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2019 Awards

DIRECTOR'S AWARD - NEW DIRECTIONS IN NEUROSCIENCE

Awarded to Professor Angelike Stathopoulos and Professor Kai Zinn

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Investigating reverse signaling by FGF ligands in the developing nervous system

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), despite their name, play important roles in embryonic nervous system development and patterning. Most FGFs are secreted ligands (signals) released from cells that bind to cognate receptors (FGFRs) on other cells. “Reverse signaling,” in which the ligand-expressing (“sending”) cell also receives a reciprocal “feedback” signal from the “receiving” cell, has been described for some ligand-receptor systems but not for FGFs. Stathopoulos and Zinn hope to determine if FGFs exhibit reverse signaling, and if so whether that mechanism is of special importance for the early development of neurons and glia.

T&C CHEN CENTER FOR SYSTEMS NEUROSCIENCE AWARDS

Awarded to Professor Michael Dickinson and Asst. Professor Joe Parker

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Platforms for behavioral analysis and brain imaging in interacting insects

Dickinson and Parker plan to develop new methods for studying the social
behaviors of rove beetles, using state-of-the art techniques in robotics and
machine vision.

Awarded to Professor Grant Jensen

Jensen
Molecular architecture of synapses by electron cryotomography

Jensen plans to resolve conformational changes of synaptic receptors, details of receptor anchoring and post-synaptic density organization in general, at nanometer resolution. He
hopes that this will help to elucidate the molecular basis of information transmission and
storage in the brain.

Awarded to Professor David Prober

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Zebrafish whole-brain functional imaging to derive basic principles that underlie
sleep and wake states

The neuronal mechanisms that regulate sleep and wakefulness are poorly understood. Prober
will tackle this old problem by taking a new approach using whole-brain functional imaging
in larval zebrafish.

Awarded to Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

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Towards developing a synthetic brain from synthetic embryos
The cell biological processes that underlie the development of the primate brain are
unclear. Current models of brain development are limited because brain regions develop
in random positions. To overcome this, Zernicka-Goetz proposes to develop new brain models
from synthetic embryos.

T&C CHEN CENTER FOR SOCIAL AND DECISION NEUROSCIENCE AWARDS

Awarded to awarded to Research Asst. Professor Cindy Hagan and
Professor John O'Doherty

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Elucidating the role of anxiety and interoceptive signaling in anorexia nervosa

Anxiety disorders are suggested to play a significant role in both the risk of developing and persistence of the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. The aims of this proposal seek to better understand the role of anxiety and internal body signals in relation to anorexia nervosa by using a comprehensive set of assessments.

T&C CHEN BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACE CENTER AWARDS

BMI Hardware Development

Awarded to Professor Julia Greer

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Stimuli responsive micro-architected materials: enabling long term neural recording

In this project Greer proposes developing a novel platform for minimally invasive neurological sensing that is based on using “smart materials” as underlying constituents.

BMI Machine Learning Analysis Methods

Awarded to Professor Azita Emami

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System-on-Chip for Machine Learning Based BMI
The main goal of this project is to develop hardware-efficient machine learning algorithms for decoding of neural data, and subsequently translate these algorithms to an implantable low-power System-on-Chip (SoC). 


Non-invasive Human Interface Development

Awarded to Asst. Professor Mikhail Shapiro

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Feasibility of a Human Ultrasonic Brain-Machine Interface

Functional ultrasound (fUS) has emerged as a breakthrough technology allowing non-invasive or minimally invasive imaging of neural activity. If this technology could be used in an effective human BMI, it would open the door to a minimally invasive BMI system. In this project, Shapiro proposes a small pilot study which will start to answer this question.