Neuroscience News Spring 2001

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute 
SPRING, 2001 
Volume 10, No. 2


The Brain Research Institute welcomes Dr. Guoping Fan, Assistant Professor of Human Genetics, as a new member in the Institute.

Guoping Fan received a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University in 1995. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, his research focused on the roles of neurotrophins and DNA methylation in the development and function of the nervous system. Dr. Fan joined the UCLA Department of Human Genetics this year.

Dr. Fan's research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal differentiation. Describing his current projects he states, "One of the research projects in my lab concerns the role of DNA cytosine methylation, an epigenetic DNA modification, in regulating neuronal gene expression and properties in development. We are also interested in understanding how diffusible growth factors, such as neurotrophins, regulate neuronal survival and synaptic function in the central nervous system (CNS).

In the project investigating DNA methylation in neuronal differentiation and maturation, using the cre/loxP system for conditional gene knockout, we have generated transgenic mice that are deficient in Dnmt1, the maintenance enzyme for DNA methylation, only in the CNS. Dnmt1 deficiency in CNS progenitor cells causes DNA hypomethylation in postmitotic neurons, and phenotypically all mutant mice die at birth due to the abnormal neural control of respiration. Additional data showed that hypomethylated neurons in the brain are selected against during postnatal maturation. These observations suggest that proper DNA methylation is crucial for the function and viability of CNS neurons. We are currently studying how DNA hypomethylation modulates neuronal gene expression and influences neuronal function during the differentiation and maturation of CNS neurons.

In another project we are investigating the role of neurotrophins in the survival and function of adult CNS neurons. Neurotrophins are a family of growth factors including nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT3) and neurotrophin-4 (NT4). Targeted mutations of these neurotrophin genes demonstrate that each factor is important for the survival or differentiation of discrete populations of peripheral and CNS neurons in development. To circumvent the early lethality problem of neurotrophin-deficient mice and address the neurotrophin function in the adult CNS, we have produced conditional knockout mice that are deficient in BDNF and/or NT3 only in the CNS, at postnatal stages. These viable conditional mutants will allow us to study the role of these two neurotrophins in maintaining the survival and synaptic function of adult CNS neurons."

The Brain Research Institute is happy to welcome Dr. Fan as a new member.


Kelsey Martin is the recipient of a McKnight Scholar Award for her investigations on "Communication Between the Synapse and the Nucleus During Long-Lasting Synaptic Plasticity.” The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience grants McKnight Scholar Awards to young scientists who are in the early stages of establishing their own independent laboratories and research careers and who have demonstrated meritorious research in areas pertinent to the Endowment Fund. This year there were six McKnight Scholar Award recipients.


The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience series will resume October 2, 2001. Mark your calendars early to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. The 2001-2002 Joint Seminars in Neuroscience calendar is quickly filling up with a group of truly outstanding speakers. Below is a list of speakers already lined up for the next academic year!

PREVIEW 2001-2002

Fall Quarter 2001
Mary Kennedy, Caltech, Pasadena
Joseph Ayers, Northeastern University
Karim Nader, McGill University
Derek van der Kooy, University of Toronto
Ben Barres, Stanford University
Edwin McClesley, Oregon Health Sciences University
Herwig Baier, UC San Francisco
Ronald Hoy, Cornell Univerisity
Tracey Shors, Rutgers University

Winter Quarter 2002
Robert Malenka, Stanford University
Earl Miller, MIT
Virginia Lee, University of Pennsylvania
Carla Shatz, Harvard Medical School
Ann Marie Craig, Washington University
Gyorgy Buzsaki, Rutgers University
Jerold Chun, UC San Diego
Robert Chow, USC
Mark Mayford, UC San Diego

Spring Quarter 2002
Jennifer Raymond, Stanford University
Michael Meaney, Douglas Hospital Research Center, Montreal
Thomas Sudhoff, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

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: 
Pasrow 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 


John E. Fogarty; NIH Visiting Scholars Program for Foreign Scientists

Visiting Fellows Awards 
Visiting Scientists Awards 
Targeted Fields: Research in the biomedical sciences.

Eligibility: Visiting Fellows must have a doctoral degree or equivalent in the health sciences and not more than five years of relevant postdoctoral research experience at the start of the fellowship period. U.S. citizens are not eligible for the Visiting Fellow award. Visiting Scientists with three or more years of relevant postdoctoral research experiences are eligible for the following types of appointments: Research Fellow (VP), Clinical Fellow (VP), Staff Scientist (VP), Staff Clinician (VP), Investigator (VP), and Senior Investigator (VP).

Stipend: Visiting Fellows receive a monthly stipend during the award period to cover living expenses. The stipend level is determined by the number of years of relevant postdoctoral research experience. Visiting Fellows are not considered employees of the NIH. Visiting Scientists are appointed to conduct health-related research. They are considered employees of the NIH, receive a salary and, depending on the length of appointment, receive most of the benefits available to employees of the U.S. Government. Visiting Scientists appointments generally are made for up to two years but may be made for a shorter period. Appointments may be renewed; however, the total length of an appointment may not exceed five years. All renewals are subject to applicable visa restrictions.

Deadline Date: Open Deadline - Interested fellows and scientists may submit necessary information at any time. Successful candidates for the NIH Visiting Program will be notified of selection for a fellowship award or appointment and the date it begins in a letter from the Director of the Fogarty International Center, NIH.

Program Summary: The NIH Visiting Program provides opportunities for foreign scientists to train and conduct collaborative research at the National Institute of Health (NIH), the principal agency of the U.S. Government responsible for conducting and supporting biomedical research. Each year, more than 2,000 scientists from other nations conduct research in the basic and clinical science laboratories on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and in several field units around the country. The Visiting Program is open to scientists at all career levels. There are two categories of Visiting Program participants: Visiting Fellows, who receive awards for research training, and Visiting Scientists, who receive appointments to conduct research. Each participant works closely with a senior NIH investigator who serves as supervisor or sponsor during the period of award or appointment.

Application Procedures: An award or appointment to the Visiting Program must be requested by a senior scientist in one of the NIH's intramural laboratories and is offered based on the candidate's qualifications and the rese arch needs of the host laboratory. The NIH senior scientist serves as the participant's sponsor and supervisor during the period of award or appointment. Individuals interested in a Visiting Program fellowship award or appointment should write to NIH senior scientists working in the same research field, enclosing a resume and brief description of their particular research area. Information about the research being conducted by NIH scientists and their names may be obtained through the NIH's CRISP system. Enter your search terms; under “Activity,” select "intramural"; then “Submit Query.” For complete guideline and application information please contact:

International Services Branch
Fogarty International Center
National Institutes of Health
Building 16A, Room 101
BETHESDA, MD 20892-6710


The CURE Digestive Diseases Research Center invites applications (new or second year renewal) for funding during the 2001-2002 academic year. Funding will be available for high quality research in the field of Gastroenterology, which is of relevance to the overall CURE Research Program in gastrointestinal biology and neurogastroenterology, with a special emphasis on mucosal physiology and disease, brain-gut interactions, and receptor and signal transduction. Proposed projects should lead to the submission of a NIH grant (e.g. R01), VA Merit Review Application or related agency research support. Funding level awarded is up to $20,000/year.

Eligibility: 1. New investigators without current or past NIH or related agency research support as principal investigators, who are seeking to establish their own independent research program; 2. Established investigators with other research support who have not been involved in gastrointestinal research and want to enter this field of research; 3. Established investigators with other support for gastrointestinal research who want to pursue a new research direction in the field of gastroenterology, which represents a significant departure from their funded research. Category 1 usually is given preference by the review committee.

Applicants must : 1. Hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have at least 2 years of research experience; 2. Be U.S. citizens, hold a permanent Visa or be in the process of obtaining a permanent Visa. Application Deadline: August 15, 2001; Starting Date: February 1, 2001.

Application forms with detailed instructions can be obtained on the CURE homepage web site at:

For information contact:

Catia Sternini, M.D.
Chair, Pilot and Feasibility Study Program
Voice: 310-312-9477; FAX: 310-268-4615
E-mail: , or

Sharon Monroe, Program Coordinator
Voice: 310-268-3937; FAX: 310-268-4963


The CURE Digestive Diseases Research Center invites nominations for the Named New Investigator for the 2001-2002 funding year. At the time of appointment, the Named New Investigator must be the recipient of a Pilot and Feasibility Study from the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center. Pilot and Feasibility Studies are awarded to high quality research projects in the field of gastroenterology, which are relevant to the overall CURE Research Program in gastrointestinal biology and neurogastroenterology, with a special emphasis on mucosal physiology and disease, brain-gut interactions, and receptor and signal transduction. Funding level for the Named New Investigator is for up to $50,000/year for a maximum of two years. Individuals are eligible only once for this support. Pilot and Feasibility Study awards are funded up to $20,000/year for up to two years.

Eligibility: The Named New Investigator should be a junior investigator without current or past NIH or related agency research project support (including career development awards) seeking to establish his/her own independent research program. Candidates must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have at least 2 years of postgraduate research experience. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or hold a permanent Visa. Appointment of the Named New Investigator is contingent upon approval by the CURE External Advisory Committee, the Executive Committee and the Center Director.

Nominations require sponsorship by one member of CURE and should include a letter of nomination by the sponsor, a curriculum vitae of the candidate, and a statement of research goals and career plans written by the candidate. Application Deadline: August 15, 2001.

Application forms with detailed instructions can be obtained on the CURE homepage web site at:

For information contact:

Catia Sternini, M.D.
Chair, Pilot and Feasibility Study Program
Voice: 310-312-9477; FAX: 310-268-4615
E-mail: , or

Sharon Monroe, Program Coordinator
Voice: 310-268-3937; FAX: 310-268-4963


The International Rett Syndrome Association (IRSA) is requesting proposals for biomedical, clinical, and therapeutic research on Rett Syndrome and has funds available for innovative research proposals. Research opportunities are available in the areas of: DNA binding proteins; transcription factors; co-repressors; imprinted genes; downstream gene targets; neuroanatomy; protein structure; protein function; X chromosome inactivation; mouse models; stem cell research; and neuroimaging analysis.

Rett Syndrome (RS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 1 in 10,000 females. Recently, the discovery of genetic mutations in the gene MECP2 on the X chromosome (Xq28), revealed significant insight into the cause of Rett syndrome. This gene encodes an abundant chromosomal protein (MeCP2), which acts as a transcriptional repressor by binding to methylated CpG base pairs throughout the genome and silencing other genes. Rett syndrome is thought to arise in great part due to abnormal over-expression of genes improperly regulated by a defective MeCP2.

The objective of this fund is to: 1) stimulate interest by new investigators; 2) enable new and established investigators to test the feasibility of new ideas on a small scale; and 3) enable investigators to generate pilot data for proposals for NIH or other foundation funding. Each research grant proposal will be reviewed competitively by a Scientific Review Committee consisting of members of IRSA's Professional Advisory Board. Grants will be judged on scientific merit and relevance, and must be used for basic or clinical research that will lead to a better understanding of the cause, treatment or prevention of Rett syndrome.

There are three types of grants, Small Grants, Postdoctoral Fellowships and Translational Research. Small grants should be hypothesis based proposals, which can be high_risk high reward, to obtain pilot data or a traditional NIH type proposal. Under most circumstance the grant awards will provide funds up to $50,000/year, with two renewals possible. If deemed meritorious, the second year will be provided based on a non-competitive renewal, and the third year will be subject to competitive renewal. For larger grants, special permission should be obtained prior to submission. The proposals should follow the guidelines listed in the application form. Postdoctoral Fellowship awards are intended to support fellows beyond the first year of research fellowship. Predoctoral students are not eligible for this award. Awards will provide funding for one or two years at up to $35,000/year. Proposals should include a description of the training and project goals that will be accomplished within the award period, and should follow guidelines listed in the application form. Translational Research studies are intended to enable basic research findings to move towards clinical application and treatment. These need not be hypothesis based. Proposals should follow the Small Grants format, but the Specific Aims need not be based on prospective hypothesis and can be geared towards achieving an application. The Introduction should identify the studies as translational research. The value of the application and how studies will lead to applications should be made clear in the introduction and text of the proposal. For further information contact:

Cheryl Dunigan
Phone: (301) 856-3334; Fax: (310) 856-3336
or visit the IRSA website for further information on projects, grants and application forms at:


Postdoctoral Position in Neural Repair

There is a postdoctoral position available on the Training Program in Neural Repair starting any time between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2002. 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 July 21, 2001.

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)

Postdoctoral Research In Neural Repair

A postdoctoral position is currently available for a highly motivated person to obtain interdisciplinary research experience in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural repair after brain injury and the role of stem cells in CNS recovery. Candidates should have a M.D., Ph.D. or equivalent degree and be permanent residents or American citizens. Please send a brief description of research experience, curriculum vitae and names of references to:

Dr. Harley Kornblum
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Room 1246 JLNMRC
700 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Two Postdoctoral Positions Available-- University of Cambridge

The Department of Medical Genetics at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Mechanisms in Disease at the University of Cambridge seeks two dynamic and energetic postdoctoral scientists. These scientists will join the research group of Dr. Rubinsztein to work on potential modifiers of Huntington’s disease, using mouse models. This work will be performed as part of an MRC Programme grant and will involve close collaboration with a team led by Professor Steve Brown (MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, Harwell). Candidates with experience relevant to the creation and analysis of transgenic mice are particularly encouraged to apply. Send applications, including a full CV and names of two referees to:

David Rubinsztein
Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Mechanisms in Disease
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Addenbrooke’s Hospital
Hills Road
Cambridge, CB2 2XY
Phone: (01223) 762608

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
300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 2127
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7076
Phone: (310) 825-8281;
Fax: (310) 794-9247


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.

Irfan Bilgin is working toward his Professional Designation in Marketing Certificate Program at UCLA. He is currently working in a research laboratory which investigates aspects of psychiatry, genetics, inflammation, cytokines, pharmacology, St. John's Wort, and depression. Irfan will be graduating from the certificate program in September, 2001, and has a work permit for one year after graduation. He would like to obtain an administrative or research position. Irfan can be reached directly at e-mail or, or by phone at (310) 470-5099.

Todd Davis received a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology from Salem State College in May, 2001, and wishes to pursue his doctorate degree in cognitive neuropsychology. For the past five years he has been researching human handedness and its relation to cognition and intellect. In his final semester he conducted research, which enabled him to present the results at national and local conferences. He is looking for a research position geared toward understanding cerebral dominance, cognitive, and neurophysiological and/or neuropsychological development in children or adults. He is familiar with statistical analysis of Between Group Subject Design. He will be available in early July, 2001, and can be reached at 439 North Glenwood Place, Burbank, CA. 91506, or 2 Hazel Street Apt. 16, Salem, MA. 01970. His contact phone numbers are (626) 676-1797 mobile, (818) 846-6968 home in CA., (978) 825-1222 home in MA., and (508) 578-2949 pager.

Minjie Gu, M.D., Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Gu recieved a Ph.D. in molecular biology & biochemistry from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC) in 1997, and an M.D. degree from Harbin Medicial University in China, in 1982. Dr. Gu has been engaged in molecular biology studies for 12 years and is familiar with most techniques of molecular biology, biochemistry and immunology. Dr. Gu’s experimental skills include: cDNA library construction and screening; RT-PCR, PCR, differential display; Southern, Northern, Western blot analysis using probes labeled with radioactive and non-radioactive material and in situ hybridization; isolation and purification of cDNA, Genomic DNA, RNA from cells, tissues; DNA cloning, restriction, ligation, transformation and sequencing analysis, SSCP; protein expression and purification in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; cell culture and transient transfectin, embryonic neuronal cells; two-hybrid system, mobility shift DNA-binding assay, purification of DNA-binding protein using a biotin/streptavidin system; epitope tagging; FPLC, ion exchange, gel-filtration and affinity chromatography; immunoprecipitation assay, ELISA, immunocytochemistry; steroid compound analysis, microsurgery, essential techniques of fermentation, some reproductive biology research techniques; and the new technology of microarray.

Dr. Gu has been in the United States for two years and has accomplished three major research projects in the following areas: 1) Molecular characterization of PLCs and other enzymes of the PI cycle in the human retina; 2) investigation of the effects of psychothropic drugs on gene expression in the central nervous system; and 3) looking for unknown tumor suppressor genes in human muscle tissue. Dr. Gu has several pubications, and a complete CV is available in the editorial office. Dr. Gu can be contacted directly at: 64 East 97th Street, #30, New York, NY 10029, phone: (212) 722-7490; E-mail:

Viken Tachdjian is a senior, majoring in psychobiology, and specializing in business and administration at UCLA. He is anxious to obtain a summer (and possibly beyond) research position at UCLA. He is most interested in a research internship in the field of neuroscience in order to gain experience and accompany his educational pursuits at UCLA. He is interested in many research topics including neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and topics in behavioral neuroscience such as learning and memory. He has completed upper division Psychobiology classes, amassing roughly a 3.8 GPA. Course work completed includes Research Methods in Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychological Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, and Human Neuropsychology (taught by Dr. Dahlia Zaidel, who can provide a recommendation if necessary). Viken is motivated, ambitious, and energetic, and puts a great deal of effort, detail, and pride in his work. He is proficient working on a Windows platform, with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint expertise. Viken can be contacted directly at (310) 208-6787, or my e-mail at

Sara Jasper is an enthusiastic and intellectually curious junior at Stanford University majoring in Symbolic Systems (an interdisciplinary combination of neuroscience, computer science, psychology, linguistics, and philosophy), with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction. Next year she will be writing an honors thesis on the social and behavioral effects on children using the Internet. She is interested in a summer research position in a laboratory using functional neuroimaging, human-computer interaction, or communications research. Last fall, Sara studied cognitive neuropsychology at Oxford University, England. Last summer, she worked at SAP Labs engaged in web usability design. She also has lab experience in the Behavioral Neurogenetics Research Center at Stanford. Sara is interested in working this summer for about 20-30 hours a week, from mid-June to mid-August, in a research environment where she can expand and deepen her knowledge of the relationship between brain and mind. She has specific interest in the possible relationship between religious experience/belief and brain activation. Sara can be reached by e-mail at: or by phone at (650) 497-3964.

Mike Pesavento is a second year student at UCLA, majoring in cognitive science with a computer specialization and neuroscience minor. He is very experienced in computers and is familiar with the inner working of Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems, as well as having programming skills in C/C++, Perl, HTML, and simple SQL and PostGres. Mike has had 2 years experience writing DNA/RNA parsing and search scripts for a biotech company in San Diego. He is looking for a research position which includes projects that involve an extensive working knowledge of computers and programming skills, as well as an opportunity to increase knowledge and experience in using computers to understand the brain. Mike is available starting mid-June 2001, and can be contacted at: or by phone at (310) 267-8255.


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