CSHL's Adam Kepecs receives McKnight Memory & Cognitive Disorders Award
Associate Professor Adam Kepecs, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has received the 2014 Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award from The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. The award, which provides $100,000 per year for three years, supports innovative efforts to solve problems of neurological and psychiatric diseases, especially those related to memory and cognition.
“We are delighted that the McKnight Foundation has recognized Dr. Kepecs’ innovative research with a Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award and we are confident that he will make important breakthroughs in understanding complex systems involved with neuron signaling,” said Anthony Zador, M.D., Ph.D., CSHL Professor and Neuroscience Program Chair.
Kepecs received the award for his work relating to the nucleus basalis (NB). NB is a vitally important but poorly understood part of the brain whose degeneration parallels the decline of cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's dementia and normal age-related cognitive decline. NB has also been implicated in learning and memory, but little is known about how it signals with the cortex. Kepecs’ research combines state-of-the-art behavioral electrophysiology with quantitative psychophysics and optogenetics to determine how and when NB neurons signal. Kepecs hopes to identify fundamental principles of neural circuit function to develop therapeutic treatments for cognitive diseases.
CSHL's Partha Mitra receives two awards for theoretical work with implications for brain circuitry
Professor Partha Mitra, the Crick-Clay Professor of Biomathematics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), whose laboratory takes both neuroanatomical and theoretical approaches to understanding structural and functional properties of the mammalian brain, is receiving two honors for his recent work.
In Florence, Italy on December 12th, Dr. Mitra will receive the George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award of the Control Systems Society (CSS) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This award annually recognizes outstanding papers published in the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control. The paper receiving this year’s award is co-authored by Dr. Mitra and his colleagues Drs. Bassam Bamieh, Mihalo Jovanovic and Stacy Patterson.
CSHL congratulates Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award recipient Dr. Hongwu Zheng
Dr. Hongwu Zheng has received a four-year $600,000 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Sontag Foundation. Interested in finding an effective therapy for the most common and lethal brain tumor known as malignant glioma, Dr. Zheng is investigating how these cancers emerge from normal neuronal cells and transform into metastatic tumors.
"Dr. Zheng is an inspiring example of an early-career scientist pursuing innovative basic research that I am confident will have important clinical applications," said CSHL Research Director David L. Spector.
CSHL cancer researcher Gregory Hannon wins NIH’s prestigious MERIT Award
Professor Gregory Hannon, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, has won a MERIT Award from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). This prestigious award, which stands for Method to Extend Research in Time, recognizes highly productive scientists by extending funding for an existing research project grant.
A leader in the field of small RNA biology, Hannon has sought to understand the biological roles of small RNAs and the underlying mechanisms by which they operate. He and colleagues have identified and characterized many of the protein complexes, including Dicer and RISC, that generate and process small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs).
4 CSHL neuroscientists win NARSAD Young Investigator awards to study autism, schizophrenia
Four early-career neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have been awarded prestigious NARSAD Young Investigator grants. The announcement was made by the Great Neck, N.Y.-based Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF).
The four are all postdoctoral researchers, and are among 200 awardees chosen from among 1199 applicants worldwide. The two-year, $60,000 NARSAD grant award is highly coveted within neuroscience circles, in part as a mark of recognition for doing cutting-edge research as recognized by BBRF’s 138-member scientific council; and as a means of facilitating the transition for young scientists to ultimately work in laboratories they themselves direct.
Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., the President and CEO of CSHL, extended his warm congratulations to the four. “On behalf of the entire faculty, let me say that we are proud of you, individually, and pleased that through your projects, the goal of our basic research program in neuroscience of understanding the biology underlying devastating disorders including schizophrenia and autism has been given an important boost."
Dr. Christine Iok In Chio is named a Damon Runyon Fellow in cancer research
Christine Iok In Chio, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), has been named a Damon Runyon Fellow. The announcement was made July 9 by the Fellowship Award Committee of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, which provides today's best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative research.
Dr. Chio works in the laboratory of Dr. David Tuveson, Deputy Director of Research at CSHL’s Cancer Center, Director of the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Research Laboratory at CSHL and Director of Research for the Lustgarten Foundation.
Dr. Chio’s research centers on pancreatic cancer, which is a particularly devastating and difficult-to-treat disease because of its ability to grow in conditions of high oxidative stress—conditions in which normal cells would not survive. She is evaluating the biological role of oxidative stress in pancreatic cancer development and progression, using both mouse models of pancreatic cancer as well as human tumor samples.
All 17 recipients of the prestigious, three-year Damon Runyon Fellowship award are outstanding postdoctoral scientists conducting basic and translational cancer research in the laboratories of leading senior investigators across the country. The Fellowship encourages the nation's most promising young scientists to pursue careers in cancer research by providing them with independent funding ($156,000 each for basic scientists, $186,000 for physician-scientists) to work on innovative projects.About The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation provides today's best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative research. The Foundation has gained worldwide prominence in cancer research by identifying outstanding researchers and physician-scientists. Since its founding in 1946, Damon Runyon has invested nearly $270 million and funded more than 3,400 young scientists. For more information visit http://www.damonrunyon.org
CSHL genome researcher Emily Hodges, Ph.D., named a Blavatnik Award finalist
CSHL genome researcher Emily Hodges, Ph.D., has been named one of five finalists in the annual Regional Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, it has been announced by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
Dr. Hodges, who was cited for her postdoctoral work in genetics and genomics, will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds from the foundation. Hodges received her Ph.D. from the Karolinska Institute in 2006. After completing her postdoctoral work on next-generation sequencing for targeted genomics under the mentorship of CSHL Professor and HHMI Investigator Gregory Hannon, Hodges was promoted to CSHL Research Investigator, a position she now holds.
Hodges’ most recent work involves the use of epigenomic profiling to understand the role of DNA methylation in gene regulation and cell fate specification during development. The Regional Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists program was established in 2007 to acknowledge and celebrate the excellence of the most noteworthy postdoctoral scientists age 42 or under, who work in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Blavatnik Awards recognize highly innovative, impactful, and interdisciplinary accomplishments in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering. Next year, the awards will expand to a national scope, from the current focus on the New York tri-state region.
The winners and finalists of the Regional Blavatnik Awards program are presented at the New York Academy of Sciences' Science & the City Gala, held every November in New York City.About The Blavatnik Family Foundation
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. For more detailed biographical information on Len Blavatnik or Access Industries, please visit: www.accessindustries.com.
Alea Mills named "Woman of the Year in Health/Medicine"
"For her dedication to finding breakthroughs in autism and cancer research," the Times of Huntington has named CSHL Professor Alea Mills as Woman of the Year in Health/Medicine. The Times made the announcement in "Putting the pieces of autism together at CSHL," an article on Mills' recent work by Karen Forman, appearing December 27, 2012. Dr. Bruce Stillman, President of CSHL, explained in the article that Mills and her team discovered several years ago that large sections of chromosome 1 were deleted in many cancers and she was able to delete or remove the equivalent sections of chromosome 1 in mice. Read More
In deleting these sections, she eventually traced it down to a single gene. This is called "chromosome engineering — performing large-scale alterations to chromosomes at will," Stillman said. More recently, Mills and her team, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Wigler's lab, succeeded in using chromosome engineering to make a mouse model that mimics certain autism behaviors frequently seen in children. "She is a very collaborative scientist," Dr. Stillman noted. "Alea has played a central role in this technology. Other scientists are jumping on this research now. Scientists are collaborating with Alea to study the brains of these animals."
CSHL scientist Chris Vakoc receives ‘A’ award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has announced that CSHL Assistant Professor Christopher R. Vakoc, M.D., Ph.D., has been has been named as a recipient of one of its ‘A’ awards for pediatric cancer research. Vakoc, one of four scientists to receive the honor, will receive $375,000 for his research examining pediatric leukemia. Read More
He will work on a project entitled, “BET bromodomain inhibition as epigenetic therapy in pediatric leukemia.” Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). At the age of 4, Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since then, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, with thousands of volunteers across the country who carry on her legacy of hope. To date, more than $50 million have been raised toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 200 research projects nationally including those examining leukemia, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilm's tumor, lymphoma, and osteosarcoma among others. For more information on the Foundation or to make a donation, please visit http://www.alexslemonade.org/.
AAAS council elects CSHL’s Leemor Joshua-Tor a 2012 AAAS Fellow
CSHL Professor and HHMI Investigator Leemor Joshua-Tor has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. AAAS members are awarded this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The 2012 AAAS fellows were formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on 30 November 2012, as well as online at the AAAS website. As a member of the Section of Biological Sciences, Joshua-Tor was elected as an AAAS Fellow for contributions to the field of nucleic-acid enzymes, particularly in the fields of RNA interference and DNA replication. Read More
Joshua-Tor’s lab studies the molecular basis of cell regulatory processes by using the tools of structural biology and biochemistry to examine proteins and protein complexes associated with these processes. Efforts largely center on nucleic-acid regulation including the process of RNA interference (RNAi) and DNA replication initiation in papillomaviruses. In addition to her research, Joshua-Tor was the Dean of the Watson School of Biosciences at CSHL from 2007-2012 and is a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) external working group on the future biomedical workforce.
The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list. The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org) among other periodicals.
CSHL Professor Nicholas Tonks is named a Vallee Visiting Professor
CSHL Professor Nicholas Tonks, Ph.D., F.R.S., has been named a Vallee Visiting Professor, a distinction conferred upon scientists by the Bert L. and N. Kuggie Vallee Foundation who have “a demonstrated record of exceptional creativity, originality, and leadership, and sustained success at an elite level.”
Professor Tonks, a biochemist and molecular biologist, is well known for having laid the foundations for the identification and functional characterization of a superfamily of 107 regulatory enzymes called protein tyrosine phosphatases, or PTPs. Protein phosphatases recognize phosphorylated amino acid residues and function to remove them; their action is thus complementary to the class of protein kinases, which add phosphate groups to amino acid residues. Together they play crucial roles in myriad cell-signaling, or signal-transduction, pathways. Read More
In recent years Tonks’ team has shown how PTP1B recognizes the insulin receptor as a substrate, thus making it possible to think of a diabetes drug based on inhibition of PTP1B. Potentially, PTP1B inhibitors have another very important application, in HER2-positive cancers, including breast cancers. The HER2 oncoprotein – the target for the drug Herceptin – is a tyrosine kinase. Published experiments have shown that mice engineered to express HER2 but to lack the PTP1B enzyme have attenuated tumorigenesis and tumors that do not metastasize. Tonks’ lab is currently working on these and other implications of his pathbreaking PTP discoveries.
The Vallee Foundation was formed to contribute to the advancement of medical education and medical science by promoting the development of interdisciplinary sciences related to human health by supporting interactions between productive scientists both in the United States and abroad; promoting dialogue between productive scientists and nonscientists who can promote the practical application of scientific research; sponsoring and/or organizing short-term visiting professorships, symposia, tutorials and lectures; and engaging in such other activities of a nature consistent with the foregoing purpose.
CSHL’s Anne Churchland awarded 2012 Trubatch Career Development Award by Society for Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience has announced that CSHL Assistant Professor Anne K. Churchland, Ph.D., has been selected as one of the recipients of its Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award for 2012. The award recognizes “promise and achievement in the field of neuroscience for early-career professionals.” It comes with a $2,000 prize and will be presented on Tuesday, October 16 at the Society’s annual meeting, “Neuroscience 2012,” in New Orleans. Read More
Churchland’s research aims to elucidate how the brain integrates information from multiple senses to make decisions. To get at the neural circuitry underlying decision-making, she studies the electrophysiological responses of cortical neurons in rodents as they perform tasks. Churchland also uses theoretical models to study how neural responses drive behavior. The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. The Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development award recognizes two individuals who have demonstrated originality and creativity in research. It is intended to promote success during academic transitions prior to tenure.
CSHL scientist Chris Vakoc named "V Scholar" for 2012 by The V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research has announced that CSHL Assistant Professor Christopher R. Vakoc, M.D., Ph.D., has been selected as one of its “V Scholars” for 2012. Vakoc, one of 17 of the “best and brightest cancer researchers” identified nationwide by the Foundation, will receive $200,000 over the next two years to further his research. Read More
He will work on a project entitled, “Therapeutic targeting of the Polycomb Complex PRC2 in acute myeloid leukemia.” The V Foundation was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has funded more than $100 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
CSHL's Adrian Krainer selected for prestigious award from National Institutes of Health
Professor Adrian Krainer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has been selected by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to receive a MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award. This prestigious award recognizes highly productive scientists by extending funding for an existing research project grant. Read More
CSHL Professor Gregory Hannon elected to U.S. National Academy of Sciences
Gregory J. Hannon, Ph.D., a CSHL Professor and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), it was announced today. Election to the NAS is among the highest honors conferred upon scientists in America. Read More
CSHL genetics education pioneer David Micklos wins Genetics Society of American award
David A. Micklos, the founder and executive director of the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), has been named the recipient of the 2012 Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education by the Genetics Society of America (GSA). Read More