Neuroscience News Fall 2001

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute 
FALL, 2001 
Volume 10, No. 3

Table of Contents


The Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program for Neuroscience would like to thank all the faculty who participated in our recruitment and interview dates earlier this year. As a result of these efforts we are very pleased to welcome the following twelve new graduate students to the Program this Fall.

J. Matthew Aldag enters the Neuroscience Program after completing his undergraduate degree in neuroscience and journalism at Emory University.

Meredith Braskie joins the Neuroscience Program after receiving an undergraduate degree in business/accounting from the College of William & Mary.

Leah Brunk joins the Neuroscience Program having received her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Virginia.

Arthur Chou received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from UC Riverside and now joins the Neuroscience Program as an M.D./Ph.D. student.

Joanna Dragich enters the Neuroscience Program having earned an undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the Carnegie Mellon University.

Dorothy Harris enters the Neuroscience Program after receiving an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Maryland.

Keri Martinowich joins the Neuroscience Program after receiving an undergraduate degree in international affairs from George Washington University.

Robert Moccia enters the Neuroscience Program as an M.D./Ph.D. student. He completed his undergraduate degree in biology at Suffolk University.

Fred Sabb joins the Neuroscience Program after receiving an undergraduate degree in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Lorelei Shoemaker enters the Neuroscience Program after receiving her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Winnipeg.

Jameson Tibbs joins the Neurosceince Program after completing his undergraduate degree in psychology at Morehouse College.

Louisa Wang enters the Neuroscience Program having received an undergraduate degree in economics from Tulane University.

The Brain Research Institute welcomes these new students to the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program for Neuroscience.


The Brain Research Institute welcomes Drs. Bernard Balleine, Associate Professor of Psychology, S. Thomas Carmichael, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Marco Iacoboni, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Michael Irwin, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Director, Norman Cousins Center, Walter Metzner, Associate Professor of Physiological Sciences, Yi Sun, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, and Gabriel H. Travis, Professor of Ophthalmology, and Biological Chemistry, as new members in the Institute.

Bernard Balleine received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1993. While completing a research fellowship at Jesus College in Cambridge (1992-1995), Dr. Balleine also served as a University Demonstrator and Supervisor in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and part-time lecturer at the Cambridge University Teaching Hospitals Trust. In 1995, Dr. Balleine joined UCLA and is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology. Dr. Balleine's major research interest concerns learning and memory. "I am interested in the way that primary motivational processes organize and control the learning and memory capacities of animals at both a psychological and a neurobiological level. We are pursuing this issue in both Pavlovian conditioning and instrumental conditioning preparations using both rats and mice. My current research projects investigate the impact of motivational manipulations on the acquisition and performance of both conditioned reflexes and goal-directed actions as well as on the interaction of stimulus-outcome and action-outcome encoding at both a behavioral and a neural level. With regard to the latter, we have been particularly interested in exploring the role of hippocampal, amygdala and prefrontal cortical afferents on the striatum and of various feedback pathways through the nigra, pallidum and midline thalamic nuclei in the learning and memory processes involved in these behavioral paradigms."

S. Thomas Carmichael received a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience in 1993, and an M.D. degree in 1994, from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Carmichael completed his medical internship in 1995 at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, and a residency in neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, while serving as Chief Administrative Resident in the Department of Neurology in 1998. He joined UCLA as a Clinical Instructor of Neurology and was the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from 1998 to 2001. Dr. Carmichael was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology in 2001.

Dr. Carmichael is most interested in the area of neuroplasticity after brain injury. "I am interested in neuroplasticity after focal brain injury. Brain injury induces a set of cellular responses that include physiological re-organization of cortical maps, axonal and dendritic sprouting and neurogenesis. We are defining the cellular and molecular mechanisms of these processes and their role in the recovery of function after brain injury. Brain lesions induce distant cortical re-mapping and neuronal sprouting in connected brain regions. Experiments to define the cellular mechanisms for this, a distributed CNS trigger for neuroplasticity, are underway and suggest an interplay between the molecular cascades of axotomy and cell death and electrophysiological signaling. Brain lesions also induce local axonal growth and neurogenesis. Our experimental approach will define the molecular mechanisms involved in these two cellular events. An important goal throughout this research is to develop a mechanistic understanding of the processes of neuronal sprouting, neurogenesis and cortical re-mapping, such that molecular therapies can be developed to manipulate these events and improve functional recovery after brain injury. However, on a broader scale, neuroplasticity after brain injury involves the reactivation of developmental programs for the formation of new neurons and their morphological differentiation. An over-reaching goal of this research will be to better understand the adult control of what is emerging as the plastic neuronal phenotype."

Marco Iacoboni received his M.D. degree from the University "La Sapienza," Rome, Italy, in 1985 followed by a neurology residency in the Department of Neurological Sciences. In 1990, Dr. Iacoboni continued his training at University "La Sapienza." while earning a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience. His dissertation was entitled, "Interhemispheric Transfer of Visuomotor and Lexical Information in Normal Subjects and Split Brain Patients." During this time, Dr. Iacoboni also worked as a post-graduate researcher at UCLA with Dr. Eran Zaidel in the Experimental Neuropsychology Laboratory, and with Dr. John Mazziotta in the Brain Mapping Division. Dr. Iacoboni was appointed Assistant Researcher in 1996, and appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Division of Brain Mapping, in 1999.

Dr. Iacoboni states, "My research focuses on the neural basis and functional mechanisms of sensorimotor integration. Sensorimotor integration is a fundamental aspect of human behavior and is necessary to perform the most basic acts in everyday life, like reaching for a cup and grasping it. I study sensorimotor integration at three main levels of complexity. First, using well established paradigms in experimental psychology, I address basic mechanisms of sensorimotor integration using both behavioral (accuracy, reaction times) and physiological (blood flow changes, corticospinal excitability) parameters. Second, I have addressed a more complex level of sensorimotor integration with a pioneering study of the neural correlates of human imitation. I am expanding this line of research using multimodal brain mapping techniques. Third, I address higher levels of sensorimotor integration studying the relationships between action representation and complex integrative functions, such as social cognition and theory of mind.

From a methodological perspective, I use a converging evidence approach. Although most of my research focuses on the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and positron emission tomography (PET), I also use computational modeling, neuropsychology, and psychophysics to study sensorimotor integration, imitation, and higher cognition. From a theoretical standpoint, I adopt the stance that is now known in cognitive neuroscience as 'embodiment.' According to this hypothesis, the neural representations instantiated by higher cognitive processes are an emergent property of simpler sensorimotor representations, the ones we use to plan our own actions and intentions and to observe and understand the actions and intentions of others. The implications of this research program are relevant to motor recovery after brain damage and psychiatric disorders affecting social behavior."

Michael Irwin received an M.D. degree from UCSD in 1981. He then completed an internship in internal medicine at UCSD, followed by a residency in psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. During his last year of residency, Dr. Irwin served as Chief Resident at the Clinical Research Center on Schizophrenia at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. In 1985, Dr. Irwin returned to San Diego as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD, and Associate Director, Clinical Center for Research on Alcoholism, at the San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Over the next fifteen years, Dr. Irwin served in many capacities including: Staff Psychiatrist at the VA Medical Center, San Diego; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD; Associate Medical Director, Scripps McDonald Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment; Director, Psychopharmacology and Psychobiology Fellowship Program, UCSD; Research Scientist, Veterans Medical Research Foundation of San Diego; and Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD.

In 2001, Dr. Irwin was appointed as the Norman Cousins Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Director of the Norman Cousins Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) Center at UCLA.

"Psychoneuroimmunology is a field that investigates the relationship between the brain and the immune system as a way of understanding how the subjective human experience affects health and resistance to disease. The hallmark of the Norman Cousins Program in PNI is its focus on making research directly relevant to health and disease. Towards this end, the program takes a dual approach to its research strategy--incorporating research directly involving patients and research done on the laboratory bench."

Dr. Irwin's own program of research includes projects to: 1) evaluate the effects of depression on herpes zoster risk in older adults; 2) examine the ability of a behavioral intervention to improve psychological adaptation, health functioning, and augment baseline and vaccine-stimulated varicella zoster specific immunity in aging; 3) test the impact of stress on neuroimmune mechanisms and the progression of rheumatoid arthritis patients; 4) determine the bi-directional interaction between disordered sleep and cytokines in alcoholic and depressed populations; and 5) to examine the effects of sympathetic mechanisms on pro-inflammatory and cellular adhesion molecule expression in cardiovascular disease patients.

Walter Metzner received a Ph.D. degree in zoology from the University of Munich, Germany, in 1989. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neurobiology Unit at UCSD, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 1991, Dr. Metzner moved to UC Riverside, accepting an appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Biology. In 2001, Dr. Metzner joined UCLA, and is currently Associate Professor of Physiological Science.

Dr. Metzner's research interests include neuroethology, sensory processing and sensorimotor integration. "We aim at understanding how the central nervous system transforms sensory signals into motor commands that control adaptive behavior. Specific topics focus on mechanisms of auditory feedback control of mammalian vocalization. Although hearing one's own voice is essential for the production of correct vocalization patterns in many birds and mammals, including humans, neuronal substrates and mechanisms for auditory feedback control of vocalizations are still largely unknown in any vertebrate. We study how hearing affects voice in echolocating horseshoe bats. These bats accurately control the frequency of their echolocation calls through auditory feedback, which become especially apparent when they are flying and compensating for frequency shifts in the echo signal that are caused by Doppler-effects. Similar to visual fixation, where eye movements keep an image of interest centered on the visual fovea, this 'Doppler-shift compensation behavior' in horseshoe bats ensures that the echo of interest remains within a so-called 'auditory fovea.'

Another topic of interest is electrosensory processing and synaptic modulation of a neuronal oscillator. My research in weakly electric gymnotiform fish concentrates on the segregation of behaviors on both the sensory and motor side of the central nervous system. This includes studying the synaptic modulation of one of the most precise neuronal oscillators, the pacemaker nucleus, as well as to determine the behavioral significance of multiple sensory and premotor pathways."

Yi Sun received a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1996. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital. Dr. Sun's postdoctoral research project concerned the "Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal and Glial Cell Fate Specification in Neural Stem Cells." During her postdoctoral career, Dr. Sun was the recipient of several awards including the Harvard Leffler Postdoctoral Fellowship, an NIH Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award, and The Medical Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Dr. Sun joined UCLA as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology in 2001.

Dr. Sun's area of research interest is developmental neurobiology. "Neural stem cells (NSCs) are immature cells that are capable of generating all three major cell types in the central nervous system (CNS), neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. The multipotency and the ability to self-renew make NSCs good candidates for repairing various damage in the CNS and treating neurodegenerative diseases. The research in our laboratory aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which cell-fate decision, cell proliferation and differentiation are controlled in NSCs. Changes in gene expression pattern are key events during cell cycle exit and cell differentiation. We focus our research on elucidating the orchestration of various transcription factors in turning on and off specific gene expression programs, and how extracellular factors and intracellular signaling pathways regulate the activities of those transcription factors. Understanding the molecular control of cell fate choice will enable us to direct the differentiation of NSCs so they are more suitable for cell replacement therapies."

Gabriel Travis received his M.D. degree from UCLA in 1977. After completing an internship in internal medicine and a residency in neurology, Dr. Travis turned his interest toward basic research. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Michael Grunstein at the UCLA MBI, and a second fellowship with J. Gregor Sutcliffe at Scripps Research Foundation in La Jolla. In 1989, Dr. Travis joined the faculty at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he began his work on the biology of vertebrate photoreceptors. Dr. Travis was recruited back to UCLA this year, where he holds the Charles Kenneth Feldman and the Jules and Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professorships.

Dr. Travis' research group uses biochemical and mouse-genetic approaches to study the function of photoreceptor cells. Vision in vertebrates is mediated by two types of light-sensitive cells, rods and cones. The light-sensitive component of rods and cones is the outer segment, comprising a stack of flattened membranous disks filled with opsin pigment. Mice with the spontaneous mutation, retinal degeneration slow or rds completely lack outer segments. Dr. Travis originally cloned the gene for rds and helped to show that mutations in the human gene are responsible for an inherited blinding disease called retinitis pigmentosa in some families. One project in his lab is to define the role of rds in the folding of outer-segment discs. To this end, his group is studying transgenic mice that express specifically modified forms of rds on an rds-null genetic background. A second project in the Travis lab is to study the function of a newly identified transporter protein called ABCR. Mutations in the human ABCR gene are responsible for a childhood blinding disease called recessive Stargardt's macular degeneration. The Travis group generated mice with a knockout mutation in the abcr gene. Biochemical analysis of the phenotype in abcr-/- mice lead them to the molecular etiology for recessive Stargardt's disease. This understanding suggested a pharmacological strategy to reverse the biochemical defect in abcr-/- mice. Testing of this strategy is underway with encouraging preliminary results. Still another project ongoing in the Travis lab concerns the mechanism of visual-pigment regeneration in cone photoreceptors. Despite the importance of cones, little is known about how visual pigments are replenished to permit sustained vision under daylight conditions. Recent results from his group point to the existence of an entirely new pathway for the recycling of visual retinoids that is only present in cones. The Travis group is currently working to purify and clone the enzymes that define this new biochemical pathway.

The Brain Research Institute is happy to welcome its newest members.


Dr. Louise H. Marshall, Director Emerita of the UCLA Neuroscience History Archives, was honored by Women in Neuroscience (WIN) at their awards ceremony and reception at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in San Diego this year.

Dr. Marshall received special recognition from WIN for a lifetime of distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the field of neuroscience.

Women in Neuroscience is an international organization, founded in 1980, for the purpose of fostering the development and career advancement of women scientists in the field of neuroscience. In the past 20 years, WIN has advocated for women scientists by providing resources for networking and advancement, including educational workshops and seminars, and travel grants for postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students to attend and present their research at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting.

Warm congratulations to Dr. Marshall!


The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience series will resume January 8, 2002. Mark your calendars and plan to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Louis Jolyon West Auditorium (C8-183 NPI).


January 8, 2002
ROBERT C. MALENKA, M.D., Ph.D., Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
"Mechanisms of Long-Term Depression in the Hippocampus"

January 15, 2002
EARL K. MILLER, Ph.D., Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
"The Prefrontal Cortex: Categories, Concepts, and Cognition"

January 22, 2002
VIRGINIA M.-Y. LEE, Ph.D., John H. Ware 3rd Professor in Alzheimer's Research, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia
"Alpha-Synuclein Inclusions: The Third Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease"

January 29, 2002
CARLA J. SHATZ, Ph.D., Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor and Chair, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
"Brain Waves and Immune Genes in Brain Wiring"

February 5, 2002
ANN MARIE CRAIG, Ph.D., Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
"Synapse Assembly and Regulation of NMDA Receptor Targeting in Hippocampal Neurons"

February 12, 2002
GYORGY BUZSAKI, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
"Homeostasis of Firing Rates and Patterns in Hippocampal Pyramidal Cells in the Sleep-Wake Cycle"

February 19, 2002
JEROLD J.M. CHUN, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego
"Title to be Determined"

February 26, 2002
DANIEL E. FELDMAN, Ph.D., Neurobiology Section, Division of Biology, University of California, San Diego
"Title to be Determined"

March 5, 2002
MARK R. MAYFORD, Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, California
"Genetic Studies of Memory in Mice"

March 12, 2002
ALAIN MARTY, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratoire de Physiologie Cérébrale, Université Paris 5, France
"Interneuron-Interneuron Synapses in the Cerebellum"

The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience are sponsored by The Brain Research Institute and the Neuropsychiatric Institute; co-sponsored by the Interdepartmental Programs for Neuroscience, the Mental Retardation Research Center, and the Departments of Anesthesiology, Neurobiology, Neurology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Psychology, Physiology, Physiological Science, Ophthalmology, and Surgery/Neurosurgery.
Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME). This is an activity offered by the UCLA NPI&H, a CMA-accredited provider. Physicians attending this course may report up to 1 hour of Category 1 credit per course toward the CMA's Certificate in Continuing Medical Education and the AMA's Physician's Recognition Award.


Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility
Confocal Microscopy
For information, contact:
Dr. Matt Schibler X59783

Electron Microscopy and Specimen Preparation
For information, contact:
Brigitta Sjostrand X68054

Microscopic Techniques and Histological Preparation
For information, contact:
Sharon Sampogna X59848

Other Cores:
Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
For information, contact:
Dr. Kym Faull X67881


Postmortem Human Frozen Brain Tissue and Matched Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) and Blood are Available for Scientists to Search for Etiopathogeneses of Human Disease.

The National Neurological Research Specimen Bank and the Multiple Sclerosis Human Neurospecimen Bank, located at VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center, maintains a collection of quick frozen and formalin fixed postmortem human brain tissue and frozen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with neurological diseases (including Alzheimer's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, depressive disorder/suicide, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, schizophrenia, stroke/CVA and other less common diseases). Full inventory is available upon request. Diagnoses are documented by clinical medical records and gross/microscopic neuropathology.

Special features of the Bank are as follows:

1). Serial digital images of coronal sections (7 mm thick and obtained before quick freezing) are available for selecting samples to be studied.

2). Microscopic neuropathology is available on each dissected sample and the dissected sample's localization is sketched on the gross coronal section image from which it came.

3). Plaques of demyelination are classified as active, chronic active or inactive, and a shipment includes adjacent normal appearing white and nearby gray matter from the same case (they serve as a type of control).

4). Ice artifact is minimized and it does not interfere with in situ hybridization or in situ PCR or immunocytochemistry.

5). Tissue samples have been used for harvesting enough mRNA for microarray assay plates.

6). CSF cells and cell-free CSF are available pre- and postmortem as is serum, plasma and buffy coats. They are stored quick frozen (full inventory is available upon request).

The Bank is supported by NIH (NINCDS/NIMH), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Healthcare Center.

For further information on tissues/CSF available and how to access them, contact:
Wallace W. Tourtellotte, M.D., Ph.D.
Neurology Research (127A)
VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center
11301 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90073
(310) 268_4638; fax: (310) 268_4638
web site:


The Neuropathology Laboratory at UCLA Medical Center maintains a bank of frozen, formalin and paraformaldehyde-fixed and paraffin-embedded postmortem human brain tissues and frozen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients who die with Alzheimer's disease and other dementing and degenerative illnesses (including progressive supranuclear palsy, Parkinson's disease, fronto-temporal dementia), as well as control materials removed in a similar fashion from patients who are neurologically normal. Tissues are maintained as part of the NIA-funded Neuropathology Core functions of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center. These tissues/fluids are available as a resource to investigators in any discipline. Pilot studies using the tissues/CSF to examine biomolecules that are of known importance in animal models and suspected significance in human neurodegenerative conditions are particularly encouraged. Every attempt will be made to provide research materials for worthwhile projects in a timely fashion. For further information on tissues/CSF available and how to access them, contact:
Dr. Harry Vinters
Section of Neuropathology
UCLA Medical Center, CHS 18-170
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1732
Phone: 310-825-6191; Fax: 310-206-8290


The M.I.N.D. Institute
The M.I.N.D. Institute supports a comprehensive research program aimed at developing knowledge that will lead to effective treatment, prevention and cure of the autism spectrum disorders. All forms of research, from basic biological mechanisms to treatment trials, are appropriate for funding. Two types of grants are now available.

The M.I.N.D. Institute Investigator-Initiated Grants
In 2001-02, The M.I.N.D. Institute will fund a variable number of grant applications from eligible UC faculty for relevant research on the autism spectrum disorders. Grants will be funded for one year, with the potential for continued funding through competitive renewal. Project budgets should typically not exceed $100,000. Priority for funding will be given to applications that are innovative, most likely to contribute new knowledge, and of high scientific merit.

Applications must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2002. Awards will be announced after April 15, 2002. Funds may become available as early as July 1, 2002, provided award acceptance and applicable human or animal subjects documentation are submitted in a timely manner.

Successful applicants will be required to provide written evidence of productivity toward their project goals through semi-annual progress reports. Some, or all, grantees will be requested to present their results at an annual Scientific Meeting of the M.I.N.D. Institute.

Application forms and additional information are available on the M.I.N.D. Institute web site, at

Application forms may also be requested from the M.I.N.D. Institute Research Program, One Shields Avenue- TB171, University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616.

The M.I.N.D. Institute Scholars Program Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships

In 2001-02, The M.I.N.D. Institute will fund a variable number of grant applications from advanced predoctoral students enrolled in a University of California graduate program, or postdoctoral students who are engaged, or will become engaged, in relevant research with eligible UC faculty members. Awardees will become M.I.N.D. Institute Scholars. Predoctoral students will be funded for two years at $25,000/year, and postdoctoral fellows will be funded for two years at $35,000/year. Funding is intended for students who are conducting research on the autism spectrum disorders.

Applications must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2002. Awards will be announced after April 15, 2002. Funds may become available as early as July 1, 2002, provided award acceptance and applicable human or animal subjects documentation are submitted in a timely manner.

Successful applicants will be required to provide written evidence of productivity towards the goals of their project through semi-annual progress reports. Some, or all, grantees will be requested to present their results at an annual Scientific Meeting of the M.I.N.D. Institute.

Application forms and additional information are available on the M.I.N.D. Institute web site, at

Application forms may also be requested from the M.I.N.D. Institute Research Program, One Shields Avenue- TB171, University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616.

For questions concerning these programs, please contact either:
Dr. David G. Amaral
M.I.N.D. Institute Research Director
(530) 757-8813 or
M.I.N.D. Institute Research Program
1544 Newton Court
Davis, CA 95616
Dr. Laura R. Lacy
Associate Director, Extramural Research
(530) 754-6595 or
M.I.N.D. Institute Research Program
One Shields Ave, TB 171
Davis, CA 95616 Davis, CA 95616


Postdoctoral Research Associate Position

Postdoctoral Research Associate to assist with ongoing funded projects directed toward understanding the mechanisms underlying neuronal dysfunction in the basal ganglia and cortex in neurodegenerative disorders. The research consists of a multidisciplinary approach combining neurophysiological, morphological and molecular techniques examining: 1) Physiological changes in mutant mouse models of Huntington's disease; 2) Assessment of dopaminergic neuromodulation in the striatum and subthalamic nucleus in intact preparations and models of Parkinsons's disease; and 3) Cellular cortical electrophysiological and morphological abnormalities occurring in children suffering from intractable pediatric epilepsy. Preferred applicants will have some combination of electrophysiological, imaging or molecular biological experience. Send letter, CV and names and addresses of three references to:
Michael S. Levine, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles, Mental Retardation Research Center
760 Westwood Plaza, 58-258 NPI
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1759
E-mail response preferred:

Postdoctoral Position in Neural Repair

There are pre- and postdoctoral positions available on the Training Program in Neural Repair starting any time between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003. Priority will be given to outstanding candidates that have already obtained a Ph.D. degree, and are ready to start early in the academic year. Applicants who are U.S. citizens or already have a green card (no pending application) will be considered. Stipend levels are based on NIH guidelines. Awards will be made for a one year period, with additional support available on a competitive basis but only if an alternate source of support is pending. Applications should be submitted before March 15, 2002.

Candidates should submit the following material for consideration: a nomination letter from their UCLA mentor; a two page description of the research project indicating its relevance to neural repair; a description of long-term goals; a curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation by individuals other than the mentor. Applications should be submitted to:
M-F Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director, Department of Neurology
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Reed Neurological Research Center, B114
710 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769
(on campus, use campus code 176919)

Fellowships in Psychoneuroimmunology

Six postdoctoral fellowships are available through the Norman Cousins Program in Psychoneuroimmunology and the NIMH. Fellows will conduct research under the preceptorship of a senior investigator on a topic of their choice. Practical research training, formal didactic, and elective seminars will be provided in neural and behavioral sciences, and immunology. Both basic and clinical interdisciplinary research is emphasized (e.g., the psychobiology of autoimmune diseases in animal and human models). Fellowships are for a period of one or two years upon completion of a Ph.D., D.O., D.N.Sc., or M.D. and accredited residency program. Stipend levels are based on the NIMH scale and are dependent on experience. For more information and/or application forms contact:
The Norman Cousins Program in Psychoneuroimmunology
300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 2127
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7076
Phone: (310) 825-8281; Fax: (310) 794-9247

Postdoctoral Research Associate Positions

The Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush Presbyterian Medical Center has two positions available at the postdoctoral fellow/research associate level. These positions are in a well-funded section of neuroscience that has new labs and an excellent working environment comprised of senior and junior investigators focused on experimental therapeutics and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease.

Successful candidates will be involved in studies involving gene therapy and stem cell transplantation in rodent and nonhuman primate models of Parkinson's and Hungtington's disease. Gene therapy approaches will also be used to create novel nonhuman primate models of disease. Additionally, successful candidates will have the opportunity to perform human neuroanatomical experiments using post-mortem material from cases with extensive antemortem clinical data. Candidates should have a Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Candidates should send a letter, their curriculum vitae, and the names of three references by mail or e-mail to:
Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D.
Director, Research Center for Brain Research
Professor of Neurological Sciences
Rush Presbyterian Medical Center
2242 West Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60612
(312) 633-1550; (312-633-1564 (fax)


McGovern Institute for Brain Research-MIT

McGovern Institute is seeking outstanding scientists with a strong record of research accomplishments for positions at any level. Positions are joint appointments with the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and assistant professor positions are tenure-track. Successful applicants will be expected to develop a significant and independent research program and have a commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education.

The applicant's research program should address issues pertinent to the higher functions of the brain. Of particular interest are candidates pursuing research in the area of experimental and computational investigations of integrated neural systems in animals with complex behavior. Investigators using imaging techniques to explore dynamic neuronal functions are specifically encouraged to apply.

Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, including a summary of current and proposed research programs, and should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to:
McGovern Search Committee
Attn: Donna Bujno
MIT, Room E25-435
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Postdoctoral Positions at New York University

A NIH-funded training grant has been established on Signal Transduction Mechanisms in the Nervous System at New York University School of Medicine. Support is available for four postdoctoral positions. The purpose of this interdepartmental program is to offer comprehensive training in cell and molecular biology of signaling in the nervous system.

The list of training faculty have many overlapping interests, including cell surface receptors for growth factors and the intracellular molecules which are activated during synapse formation, neuronal cell survival and differentiation, synaptic transmission and axon-glial cell interactions. Opportunities are available to utilize Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish and mouse genetics. The investigators are located in several academic departments, including Cell Biology, Physiology and Neuroscience, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology and Pharmacology. Several of the members are located in the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine.

Interested candidates should contact:
Professor Moses Chao
Molecular Neurobiology Program
Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine
Departments of Cell Biology, Physiology and Neuroscience
New York University School of Medicine
540 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Phone (212) 263-0761; Fax (212) 263-0723


The BRI regularly receives letters and resumes from people looking for work in the field of neuroscience. Below is an abbreviated list of the candidates and the type of work they seek. Copies of their resumes are often available in our editorial office. If you are interested in one or more of these individuals, please contact them directly, or call x56055.

Nicole Hess received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Pepperdine University in April, 2001. She hopes to pursue her interest in the brain, psychology and research through an internship or by becoming a research assistant. She recently completed a psychological study of cultural tolerance at Pepperdine University with Dr. Tomas Martinez. She created, administered and analyzed a survey/questionnaire. The research required extensive library time and knowledge of SPSS. She is interested in any position related to neuropsychology in order to expand her interest in this field. Nicole would like to gain experience in the field of neuropsychology prior to continuing her education and pursuit of a masters or doctorate degree. Nicole lives close to the UCLA campus in Westwood and is available immediately. She can be reached at; 1608 Bentley Ave. #3, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Her contact phone numbers are 310- 445- 3295 (home in Westwood) or 323- 876-3281 (home in LA).

Pavani Guntur is a fourth year student at the University of Michigan. She is seeking a full-time research position in a neuroscience lab that specializes in drug testing beginning June, 2002. As a biopsychology major with a minor in statistics, Pavani has worked for 8 months in a biopsychology lab helping out with contextual testing at the University of Michigan. In addition, she has experience conducting genetic research with dystonic mice and was trained in performing PCR's and electrophoresis. Pavani was originally a pre-medical student and has taken courses such as Organic Chemistry, Animal Physiology and Biochemistry. As a biopsychology major, she has taken courses such as Biopsychology, Cognitive Psychology with lab, Social Psychology and Drugs and Abuse. Her interest in quantitative work is demonstrated by the extensive number of reasoning classes she has taken such as Statistics, Intro to C++ and Microeconomics. Pavani would like to move to Los Angeles for a year and obtain a research position while deciding to pursue medical or graduate school. Pavani can be reached at 734-276-4658 or .

Min-Sun Kim is a doctoral student completing her degree fall term and is interested in a postdoctoral position. Her Ph.D. focus is toxicology (Oregon State University) where she specialized in neurotoxicology while conducting research at the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology at Oregon Health Sciences University. Min-Sun's research involves aromatic hydrocarbon 1,2-diacetylbenzene (DAB), a putative metabolite of 1,2-diethylbenzene, which induces peripheral neuropathy in repeatedly dosed rodents. The objective of this research is to examine morphological changes using light and transmission electron microscopy, and to determine mechanisms of neurotoxicity using Western blot and other analytical approaches such as GC-MS and HPLC. Microarray and protein chip studies were begun to look for expression changes in spinal cord treated with 1,2-DAB vs. 1,3-DAB. Overall, her doctoral research has contributed to the discovery of the comparable neurotoxic properties of aliphatic and aromatic g-diketones, and the demonstration of structural-activity requirements for chemical reactivity with target neuronal proteins. Min-Sun Kim received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in pharmacy from Pusan National University, Korea. She is interested in expanding her training in molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie chronic human diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. She has knowledge and experience in toxicology, neuroscience, molecular biology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry. Min-Sun can be reached directly at e-mail, or by phone at (503) 494-6292. Her CV is available in the editorial office.

Madalina Stanciu, M.D., Ph.D., is currently an associate researcher at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Stanciu received her Ph.D. degree in medicine-neuroendocrinology in 1995, and an M.D. degree in 1991, from Carol Davila University of Medicine, Bucharest, Romania. Dr. Stanciu has been working in academic medicine (neurology) since 1993, first as an assistant professor at Carol Davila University of Medicine, and then as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Medicine, Gottingen, Germany (1996-1999). Dr. Stanciu has extensive experience in molecular biology and pharmacology techniques including Southern, Northern, and Western blot analysis, immunochemistry, in situ hybridization, cell cultures, embryonic neuronal cultures, transfections, in vivo techniques in transgenic mice, as well as, experience in animal behavior. During the past 3 years, Dr. Stanciu has been finalizing two major projects in the field of neurodegenerative diseases: 1) Mechanisms of neuroprotection against oxidative toxicity in HT22 hippocampal cell line and immature embryonic neurons; and 2) MAPK activation and trafficking in neuronal apoptosis. She has several publications, as well as, teaching experience in neurobiology. A complete CV is available in the editorial office. Madalina Stanciu can be contacted at W1316 Biomedical Science Tower, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Pittsburgh, PA, 15261; E-mail:; web:

Doris Thu is a 4th year Biomedical Science student at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her 4th year project is entitled, "Immunohistochemistry Study on Neuronal Change in Sensory and Motor Cortex in Huntington's Disease. At the University of Auckland, Doris works with Dr. Richard L.M. Faull in the Department of Anatomy. Doris has worked as a lab assistant at the University of Auckland for the past year, and has skill in several techniques including RNA extraction, RT-PCR, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and gel purification. At the end of this year, Doris will be joining a program called "work USA" organized by I.E.P (International Exchange Programs), which allows her to work and travel in the United States. She would like to obtain a research position in a field related to her studies, and to pursue a career in biomedical research. She can be reached directly at e-mail:, or at 3A Caribbean Drive, Glenfield, Auckland, New Zealand, phone (09) 444-8553.

Dinah Thyerlei is a medical doctor from Germany. She is currently completing a clinical internship in neurology (German Arzt im Praktikum, AiP) at the University Hospital of Aachen, Germany. She is a member of the electrophysiological research group of Prof. Buchner, where studies focus on EEG and evoked potentials. She is familiar with EEG measurements, and data processing and analysis software (BESA, FOCUS, CURRY), and has considerable experience with SPSS. Dr. Thyerlei has laboratory experience with rat neuronal cell cultures, postnatal neuronal stem cells, and immunocytochemistry gained during her doctoral thesis research. Dr. Thyerlei would like to obtain a postdoctoral position in the field of EEG with a focus on epilepsy, neuropsychological topics, neuroanatomical, or cell biology research. She will be available in March, 2002, and can be reached directly by e-mail at


Neuroscience News serves as the primary vehicle for disseminating information to the UCLA neuroscience community. It is published solely on the Brain Research Institute's web site and distributed to the BRI Calendar E-mail list. Please submit all information to the BRI editorial office, E-mail, or call extension 56055 or 55061.

Editor: Linda Maninger