Navigation Links
UTHealth neuroscientist wins prominent NIH Director's Pioneer Award
Date:8/31/2010

Valentin Dragoi, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), is one of 17 researchers to win a 2010 National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award. The award supports scientists who propose revolutionary, high-impact approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

Dragoi, who is proposing a new way to study how the brain processes information, will receive a total award of approximately $3.5 million over the next five years. "To have been selected for this award is fantastic news for me. The Pioneer competition was extremely intense," Dragoi said.

The 2010 Pioneer Awardees will be introduced at the Sixth Annual NIH Director's Pioneer Award Symposium in Bethesda, Md., Sept. 30 Oct. 1.

"Scientists are trying to understand the fundamental way in which the brain operates," said John Byrne, Ph.D., holder of the June and Virgil Waggoner Chair and chairman of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the UTHealth Medical School. "There are many diseases of the brain. In many cases, we do not know what causes them."

Learning more about the causes of Alzheimer's disease, depression and other brain diseases could aid in the development of treatments, Byrne said. "If your car sputters and you don't know how it works, it is hard to fix," he said.

While some people think of the brain as a computer, it is more like a complex network of computers. "Neuroscientists know how individual neurons (nerve cells) work. The big challenge is understanding how the neurons work together," Dragoi said. The brain contains more than 100 billion neurons, each linked to as many as 10,000 other neurons.

Much of Dragoi's research is focused on how neural networks process information to influence behavior. "Nerve cells may form a network to process one piece of sensory information. Another combination of these cells can reform to process something else," he said.

With the Pioneer Award, Dragoi plans to develop advanced technologies that will allow him to observe neural activity in naturalistic environments. The technology will also allow Dragoi to monitor brain activity during sleep. "We all know sleep is critical to enhance learning. You can't perform well without it. But, we are not really sure why," Dragoi said. NIH review panelists described his approach as "the future of neuroscience," he said.

"This is one of the top honors a biomedical researcher can receive," said Peter Davies, M.D., Ph.D., provost and executive vice president of research at UTHealth.

In 2009, Dragoi won a $1.2 million grant through an NIH initiative called Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA). He is also the recipient of the James S. McDonnell Award, the Pew Scholar Award, the Merck Award and other awards. Dragoi received his doctorate at Duke University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dragoi is the second Pioneer Award recipient from UTHealth. Cheng Chi Lee, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the UTHealth Medical School, earned a Pioneer Award in 2006.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UTHealth stem cell scientists explore treatments for blood disorders and lung diseases
2. Community involvement important in fight against childhood obesity, according to UTHealth researchers
3. Neuroscientist Robert H. Wurtz receives the $500,000 Gruber neuroscience prize
4. Neuroscientist: Think twice about cutting music in schools
5. Dolphin cognitive abilities raise ethical questions, says Emory neuroscientist
6. Caltech neuroscientists discover brain area responsible for fear of losing money
7. 2 neuroscientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory awarded transformative NIH grants
8. Caltech neuroscientists find brain region responsible for our sense of personal space
9. Neuroscientists discover long-term potentiation in the olfactory bulb
10. Bipolar disorder genes, pathways identified by Indiana University neuroscientists
11. 3 prominent Cell Press journals named among the 100 most influential journals in past 100 years
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UTHealth neuroscientist wins prominent NIH Director's Pioneer Award
(Date:3/21/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... a leading provider of secure digital communications services, today ... biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in ... facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile app, ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , March 15, 2016 ... a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital ... Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital ... at US$ 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to ... to 2023. Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... HANOVER , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> - ... ) - --> ... les solutions biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes ... lecteur LF10 de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... Despite the volatility that continues to envelop the ... research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the investor community,s focus on the ... ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: CERS ), Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals ... Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ). Register with us today ... On Wednesday, shares in Massachusetts ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Thailand’s Board of ... 2016 in San Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives from the Thai ... and discuss the Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. , Deputy Secretary ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH. (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, today announced that Charles W. Stellar has been ... served as WEDI’s interim CEO since January 2016. As an executive leader with more ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... Last ... planning for corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego Life Science ... the San Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: