The human brain always has fascinated graduate Melissa Herman. In her first year of college, she joined the Tulane University Neuroscience Association (TUNA), a special-interest group. When she was a sophomore, Herman found a way to share enthusiasm about neuroscience with high school students by launching an after-school neuroscience teaching program at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School, rotating a half-dozen Tulane students as tutors.
It was a fluke that Michelle Liu, soon to be a graduate of Tulane University, discovered that her passion is elder care. As a first-year student, Liu attended an activities expo on campus and signed up to volunteer at a home for the elderly.
Thinking that she would spend a pleasant afternoon playing bingo and listening to the elders tell stories, Liu was shocked by the living situations of the elderly she encountered. She became indignant through her first-hand experiences of seeing older adults of poor socioeconomic status who live with poor nutrition, poor housing and poor access to quality health care.
Liu, who is earning dual degrees in anthropology and neuroscience, is heading to Louisiana State University School of Medicine with the goal of becoming a geriatrician. She will be the first physician in her family.
Benjamin Hall, an assistant professor of cell and molecular biology and neuroscience at Tulane University, has won a $1.8 million grant that will enable him and his research team to explore questions that could eventually lead to new treatments for chronic depression.
The five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health means Hall can purchase new lab equipment and employ additional researchers to study the role of the NMDA receptor in the treatment of depression. The NMDA receptor plays a critical role in the transmission of information between neurons.
As director of neuroscience at Tulane University, Jeffrey Tasker always looked forward to the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference each fall. New Orleans was on the group’s three-city rotation, giving his students an opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the field. But last year, after holding its 2012 conference in the Crescent City in mid-October, the group replaced New Orleans with Chicago. The official reason: threat of hurricanes. Now, Tasker is leading the charge to persuade the society to rethink its decision and return New Orleans to the rotation with San Diego and Washington, D.C. His efforts include a petition drive and a letter-writing campaign.
The annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) made its return to New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, sweeping over 25,000 neuroscientists into the city this past October. After demonstrating their intellectual prowess at poster sessions and seminars all day, the Tulane Neuroscience graduate students hosted the mixer on Monday Oct. 15th at The Howlin' Wolf. "We wanted to share with all the visiting neuroscientists what happens only in New Orleans, and only at Tulane!" said Deb Karhson, 5th year doctoral student.
Middle-aged women who use hormone therapy are usually doing it to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and insomnia — the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. But research conducted by Tulane University psychologist and neuroscientist Jill Daniel suggest that hormone therapy could have other effects in women: helping to stave off the cognitive decline and dementia associated with old age.
“Jaws” it isn’t, but the tiny striped zebrafish is helping Tulane University scientists take a big bite out of a tough question — what drugs might be beneficial for treating psychological disorders?
While Hagar Elgendy’s days as a member of the Tulane University swimming and diving team have come to an end, her time in the pool is far from over. The soon-to-be graduate has her eye on a new goal — representing her country in the Olympic games.
The School of Science and Engineering's event allows students to illustrate their latest research outcomes on paper posters affixed to portable walls.
Faculty members and graduate students discussed their work in a variety of disciplines at Women’s Research Day, held on Friday (Feb. 3) in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall at the Lavin-Bernick Center. The session was sponsored by the Newcomb College Institute and several initiatives within the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Tulane researchers are developing new nanomaterials to study how adult stem cells grow and might be used to treat central nervous system disorders. Leading this research is Michael Moore, the Paul H. and Donna D. Flower Early Career Professor in Engineering, director of the Neural Micro-Engineering Laboratory, and the most recent winner of the Oliver Fund Scholar Award at Tulane University.
She’s a lifelong teacher and a cheerleader for the sciences who has led service-learning courses for more than a decade. It’s no surprise that Beth Wee, whose enthusiasm inspires her students, is the 2011 recipient of the Barbara E. Moely Service Learning Teaching Award.
In her Tulane laboratory, Nandini Vasudevan is busy studying how hormones such as estrogen influence the social behaviors of mice. It’s a $1 million project funded by the National Science Foundation, but this summer she also will step into the classroom to encourage high school students toward careers in science.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by a traumatic life event and is characterized by the recurrent retrieval of the traumatic memory in the form of context-induced flashbacks and recurrent nightmares. The amygdala is a critical brain structure involved in both the formation and the extinction of emotional memories.
Over the past decade, researchers have studied the hunger hormone ghrelin and discovered many of its functions, but Tulane graduate student Juhee Haam recently found another role of this attention-grabbing hormone.
In laboratories on the uptown and downtown campuses, Tulane undergraduates are learning the value of basic research, sharpening their presentation skills and gaining insight into the big career picture through the neuroscience summer research program.
Can short-term estrogen treatment during middle-age exert lasting positive effects on memory and the brain? That’s a question being investigated in the neuroscience laboratory of Jill Daniel, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, with the support of a recently awarded 3-year, $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Hall has received a National Science Foundation Career Award. Over the next five years, the grant will provide $920,000 in funding for Hall's laboratory research and his work with undergraduate students in the sciences. Hall's research involves cortical development, which requires morphological elaboration of billions of neurons and precise formation and maturation of trillions of synaptic connections. The goal of research in his laboratory is to improve our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate cortical synapse development.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has awarded a grant (R21-NS065374) to Dr. Michael J. Moore for studying the immobilization of developmental ligands in micropatterned hydrogels for guided nerve growth. His approach involves digital light projection (DLP), the same technology used in DLP televisions and projectors, for patterning biocompatible hydrogels on the scale of micrometers (1/1000th of a millimeter). These micropatterned hydrogels provide a three-dimensional environment for studying the guidance of neural tissue growth in response to biomolecules engineered into the gels. The work may have future implications for understanding the development and repair of the nervous system.
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