Navigation Links
UT's Valentin Dragoi gets $1.2 million grant for groundbreaking approach to brain research
Date:8/25/2009

An innovative approach to brain research developed by a scientist at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston has been selected for funding by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative designed to support high-impact, medical investigations.

Valentin Dragoi, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the UT Medical School at Houston, has been awarded a four-year, $1.2 million grant through the initiative called Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA). The project is titled "Real-time population coding underlying behavioral decisions."

His approach to studying the brain could further the understanding of dissociative disorders that affect about one in 20 Americans.

Dragoi focuses on a region of the brain known as the cerebral cortex, which is a slender carpet of nerve cells or neurons that covers the cerebrum and plays a major role in sight, hearing and motor skills.

The brain is amazingly difficult to interpret because of the high degree of interconnectivity among brain networks, Dragoi said. For instance, sensory inputs are successfully processed by neuronal networks in different cortical areas. Each cortical area consists of multiple layers that contain characteristic patterns of connections with other cortical regions.

Whereas previous research has focused on individual neurons, Dragoi proposes to study the signals of populations of neurons in different regions of the cerebral cortex including visual cortex and high-level cortical areas. Tests will be conducted in an animal model.

"Examining how populations of neurons in multiple cortical areas interact to produce behavior may significantly increase our understanding of how neuronal networks operate in both normal and dysfunctional states," he said.

Dragoi said, "We made tremendous progress in understanding the language of individual neurons. Yet, how populations of cells communicate among each other to control behavior is virtually unknown. The new challenge in neuroscience is to decipher the language of populations of brain cells."

During the experiments, large populations of neurons will be recorded simultaneously using multiple, high-density electrode arrays in three key cortical areas involved in perceptual decisions, Dragoi said. "The experiments that we will perform have the potential to provide key insight into the dynamic transformations of the population code during a behavioral task," he said.

"Although the idea that behavior emerges from interactions among neuronal networks is not new, it has never been tested empirically under the framework of population coding," he said.

"The EUREKA award to Valentin Dragoi will be a major boost to his research on understanding the operation of normal and dysfunctional brain cortical neuronal networks and their impact on the decision-making processes of the brain. We can look forward to many significant scientific breakthroughs from this outstanding young scientist," said John H. Byrne, Ph.D., June and Virgil Waggoner Chair and chairman of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the UT Medical School at Houston

"It is a great honor for him, the department and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The fact that only a few grants were awarded within the entire National Institutes of Health is an indicator of the competitiveness of our neuroscience research program at the national level," Byrne said.

To receive a EUREKA grant, a research proposal must be linked to the mission of one of the NIH institutes. Dragoi's research is connected to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Valentin Dragoi received his doctorate at Duke University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a recipient of numerous awards including the James S. McDonnell Award, the Pew Scholar Award and the Merck Award.


'/>"/>

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. Cigarette after Valentine snuggle deadlier for some
2. Iowa State faculty attract $4.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants
3. Key feature of immune system survived in humans, other primates for 60 million years
4. Obama administration announces more than $327 million in Recovery Act funding for science research
5. Scientists discover Amazon river is 11 million years old
6. UC San Diegos $3 million NSF grant to fund science festivals
7. $2 million grant aids study of lung cancer in people who never smoked
8. $20 million NIH grant to transform clinical research at UIC
9. $29.4 million grant establishes CTSI at NYU in partnership with Health and Hospitals Corporation
10. U of A honored for research that could help 30 million Brazilians
11. US Government Places 6,1 Million USD Orders Related to Precise Match-on-Card(TM) for Cyber Security Programs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UT's Valentin Dragoi gets $1.2 million grant for groundbreaking approach to brain research
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: