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2 neuroscientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory awarded 'transformative' NIH grants
Date:9/24/2009

ogical and neuropsychiatric disorders."

The current proposal arose out of planning work in the Brain Architecture Project, undertaken by Mitra with initial funding from the W. M. Keck Foundation and involving important collaborations and contributions from Professor Larry Swanson of the University of Southern California and Jason Bohland, Ph.D., of CSHL, among others. Some of the early discussions took place at meetings Mitra organized over the last several years at CSHL's Banbury Center.

"We hope that the current project will be the seed for a larger community-wide effort for brain-wide circuit mapping across species, enabling comparative studies," said Mitra. "It is greatly encouraging that the NIH, in awarding this generous grant, has taken a leadership role in this area."

Dubnau: Tracing how brain proteins are regulated

Every neuron in the brain forms a complex web of fibers that make connections with countless other neurons. The brain must somehow maintain and control each of these connections by precisely regulating the synthesis or delivery of many different proteins to each of the neural connection points, called synapses. Geneticists already know a great deal about how cells control the quantity of each RNA synthesized ("transcribed") in the nucleus. But these RNA molecules each carry instructions beyond the nucleus, to direct the synthesis of a particular protein. Much less is known about how the translation of each RNA into a given protein is precisely controlled at each neuronal synapse.

Josh Dubnau's "transformative" project addresses an important gap in knowledge: about how this fundamental step in the conversion of genetic information -- its "translation" from RNA to protein -- is regulated in neurons, the ubiquitous cells of the brain whose dense web of connections underlie its capacity to perform sophisticated functions such as forming and storing memories.

"Every neuron in the bra
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Contact: Peter Tarr
tarr@cshl.edu
516-367-8455
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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