All posts in Neuroscience
The Shepherd lab is happy to announce the release of our newest paper in Cell, detailing a newly discovered function of Arc in intracellular RNA transfer. Huge congratulations to Drs. Elissa Pastuzyn and Cameron Day for their hard work. Link to Article>>
Dr. Jason Shepherd received an R01 through the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the mechanism of Arc dependent synaptic plasticity.
Congratulations to Kyle Jenks for receiving a NRSA award from the National Institute of Mental Health!
I discuss the focus of our work and how it relates to neurological diseases.
Our Neuron paper (paper link) describing a new GCaMP reporter mouse (a transgenic mouse that expresses a protein that can sense levels of calcium in cells) is out today! This was a great collaborative project between multiple Utah neuroscience labs. Exemplary of the close knit community here!
Traditionally scientists mostly use one sex for their studies. Especially in neuroscience where behavioural differences may prove confounding. While I think this is a good idea, we could certainly be more efficient when using our animal colonies if we did discard females, it will certainly mean that monitoring whether there are sex differences in a study will make it a longer one.
The National Institute of Mental Health is one of the largest funders of Neuroscience research in the world. This is an interesting article on how NIMH director Thomas Insel has single handedly turned the ship towards funding more mechanistic/biological neuroscience, which as a basic neuroscientist…I approve!
Today the Shepherd lab participated in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session:
It was a great experience with over 1000 comments/questions asked…awesome to get so much interest but humbling to see so many people affected by mental illness and other neurological disorders.
The internet and social media has revolutionized how information is disseminated in society. Scientists have started to use social media to help talk about their work and make it more accessible to the general public. REDDIT is one of the most popular sites, especially those under 30. The Shepherd lab will be involved in a new initiative on REDDIT that aims to help the public interface with scientists. See http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1vqimu/announcing_the_rscience_ama_series/
We will be hosting an AMA next Thursday Feb 6th 12 noon EST.
Two Nature papers that came online today implicate rare mutations in Arc in human patients with Schizophrenia. This has exciting implications for our work in understanding Arc’s role in neuronal function, as our work may now help shed light on this common psychiatric disorder!
Links to the papers, if anyone is interested but doesn’t have access let us know:
Great story about a neuroscientist’s personal encounter with his own genetic history and how that explains much of his behaviour but also highlights how genes aren’t everything. This interplay between environment and genes is precisely the plasticity my lab is trying to uncover! http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/life-as-a-nonviolent-psychopath/282271/
New study (http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.3623.html) shows that Caffeine can boost the consolidation of memory. So drinking that coffee before/during your lecture is a good idea!
Congrats to Elissa for being awarded a NIH T32 Developmental Biology Training Grant postdoctoral fellowship!