Picower Fellows are researchers of exceptional ability, originality, resourcefulness, and the highest caliber of intellectual achievement. The fellowships program provides them an opportunity to pursue training under the mentorship of a Picower Institute faculty investigator in any laboratory in the Institute, including the space, resources and support needed to run their own programs and pursue an independent research agenda, freed from the burden and uncertainty of trying to secure grant funding.
Meet the current class of these outstanding researchers below.
And visit here to learn of alumni from this and preceding programs.
|Chinnakkuruppan Akaikkan||Li-Huei Tsai||Adaikkan investigates the contribution of acetylcholine (ACh) neuromodulatory system in visual stimulation-induced gamma oscillations using a variety of methods, He plans to explore whether boosting ACh neurotransmission can improve the therapeutic potential of non-invasive visual gamma rhythm stimulation for Alzheimer’s disease.|
|Saba Baskoylu||Steven Flavell||Baskoylu uses the model C. elegans to study how repeated exposure to aversive cues over long time scales stably changes foraging behaviors, allowing animals to avoid injury and survive. By deciphering the mechanisms that underlie these long-lasting circuit changes, she hopes to reveal fundamental neural mechanisms that allow animals to stably integrate information about their environment and construct internal models of the external world.|
|Sayak Bhattacharya||Earl Miller||
Bhattacharya hypothesizes that spatially traveling waves of neural activity in the cortex organize neural oscillations in working memory tasks. He is studying various aspects of the nature of these waves to learn more about how they encode items retained in memory.
|Timothy Brawn||Matthew Wilson||
Brawn has worked with a variety of methods and animal models to study sleep-dependent memory consolidation. In the Wilson lab he plans to learn optogenetic and calcium imaging techniques to explore how the hippocampus and cortex interact during sleep to create lasting memories.
|Chloe Delepine||Mriganka Sur||
Employing 3D cerebral organoids derived from patients with Rett syndrome, Delepine is exploring the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal migration deficits during development. Through her research she aims to identify near early therapeutic strategies for the disorder.
|Quentin Ferry||Susumu Tonegawa||Memories are not formed in a vacuum but rather learned against a background of prior knowledge acquired through past experiences. Systems reconsolidation may be one of the pathways through which newly formed memories interact with, and are integrated into, prior knowledge. Ferry seeks to understand how the original (prior experience) and the recall-induced (novel experience) memory engrams interact during the process of systems reconsolidation of memory (SRM), as well as characterize the neural circuits supporting this mechanism.|
|Hyeseung Lee||Myriam Heiman||Lee has been using Huntington’s disease models to study cell-type specific molecular mechanisms that contribute to the progression of neurodegenerative diseases as well as to normal aging. She is excited to explore the contribution of striatal Foxo1 to Medium Spiny Neurons (MSNs) aging and response to mutant huntingtin, potentially yielding therapeutic targets.|
|Chad Sauvola||Troy Littleton||Sauvola is working to characterize the protein tomosyn, which has a key role in mediating plasticity in neurons that release neurotransmitters upon connection with synapses on other cells ("presynaptic" plasticity). Tomosyn interfaces with the machinery within presynaptic cells to affect vesicle fusion, a process that enables neurotransmitter release.|
|Gabe Schamberg||Emery N. Brown||Schamberg is working on developing control signals for a closed loop anesthesia delivery (CLAD) system that will provide real-time control and delivery of anesthesia for patients in the operating room. In this work he is leveraging years of research aimed at understanding signals produced by the human brain under anesthesia and recent work in control models for anesthetic delivery in animal models.|
|David Stoppel||Mark Bear||
Stoppel studies the molecular mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorders. He is currently investigating a unique Fragile X syndrome phenotype with the expectation that better understanding of the causes of the phenotype will lead to novel therapeutic strategies that overcome the limitations of what have been attempted to date.
|Ji Wang||Kwanghun Chung||
To enable a crucial step in the Chung lab’s efforts to create a comprehensive 3D map of the entire human brain, Wang is engineering a vibratome that is capable of slicing a whole brain into uniform slabs several millimeters thick, which allows for tissue processing and imaging (and later image reconstruction). The sectioning achieves minimal tissue deformation.
|Liu Yang||Gloria Choi||The goal of Yang's research is to uncover how behavioral patterns are changed by cytokines in the course of sickness and the neurological mechanisms underlying these behavioral changes.|