Theresa Harrison

BRI member leads study showing how a molecular receptor helps restore brain function after 'silent stroke'

S. Thomas Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, is senior author of a five year study that shows how the brain can be repaired and brain function recovered after a stroke in animals.

The discovery could have important implications for treating a mind-robbing condition known as a white matter stroke, which is a major form of dementia. "Despite how common and devastating white matter stroke is, there has been little understanding of how the brain responds and if it can recover," Dr. Carmichael said. "By studying the mechanisms and limitations of brain repair in this type of stroke, we will be able to identify new therapies to prevent disease progression and enhance recovery."

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (December 27th, 2016).

More details here.

Image left: New brain cells replace those destroyed by stroke in animals: immature cells are green, more mature cells are red and fully mature cells are orange.


June Image of the Month

Image of the Month

Traverse section of day 4 chicken embryo labeled with antibodies against Lhx2/9 (red), IsI1I (green), and LhxI/5 (blue). These transcription factors are establishing both different classes of neurons in the spinal cord and distinct mesodermal derivatives in the proximal distal limb and embryonic kidneys.


Image by Madeline Andrews from the laboratory of Samantha Butler, Ph.D.





In the News Image

Announcing the Inaugural Recipients of the BRI Knaub Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis Research 

Funded by a generous gift from the Knaub Unitrust, established by Richard and Suzanne Knaub, the fellowships support Postdoctoral or Predoctoral Fellows pursuing projects related to Multiple Sclerosis research at UCLA. The fellowships recognize young scientists who exemplify trainee excellence, innovation, and a multidisciplinary approach to MS research. 

The inaugural Knaub Fellows are Stefano Lepore, Ph.D. from the laboratory of Allan Mackenzie-Graham, Ph.D.; and David DiTullio from the laboratory of S. Thomas Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D. 

"We want to express our sincere gratitude to the Knaub family for this generous gift which will enable these young researchers to contribute to translational research related to understanding and treating MS," said BRI Director Christopher Evans.

Learn more about the 2017 Knaub Fellows here.



The Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program


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Joint Seminars in Neuroscience Lecture Series

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dr. Marshall Shuler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute
Department of Neuroscience, Director of Admissions
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

"The Neural Genesis of Reward Timing and a Theory of Intertemporal Decision Making"

A central function of the brain is the ability to predict the timing of future events of behavioral importance based on past experience.  This ability to appreciate the predictive qualities of environmental cues affords a means by which the organism may subsequently inform the timing of future actions, evaluate the relative worth of options, and govern future learning in response to changes in the statistics of the environment.  By relating predictive neural activity to behavioral outcome, brain reinforcement systems are thought to mediate changes in synaptic efficacy underlying this ability to learn temporal expectations.  Thus, understanding the means by which such reinforcement systems encode interval timing is a central question in the field.  Exemplifying this process is the phenomenological observation of so-called “reward timing activity“ in the primary visual cortex (V1) of rodents, wherein pairing visual stimuli with delayed reward leads to stimulus-specific activity predicting the time of expected reward (Shuler and Bear 2006; Zold and Hussain Shuler 2015).  Having modeled how reinforcement signaling can cause a network to learn to produce reward timing activity (Gavornik, Shuler et al. 2009; Huertas, Hussain Shuler et al. 2015), we tested and demonstrated that cholinergic innervation of V1 is necessary (Chubykin, Roach et al. 2013) and sufficient (Liu, Coleman et al. 2015)  for cued-interval timing to form.  We then show that such activity in V1 is behaviorally-relevant by demonstrating how spiking activity within V1 is predictive of visually-cued timing behavior, and how perturbation of V1 lawfully shifts the behavioral report of an interval’s expiration (Namboodiri, Huertas et al. 2015).  Together, these observations advance a general understanding of reinforcement learning, that the cholinergic system can serve as a reinforcement signal, and that V1 can produce intervals informing the timing of visually-cued behaviors.  Finally, a general theory of how time’s cost is assessed and incorporated into decision making is presented (Namboodiri, Mihalas et al. 2014; Namboodiri, Mihalas et al. 2014), rationalizing a number of well established, yet curious, observations.  


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