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BSi’s Newest Grant Recipients Stand Out for Breadth, Innovation

Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute has just announced its second cycle of research grants, awards totaling $6.4 million over a two-year period. The 16 grants extend to research teams throughout the university’s schools and campuses, advancing the BSI goal to solve fundamental questions of brain development and function and translate those findings into therapy.
In this cycle, 89 investigative teams forwarded possible research topics for three of the Institute’s target areas: New Approaches to Perception and Cognition, Regeneration and Repair in the Nervous System and Schizophrenia.
The proposals reflect the BSI’s aim to spark broader collaborations and unusual creativity in neuroscience research across Hopkins.  Three-quarters of the faculty who applied are in the School of Medicine, from 11 departments, and from the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences and the Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE). The remaining quarter include faculty from Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab, the university’s schools of Engineering, Public Health, Education, Arts and Sciences, and the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute as well as the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Successful grantees were chosen by the BSI’s executive committee along with a largely- external committee of experts. More than scientific merit figured into a grant award: A project had to have high marks for innovation, had to bring together new multidisciplinary groups and had to show potential for high impact in a given field. “The quality of proposed research was, on the whole, outstanding,” says BSI Director, John Griffin, “and we regret not being able to fund all projects with merit.”
Among the successful grantees in the Perception and Cognition area are investigators whose proposals involve novel neuroimaging. Other projects include a broad-based effort in systems physiology—led by the Mind Brain Institute’s Edward Connor—to identify common themes in handling visual, auditory and somatosensory information.  Hongjun Song and his ICE colleagues sparked reviewers’ enthusiasm: Song’s team hopes to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells from skin into desired neuronal types for research. Psychiatry’s Akira Sawa will assess altered oxidative lymphocyte metabolism in schizophrenia patients. And Jef Boeke has developed a retrotransposon-based tiling chip to hunt for genetic changes in that disease.
The Complete List of Grantees:
 New Approaches to Perception & Cognition
Johns Hopkins University School of Education Neuro-Education Initiative
Mariale Hardiman and Susan Magsamen
Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Enabling technologies for two-photon imaging of brain activity
Dwight Bergles, David Foster, Scot Kuo, Marshall Hussein-Schuler, Eric Young, David Yue
Departments of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering
Pattern cognition program at Johns Hopkins University
Ed Connor, Xiaoqin Wang, Steven Hsiao, Steven Yantis, Charles Limb
Departments of Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Otolaryngology
Novel approaches to cognition using transcranial magnetic stimulation
John Desmond, James Pekar, Harry Charles, Reza Jalinous, Marilyn Albert
Departments of Neurology, Radiology, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
Mechanisms of proprioception and application to prosthetic hands
Allison M. Okamura, Steven S. Hsiao
Mechanical Engineering and Neuroscience
Genetically-based technologies for the visualization of cellular and subcellular structures: a resource for the neuroscience community
Jeremy Nathans
Molecular Biology and Genetics

Regeneration & Repair in the Nervous System

Non-invasive cerebellar stimulation to improve locomotion
Pablo Celnik, Amy Bastian
Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Neuroscience
Imaging regenerating and sprouting axons in the intact, living mammalian brain: An experimental platform for testing therapies to promote brain repair
David Linden, Joseph Steiner, Alex Kolodkin, Ron Schnaar
Departments of Neuroscience, Neurology, Pharmacology & Molecular Sciences
Epigenetic regulation in axon regeneration
Guo-li Ming, Hongjun Song, Ahmet Hoke, Fengquan Zhou
Departments of Neurology and Orthopaedic Surgery
The involvement of developmental pathways in motor neuron regeneration
Shanthini Sockanathan, Ahmet Hoke, Thomas Brushart
Departments of Neuroscience, Neurology, and Orthopaedic Surgery
Human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) platform
Hongjun Song, Ted M. Dawson, Guo-li Ming


Microarray detection of retrotransposons and copy number variations in schizophrenia
Jef Boeke, David Valle, Ann Pulver
Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Schizophrenia therapeutics: Adult stem cell model development
Christopher Ross, Hongjun Song   
Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Neurology
Glucose metabolism and oxidative stress-associated cellular susceptibility in schizophrenia: a systematic study using patient tissues and cells
Akira Sawa, Sandra Lin, David Schretlen, Nicola Cascella, Peter Barker, Thomas Sedlak
Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Otolaryngology, and Radiology
The role of NRG3 in schizophrenia
David Valle, Dimitri Avramopoulos, Ann Pulver, Andy McCallion, Michael Zwick, Akira Sawa, Hongjun Song
Departments of Genetic Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Comparative Medicine, and Neurology
BACE1-related NRG-ErbB4 signaling and schizophrenia
Philip Wong, Alena Savonenko, Paul Worley, Don Price
Departments of Pathology and Neuroscience
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