Navigation Links
Salk scientists receive $3 million for BRAIN Initiative grant
Date:9/30/2014

LA JOLLAJoseph Ecker, a Salk professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and Margarita Behrens, Salk staff scientist, have been named recipients in the 2014 round of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative for leading-edge work in neuroscience. The grant, announced September 30, provides more than $3 million in funding to the Salk scientists over three years.

The BRAIN Initiative, launched last year, is a Presidential effort to support high-priority research that advances basic neuroscience, with the goal of uncovering how the brain works and developing ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and traumatic injury. Four federal agenciesthe NIH, National Science Foundation (NSF), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)have committed to contributing more than $100 million in the 2014 fiscal year to support the initiative.

The brain has several cell types, many of which are still not well understood. The new grant will support Ecker and Behrens' labs in constructing a map of the brain that identifies each cell type and how they are connected. In particular, Ecker and Behrens will examine how brain cell formation is influenced by the epigenome, an array of molecules or chemical tags that dot the DNA and regulate the activity of genes. The epigenome, together with the genome, determine the growth and function of all organs, including the brain.

"We are very excited by this additional support from the National Institute of Mental Health to participate in the BRAIN Initiative," says Ecker, who is also a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator and the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics. "We believe our new approachwhich utilizes epigenetic differences in brain cell typeswill complement existing mapping approaches, ultimately leading to deeper understanding of neurons' identity and functional differences, as well as providing a possible window into brain development and disease."

A process called DNA methylationwhereby carbon and hydrogen atoms are added to one of the four bases in DNA called cytosine (C)is one major way the epigenome influences the genome. This methylation turns off genes and prevents certain proteins from being produced.

Ecker, who led the team that created the first detailed map of the human epigenome, developed an epigenetic tag mapping method, called MethylC-Seq, that tracks where the DNA building block cytosine has been methylated. Ecker has already applied MethylC-Seq to questions about epigenetics that span many fields. Recently, Ecker and Behrens produced detailed maps of the brain epigenome in humans and mice during their lifespan, work that was listed as a "top ten" research advance in 2013 by the NIMH director, Tom Insel.

"These maps allowed the discovery that neurons show specific methylation marks that differentiate them not only from non-neuronal cells in the brain, but among themselves," says Behrens. "This opens a whole new world in neurobiology, where each brain cell can be identified by a stable molecular marker. This will facilitate the study of how brain connectivity is established and maintained."

The labs will use genome-wide cytosine methylation maps of brain cell populations to probe the physical location of cells displaying unique methylation marks in brain slices and whole brains. This novel approach will result in the creation of an epigenetic map of each cell type that can be connected with existing brain gene expression atlases and connection maps, ultimately serving as a reference comparison with maps for neurological disease states such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease and revealing more about neurological disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Salk Communications
press@salk.edu
Salk Institute
@salkinstitute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists identify which genes are active in muscles of men and women
2. Smithsonian scientists discover corals best defender against an army of sea stars
3. Scientists make droplets move on their own
4. Scientists discover a new role for estrogen in the pathology of breast cancer
5. Scientists discover new poison dart frog species in Donoso, Panama
6. CIFAR fellows named to Thomson Reuters list of Nobel-caliber scientists
7. Star Trekish, rafting scientists make bold discovery on Fraser River
8. Scientists create new designer proteins in fight against Alzheimers and cancer
9. No sedative necessary: Scientists discover new sleep node in the brain
10. Scientists find how mysterious circular RNA is formed, claim muscular dystrophy link
11. Elsevier and Australasian Research Management Society award scientists at Scopus ceremony
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Salk scientists receive $3 million for BRAIN Initiative grant
(Date:1/14/2019)... ... January 14, 2019 , ... CellMax Life , a ... blood, will present new findings at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium in San ... results from this study show CellMax Life’s blood test, based on its proprietary ...
(Date:1/10/2019)... ... January 10, 2019 , ... ... translational gap between inexpensive in vitro studies and significantly more expensive in vivo ... vivo efficacy and toxicity. To address this need, researchers have begun to adopt ...
(Date:1/7/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... January 07, 2019 , ... ... (RWD) and Artificial Intelligence solutions for precision health in oncology and other key ... J.P Morgan’s exclusive meeting of investors, entrepreneurs and executives spanning the entire healthcare ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2019)... ... January 16, 2019 , ... On January 15 of this year, ... by Asymmetrex director James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. The PGCB was ... the PGCB and CellTrials.org. Now in its 21st year of operation, the PGCB ...
(Date:1/20/2019)... LOUISVILLE, Ky. (PRWEB) , ... January 17, 2019 ... ... and an Autodesk Platinum Partner announces the launch of a specialized automation technology, ... customer requested parameters for automatic generation of models and drawings to deliver to ...
(Date:1/15/2019)... ... January 15, 2019 , ... With the U.S. Congress designating January as Cervical ... (STD) testing service, today announces tips to help reduce the risk of Cervical Cancer. , ... (HPV). Genital HPV is the #1 most common STD and an STI that ...
(Date:1/10/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Rascal was adopted from a local shelter when he was around two years ... Unfortunately, just six weeks after he was adopted, he tore his right cruciate ligament. ... the joint after such a traumatic injury. , Sure enough, when Rascal was about nine ...
Breaking Biology Technology: