Dr.Douglas Oliver receives $3.2 million US DoD Grant

Adding to the Arsenal against Tinnitus

UConn Health professor of neuroscience, Douglas Oliver, has received a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program to develop an improved detection method for one of the most prevalent health problems for veterans.

Tinnitus is the sensation of ringing in the ears. This problem affects 10 percent of all Americans but is a particularly potent problem for veterans.

In combat, soldiers are exposed to explosions, gunfire, and other loud noises. Excessive noise exposure is one of the leading causes for tinnitus. Tinnitus and hearing loss are among the most common disabilities for veterans.

One of the most significant problems with treating tinnitus is that it largely relies on self-reporting. Oliver’s project aims to develop an electrophysiological diagnostic test for tinnitus that is much more objective.

Read more about Dr. Douglas Oliver’s project.


As posted in UConn Today October 29, 2018

Dr. Zhao-Wen Wang receives $2 million NIH grant

Using Tiny Worms to Reveal Big Truths

A tiny worm, only about one millimeter long, has been able to contribute an incredible wealth of knowledge about the neural pathways responsible for locomotion in all kinds of animals to the scientific community.

Scientists have generated a detailed wiring diagram of C. elegans locomotion neural circuit; but much still remains to be learned about how neurons in this model circuit interact at the synaptic level to produce locomotion behavior.

UConn Health professor of neuroscience Zhao-Wen Wang has received a grant for more than $2 million from the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study the function of gap junctions and chemical synapses in C. elegans neural circuit.

Read more about this project.


As posted in the UConn Today October 24, 2018

Dr. Verma Receives Prestigious AHA Career Development Award

Rajkumar Verma

Rajkumar Verma, Ph.D., UConn Health assistant professor of neuroscience, has received a prestigious career development award ($231,000) from the American Heart Association to study the therapeutic potential of purinergic receptor P2X4R for the treatment of stroke.

Stroke remains a leading cause of disability in the United States. Despite recent advances, interventions to reduce damage and enhance recovery after stroke are lacking. Stroke-mediated disability imposes a substantial economic burden on individuals and society. In 2010 alone, Americans paid approximately $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability; this is estimated to reach $185 billion by 2030. Thus, treatment of stroke is one of the most important current and future public health issues, with an urgent need for therapies that can move rapidly into clinical trials.

Dr. Verma has recently shown that purinergic receptor P2X4, a receptor for adenosine triphosphate ATP, regulate activation of myeloid immune cells (infiltrating monocytes/macrophages and brain-resident microglia) after stroke injury. Over- activation of P2X4Rs, due to ATP from the dying or damaged neuronal cells, contributes to ischemic injury. In this proposal, Dr. Verma’s intent is to target P2X4R to control immune response of myeloid cells for prompt stroke recovery. He will determine how the inhibition of P2X4R signaling influences these excessive immune during stroke using mice genetically engineered for global or selective deletion of P2X4R in total myeloid or infiltrating myeloid population and also by using pharmacological modulation. Thus, the overall goal of this proposal is to determine if modulation of P2X4 signaling in myeloid cells is a viable approach for stroke treatment.