University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Neuroscience ~ 2013 Annual Report

Rodney Parsons, Ph.D., Director

The Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Neuroscience, created in 2001 by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center of Research Resources, enhances neuroscience research and training infrastructure across multiple colleges at the University of Vermont.

The Neuroscience COBRE supports two sophisticated multiuser research cores: an Imaging/ Physiology Core, which provides access to state-of-the-art imaging equipment dedicated to live imaging, and a Cell/Molecular Core, which provides personnel and access to sophisticated equipment required to complete cellular and molecular biology experiments.

A highlight for the Neuroscience COBRE this past year has been the installation of the new Zeiss multi-photon microscope, which was purchased through an NIH Shared Instrument grant. The new Zeiss microscope greatly expands the capabilities of multiple innovative studies that concern regulation of cerebral blood flow. Using multi-photon microscopic imaging of living brain slices, a number of UVM neuroscientists investigate neurovascular coupling, the interaction between nerve cells, astrocytes, and cerebral blood vessels, in normal brain and after neural injury.

Other studies supported by the Imaging Facility investigate the regulation of expression of voltage-dependent ion channels or G-protein coupled receptors by endocytosis, a mechanism that can determine neuronal excitability. The Cell/ Molecular Core has been instrumental in supporting novel studies that have identified signaling cascades leading to transformation of normal nerve progenitors to malignant neuroblastoma cells or mechanisms through which neuropeptide receptor internalization forms signaling endosomes.

The Neuroscience COBRE also provides set-up funds to assist in the recruitment of new neuroscience faculty and support for one-year Pilot Projects to help neuroscience investigators generate preliminary data that is essential to the development of new R01 applications. This past year, the Neuroscience COBRE contributed recruitment funds to Alicia Ebert, Ph.D., a new junior investigator in the Department of Biology and supported a pilot project entitled “Determinants of multipotency and neurogenesis from reactive astrocytes,” which was awarded to Jeffrey Spees, Ph.D., from the Department of Medicine. In addition, the Neuroscience COBRE supports a University-wide Neuroscience Seminar Series and Annual Retreat.

The major goal in all the work of the Neuroscience COBRE is to enhance faculty research capabilities by providing access to core facilities, which significantly increase their competitiveness for extramural funding. UVM faculty published research this year that referenced use of Neuroscience COBRE Cores in such publications as: the Journal of Neuroscience, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, and Oncogene.

Last modified December 17 2013 04:00 PM