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WashU Experts: Science cuts would cause ‘chilling effect’

Proposed federal budget cuts to two major programs could translate into fewer treatments, fewer cures, fewer drug findings, fewer researchers and fewer breakthroughs in areas where the United States is a world leader, say science and health experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Newly discovered brain network recognizes what’s new, what’s familiar

New research from Washington University in St. Louis has identified a novel learning and memory brain network that processes incoming information based on whether it’s something we’ve experienced previously or is deemed to be altogether new and unknown, helping us recognize, for instance, whether the face before us is that of a familiar friend or a complete stranger.

Exploring the brain’s role in stress-induced anxiety​​​

Calming a neural circuit in the brain can alleviate stress in mice, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that lays the foundation for understanding stress and anxiety in people. The researchers also showed they could shine a light into the brain to activate the stress response in mice that had not been exposed to stressful situations.

Device delivers drugs to brain via remote control​​

A team of researchers, including neuroscientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has developed a wireless device the width of a human hair that can be implanted in the brain and activated by remote control to deliver drugs to brain cells. The technology, demonstrated for the first time in mice, one day may be used to treat pain, depression, epilepsy and other neurological disorders in people by targeting therapies to specific brain circuits.

Encouraging diversity in the neurosciences

In an effort to increase diversity in the neurosciences, Washington University in St. Louis has received a five-year, $1.5 million federal grant to participate in a national pipeline program with that mission.

Functioning brain follows famous sand pile model

In 1999, Danish scientist Per Bak made the startling proposal that the brain remained stable for much the same reason a sand pile does; many small avalanches hold it at a balance point, where — in the brain’s case — information processing is optimized. Now scientists have shown for the first time that a brain receiving and processing sensory input follows these dynamics.

Bruchas, Gereau receive DECODE grant

Anesthesiology researchers Robert Gereau, PhD, (left) and Michael Bruchas, PhD, (right) have received one of only 11 DECODE (Deciphering Circuit Basis of Disease) grants to be awarded. The awards were announced at a ceremony featuring Thomas Insel, MD, (center) director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Raichle awarded Kavli Prize in Neuroscience

Marcus E. Raichle, MD, a Washington University professor internationally renowned for his contributions to advancing the frontiers of cognitive neuroscience, is one of three scientists awarded this year’s prestigious Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.
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