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Funding Update - December, 2018


  • Dr. Robert Sears (Emotional Brain Institute) received a NARSAD Young Investigator award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for a grant titled “The Orexin System as a Master Modulator of Proactive Coping Behavior.”
  • Dr. Ralph Nixon (Center for Dementia Research) received a grant from the CHDI Foundation titled “In Vivo Evaluation and Therapeutic Modulation of Neuronal Autophagy Flux in HD Mouse Models: Validation of a Transgenic Reporter for In Vivo Neuronal Macroautophagy.”

NKI Researchers Remain Highly Cited

As they did last year, two NKI investigators appear on the 2018 Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers. F. Xavier Castellanos, MD, and Michael Milham, MD, PhD, are both recognized for their contributions in the field of Neuroscience & Behavior. Designation as a Highly Cited Researcher indicates authorship of multiple papers ranking in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science.

Dr. Castellanos has been a Research Psychiatrist at NKI since 2006. He is also an endowed Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Milham is the Director of NKI’s Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation. He also directs research programs at the Child Mind Institute.

Mother’s Touch Supports Pup's Brain Development

A mother's presence may have immediate and long-term effects on her child's developing brain by modulating the serotonin system, suggests a study of rat moms and their pups published in eNeuro. The research provides a potential mechanism by which separating a child from his or her mother early in life could derail development.

By wirelessly recording the brain activity of rat pups during interaction with their mother, Catia Teixeira and colleagues provide evidence for a direct connection between maternal care and the neurotransmitter serotonin — two factors known to be crucially involved in brain development. The researchers demonstrate that a mother’s presence in the nest increases activity in the pups’ prefrontal cortex, a slowly developing brain region rich in serotonin receptors. Blocking these receptors counteracted the effect, while treating isolated pups with the selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitor fluoxetine increased prefrontal cortex activity similarly to that observed in the mother’s presence. These results implicate maternal contact and the serotonin system as important regulators of neuronal activity in the developing brain.

[Summary prepared by The Society for Neuroscience.]

Article: Maternal regulation of pups' cortical activity: role of serotonergic signaling
Corresponding author: Catia Teixeira (Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY, USA),