Dr. Lin Mei, chief of developmental neurobiology at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Neuroscience, has received the 2008 Mathilde Solowey Lecture Award in Neurosciences.
The annual award, administered by Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, honors young or rising neuroscientists who excel in research that is cutting edge, translational and of broad importance.
Dr. Mei will discuss his studies of neural circuitry formation and synaptic plasticity, which have shed light on potential causes of schizophrenia and seizures as well as how certain neuromuscular diseases may occur, in a lecture May 15 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Dr. Mei and his colleagues study the function and underlying mechanism of neuregulin-1 and its receptor ErbB4 in neurotransmission. Both are important for neural development and have been implicated in schizophrenia. They discovered that the two proteins help keep a healthy balance between excitation and inhibition of brain cells. In 2007, Dr. Meis research, published in Neuron, showed that neuregulin-1 promotes inhibition at the site of inhibitory synapses in the brain by increasing release of GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter.
In 2000, his research team showed neuregulin-1 suppresses excitation at excitatory synapses, communication points between neurons where the neurotransmitter glutamate excites cells to action. Both functions require ErbB4. The collective findings reveal a check and balance for brain cell activity managed by neuregulin-1 in the brains prefrontal cortex, the site of complex reasoning and decisions about appropriate social behavior. They also provide new treatment targets for psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and neurological disorders such as epilepsy.
He also studies how neurons and their target cells form contacts or synapses where signals are passed from one to the other
|Contact: Toni Baker|
Medical College of Georgia