Research Team Briefs for 2013

Steven Poelzing’s basic research has direct effect

Dec. 13, 2013

For scientists conducting basic biological research, discoveries often take years before they’re translated into effects on individual patients. Even if they lead to clinical trials, the impact on human health is not a guarantee. Imagine the delight, then, when a scientist sees a research paper have a dramatic effect on a patient less than a year after publication.

Warren Bickel and Stephen LaConte awarded grant to study self-control therapies

Dec. 3, 2013

The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute has received a five-year, $2.8-million grant to study interventions aimed at enhancing self-control among problem drinkers.

Michael Fox and team discover how retinal neurons claim best brain connections

Nov. 6, 2013

Real estate agents emphasize location, location, and – once more for good measure – location. It’s the same in a developing brain, where billions of neurons vie for premium property to make connections. Neurons that stake out early claims often land the best value, even if they don’t develop the property until later.

Robert Gourdie publishes book on wound regeneration and repair

Oct. 16, 2013

Robert Gourdie, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and director of the Center for Heart and Regenerative Medicine Research, has compiled, edited, and published a book titled, Wound Regeneration and Repair: Methods and Protocols. The book delves into the molecular underpinnings of the healing of tissues and organs, including the eyes, skin, neural system, and heart. It is a mix of review articles and cookbook-style “how-to” pieces that provide insight into the methodology of carrying out experiments in the field. It also details necessary equipment and tips and tricks not normally included in scientific papers.

Warren Bickel and Pearl Chiu join in on the conversation about addiction

Oct. 4, 2013

Warren Bickel, director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Pearl Chiu, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, talked with May Lily Lee, host of Virginia Conversations on WVTF Public Radio, about their research on addiction on September 20, 2013.

Michael Fox presented two talks for Vanderbilt’s Center for Matrix Biology

Oct. 2, 2013

Michael Fox, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, delivered two talks at the Center for Matrix Biology at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Brooks King-Casas awarded grant for research into the neurobehavioral determinants of adolescent risk-taking

Oct. 2, 2013

What makes the adolescent brain so susceptible to health risks? Virginia Tech scientists have received a $3.9-million grant over five years from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for research into the neurobehavioral determinants of risky behavior in adolescents.

Gregorio Valdez highlighted in story from top ALS nonprofit biotech organization

Oct. 2, 2013

Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, was featured in an article about promising research that could slow the onset and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, of ALS. The article appeared on the homepage of the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the top nonprofit biotechnology organization dedicated to developing effective treatments for ALS.

Jamie Tyler presents work on transcranial focused ultrasound at Carnegie Mellon workshop

Oct. 2, 2013

William “Jamie” Tyler, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, gave a presentation at the second-annual Next Generation Medical Imaging Workshop, held at Carnegie Mellon University on September 27–28, 2013.

Konark Mukherjee presents new animal model for pervasive diseases

Oct. 2, 2013

Konark Mukherjee, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, gave a talk at the International Conference on Psychology, Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease, the 136th OMICS Group Conference, on September 30.

Michael Friedlander and Audra Van Wart spearhead BEST award

Sept. 19, 2013

Virginia Tech has been named one of ten academic institutions to receive a first-of-its-kind grant from the National Institutes of Health to help prepare graduate students and postdoctoral scholars for biomedical research careers that could take them beyond conventional academic research. The funding will begin October 1, and the ten institutions will share approximately $3.7 million for the current fiscal year. The awards are for five years.

Spearheading the Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BEST) award at Virginia Tech are Michael Friedlander, associate provost for health sciences at Virginia Tech and executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Audra Van Wart, director of education and training at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Harry Dorn and team find evidence of 'buckyball' formation

Sept. 16, 2013

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle, commonly called a buckyball, is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Harry Dorn reappointed as Dr. A.C. Lilly Jr. Faculty Fellow in Nanoscience

Sept. 12, 2013

Harry Dorn, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and a professor of chemistry in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed the Dr. A.C. Lilly Jr. Faculty Fellow in Nanoscience by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Gregorio Valdez presents lectures at the National Institutes of Health and international conferences in Brazil

Sept. 9, 2013

Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has had a busy schedule this past month, having traveled the world to give several talks on his research regarding neuromuscular junctions.

Warren Bickel wins major grant for smoking cessation research

Sept. 7, 2013

Warren Bickel, an internationally recognized addiction expert at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, recently received a $3.2-million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for research on improving self-control in smokers seeking to quit cigarettes. The grant will provide between $573,000 and $716,000 a year over a five-year period to develop innovative new ways to enhance the smokers’ ability to abstain from acting on their nicotine cravings.

Rosalyn Moran begins recruitment for a new study

Sept. 4, 2013

Rosalyn Moran, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has launched a recruitment campaign for a new study, "Brain Connectivity Supporting Memories Across the Lifespan." Study participants ranging from 18 to 80 years old will perform a simple memory task during a brain scan.

Jamie Tyler’s research on ultrasound neuromodulation featured in New Scientist

Aug. 28, 2013

The research of Jamie Tyler, assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, is featured in a three-page article in today’s issue of New Scientist magazine on how minute physical perturbations appear to play a large role in how neurons interact with each other. The article is, in part, based on Tyler’s recent article published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience outlining the current state of the field.

Michael Friedlander and Audra Van Wart lead award-winning graduate program

Aug. 26, 2013

A new graduate program at Virginia Tech is garnering national acclaim, and it hasn’t even enrolled its first student yet. The Association of American Medical Colleges announced the recipients of its second annual Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-focused Training. Out of 35 national submissions, Virginia Tech’s new doctor of philosophy degree program in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health was a semi-finalist, reaching the top four of an elite, competitive field.

Read Montague to present latest advances in computational neuroscience at workshop in Japan

Aug. 22, 2013

Read Montague, director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will present a talk about his research program on deep phenotyping of human behavior and brain function on August 30, at a workshop, “Mechanism of Brain and Mind,” in Nagoya, Japan.

Stephen LaConte presented at an Organization for Human Brain Mapping meeting

June 21, 2013

Stephen LaConte, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, was invited to present at the 19th annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping in Seattle on June 17.

Zhi Sheng and Sarah Young awarded summer research fellowship

June 20, 2013

Zhi Sheng, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Sarah Young, a first-year medical student in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, have received the 2013 American Brain Tumor Association’s Medical Student Summer Fellowship. The grant comes with $3,000 for medical students to spend a summer conducting brain tumor research in a mentorship setting to provide introductory learning experiences.

Read Montague discussed neuromarketing on Virginia Conversations

June 17, 2013

Read Montague appeared on Virginia Conversations, a program on Virginia Public Radio, on April 19 to discuss neuromarketing and how the human brain responds to advertising.

Rosalyn Moran presented insights into analyzing rhythmic neurological data

June 7, 2013

Rosalyn Moran, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, recently spoke at Rhythmic Dynamics and Cognition, a two-day event on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Deborah Kelly recently delivered Sydney S. Negus Memorial Lecture

May 27, 2013

Deborah Kelly, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will give the Sydney S. Negus Memorial Lecture at the 91st Annual Meeting of the Virginia Academy of Science.

Alexei Morozov and colleagues discover a protein that regulates synaptic ion channels that have been tied to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

May 20, 2013

Researchers have discovered a pathway by which the brain controls a molecule critical to forming long-term memories and connected with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The discovery was made by a team of scientists led by Alexei Morozov, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Jamie Tyler receives innovation award

May 17, 2013

William “Jamie” Tyler, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, recently received the 2013 Innovation Award from the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. Tyler was honored for pioneering a promising avenue of research that could both provide powerful insights into brain circuitry and yield a novel approach to treating neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Michael Friedlander delivered the commencement address for Jefferson College of Health Sciences

May 13, 2013

Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, delivered the spring commencement address for Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke on May 10.

Konark Mukherjee’s work on CASK garners attention in Science article

April 22, 2013

Experimental results obtained in the laboratory of Konark Mukherjee, an assistant professor at VTC Research Institute, were recently mentioned in the journal Science.

Michael Friedlander delivered a grand rounds on the neuroscience of effective learning

April 16, 2013

Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, delivered a grand rounds presentation on the neuroscience of effective learning to faculty, residents, and medical students in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas San Antonio Health Sciences Center on April 16.

Michael Fox presented on collagen mutations that may contribute to autism

April 16, 2013

Michael Fox, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, recently gave a talk at a meeting of the Virginia Blue Ridge Section of the American Chemical Society. His lecture, “The Neurochemical Basis of Autism and Novel Mechanisms Underlying Synapse Formation,” focused on genetic mutations that are linked to autism spectrum disorders and that affect the formation of synapses in the mammalian brain.

Gourdie speaks to Carilion audience on translational research

April 16, 2013

Robert Gourdie, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, delivered a lecture at the sixth annual Carilion Clinic Research Day on April 25. The conference was intended to highlight translational research, one of Carilion Clinic’s continuing focal points. Gourdie was a logical choice to speak at the event, as his research into novel wound healing drugs was spun off into a startup company, FirstString Research Inc.

Valdez collaboration to search for genetic causes of epilepsy

April 13, 2013

Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has been awarded a grant in collaboration with Judy Shih-Hwa Liu of the Children’s National Medical Center to search for molecular mechanisms that could prevent the initiation or progression of epileptic seizures.

Fox collaboration aims to understand retinal neuronal targeting

April 13, 2013

Michael Fox, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has been awarded a grant in collaboration with Jason Triplett of the Children’s National Medical Center to investigate how neurons in the brain develop precise connections within a network.

Read Montague to deliver the annual Mike McKay Lecture on the Mind

April 10, 2013

Read Montague, director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will deliver Randolph-Macon College’s Annual Mike McKay Lecture on the Mind on April 11. His presentation, “Can We Phenotype Thought? Modern Neuroimaging and the Effort to Connect Mind to Brain,” will explore connections between neuroscience and social cognition.

Stephen LaConte presented on brain injuries and biomechanics

April 9, 2013

Stephen LaConte spoke at a one-day symposium on brain injuries and biomechanics in Arlington, Virginia, on April 3.

Read Montague participates in workshop focused on speeding therapies for neurological disorders

April 8, 2013

Read Montague, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has been selected to participate in an Institute of Medicine workshop focused on accelerating the development of therapies for a range of disorders that affect the nervous system, including neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Konark Mukherjee presents evidence that molecules believed to be pseudokinases are actually active

April 8, 2013

Konark Mukherjee presents evidence that molecules believed to be benign have an active, important role in neurogenesis

Harry Dorn collaboration to target neuroblastoma detection and treatment

April 3, 2013

Harry Dorn, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has received a grant in collaboration with Anthony Sandler of the Children’s National Medical Center to develop better treatments and diagnosis for neuroblastoma.

Warren Bickel to advise the FDA on tobacco product regulation

March 22, 2013

Warren Bickel was recently appointed to the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Michael Friedlander named Virginia Tech's associate provost for health sciences

March 19, 2013

Dr. Michael Friedlander was recently named Virginia Tech’s first associate provost for health sciences.

Steven Poelzing lends expert insight to podcast on cardiac electrophysiology

March 11, 2013

Steven Poelzing, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, recently joined a podcast from the American Journal of Physiology highlighting recent research results in his field of expertise.

Zhi Sheng uncovers molecular mechanism mediating natural cell death

Feb. 22, 2013

Zhi Sheng, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has published a paper in the journal Apoptosis through a collaboration with colleagues in Korea. The paper describes the discovery of the molecular mechanism that splices RNA and, in turn, controls the self-destruction of cells, otherwise known as apoptosis.

Craig Ramey applauds call for universal access to high-quality preschool

Feb. 15, 2013

Craig Ramey, PhD, the founder of a decades-long scientific study that has proved the enduring benefits of early education, today applauded President Obama’s call for universal access to high-quality preschool in the United States.