Dear CNLM colleagues,
I’m delighted to announce the recipients of the inaugural CNLM High Risk, High Reward Pilot Awards. These $25,000 grants support interdisciplinary, collaborative, early stage, and proof-of-concept research that advances our understanding of the brain mechanisms of learning, memory, and memory-related disorders. The program is supported with generous donations from our philanthropic community, led by Dr. Diane Silber and her late husband Dr. Igal Silber.
The first awardee is the team of Dr. Susanne Jaeggi (Education), Dr. Jacky Au (Education) and Dr. Bryce Mander (Psychiatry and Human Behavior), whose project titled “Learning while you rest: promoting memory consolidation with audio-visual stimulation” leverages recent advances in noninvasive stimulation to present gentle, rhythmic lights and sounds to increase low-frequency brain activity that has been shown to promote memory consolidation. The goal of the research is to develop a simple, portable, and scalable tool that can facilitate learning and memory and potentially slow down age-related memory decline.
The second awardee is Dr. Lulu Chen (Anatomy and Neurobiology), whose project titled “Mechanisms of cortical hyperexcitability underlying neural synchronization, sleep regulation, and behavioral flexibility” aims to uncover links between gene mutations associated with autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy, and abnormalities in brain oscillations including sleep dysregulation, as well as inflexibility of behavior (difficulty shifting between behavior when rules change). The goal is to identify new synaptic targets for therapeutic interventions to treatments symptoms of autism and epilepsy.
We are very excited about these two projects moving forward. This was a very competitive process, and I am very thankful to the anonymous committee of reviewers who provided thoughtful critiques and feedback to all applicants to help them improve their applications for future rounds of competition.
Congratulations to Drs. Chen, Mander, Jaeggi and Au on winning these awards and we look forward to seeing the results of their work soon!
Michael A. Yassa, Ph.D.
Professor and James L. McGaugh Chair
Director, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
The High-Impact, High-Reward Pilot Program is made possible by the generosity of our community. The High Impact Research Programsupports innovative high-risk, high-reward research. This is the kind of research that has the potential to accelerate transformational, rather than incremental discovery.