopardy style Q and A. The winner of the Local Brain Bee will move on to participate in the National Brain Bee.

Register at by January 19.

Amy Gleichman


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Amy Gleichman

Image of the Month

Rat basolateral amygdala (BLA) projection neurons to the medial (mOFC) and lateral orbitofrontal cortex (IOFC). Two different fluorescent retrograde tract tracer conjugates were used to identify BLA -> mOFC meurons (red) and BLA -> IOFC neurons (green). Dual-projecting neurons (mOFC + IOFC) are labeled yellow

By: Nina Lichtenberg - Kate Wassum Laboratory


The Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program


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Upcoming Events

Joint Seminar in Neuroscience Lecture Series

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2018
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Neuroscience Research Building (NRB) 1st Floor Auditorium

"Decoding the Glial Blueprint in the Normal Malignant Brain"

Benjamin Deneen, Ph.D. - Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas


Brain function requires the construction and maintenance of neuronal circuits. Neuroscientists have spent decades constructing a “blueprint” for how neuronal connections drive animal behavior, however the contributions of glial cells have been largely overlooked. Glial cells, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, comprise ~70% of the cellular constituency of the adult brain and play essential roles in all facets of brain physiology. Despite their obvious importance to brain function, the mechanisms controlling how glia are produced during development and contribute to neurologic function and disease remain a major enigma in understanding how the brain works.

Over the last nine years, Ben Deneen has opened a new window to the field of glial biology, bringing new approaches and insights that are having enormous impact. His laboratory used developing chicken and mouse brains to delineate the most critical genes and molecular circuits that control gliogenesis. In parallel, pioneering techniques normally used only by immunologists, his lab discovered that many sub-types of glia exist, answering a centuries-old question of whether all astrocytes are the same. Together, these studies represent new paradigms on the nature of normal glial cells. Next, he directly translated these findings towards devastating human neurological diseases: brain tumors, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. Using insights from normal glial cell biology, he was able to attack these diseases from their developmental roots and uncover unexpected facets of these complex disorders.

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