Grant Award: NIH Director Innovation Award - Dr. Lucas Sjulson

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Dr. Lucas Sjulson was recently awarded a five-year Avenir Award for Genetics or Epigenetics of Substance Use Disorders research. The project "Uncovering Links between Neuronal Transcriptomic and Functional Profiles in Opioid Addiction" will "use innovative optogenetic and electrophysiological techniques to record neuronal activity from genetically identified cell types in the nucleus accumbens during oral opioid self-administration in mice. We will also take the converse approach, using innovative optical methods to label neuronal subpopulations that are active during different phases of opioid self-administration, then identifying their transcriptomic profiles post mortem using a novel in situ sequencing method. We also describe plans to extend these techniques for compatibility with advanced in vivo multiphoton imaging and single-cell transcriptomic and epigenomic studies. We expect this project will open new lines of exploration in substance use disorders and contribute broadly to understanding the relationship between neuronal gene regulation and functional roles in opioid addiction, which may identify new therapeutic targets." (1DP1DA051608-01)

Grant Award: Claire Ward, Batista-Brito Lab

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Claire Ward from the Batista-Brito Lab has been awarded a five-year F31 grant to investigate the role of impaired parvalbumin-expressing inhibitory neuron development on cortical circuit function. (1F31HD101360-01A1)

Publication: Dr. Ehsan Sabri, Dr. Renata Batista-Brito

Monday, August 17, 2020

Dr. Renata Batista-Brito and Dr. Ehsan Sabri from the Batista-Brito Lab and collaborators recently published Vormstein-Schneider, D et al. Viral manipulation of functionally distinct interneurons in mice, non-human primates and humans. Nat Neurosci. 2020 Aug 17. doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0692-9. Online ahead of Print;

Grant Award: Victoria Sedwick, Autry Lab

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Victoria Sedwick from the Autry Lab has been awarded a five-year F31 grant to investigate the role of the amygdalohippocampal area in infant-directed aggression. (1F31HD102163-01A1)

Publication: Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab Newsletter

Monday, June 01, 2020

The Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab and Human Clinical Phenotyping Core published the first edition of "The CNL" newsletter. The newsletter highlights on-going projects/collaborations, including those focused on rare disease and autism spectrum disorder research, lab members and involvement, and provides insight into the lab's directive and mission.

Media: Profile: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Dr. Kamran Khodakhah was recently featured in The Scientist: The Cerebellum''s Secrets: A Profile of Kamran Khodakhah. The publication describes the early motivations and insights of Dr. Khodakhah''s career and continues onto his recent work, particularly detailing his lab''s ongoing cerebellar studies and its prospective bearing on brain disorders and addiction.

News: Departmental Retreat Registration Now Open

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The 2019 Neuroscience Departmental Retreat will be held on June 17th-18th, 2019 at the Edith Macy Conference Center. Register to attend and submit an abstract now at

Publication: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dr. Kamran Khodakhah and collaborators recently published "Cerebellar modulation of the reward circuitry and social behavior." in Science. This work details how the cerebellum holds a role in reward processing, possibly paving the way for new approaches for treating or moderating addictive behaviors.

Publication: Dr. Renata Batista Brito

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Dr. Renata Batista-Brito and collaborators recently published a review of "Modulation of cortical circuits by top-down processing and arousal state in health and disease."

Grant Award: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Friday, July 27, 2018

Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D. has been awarded a five-year, $2.8 million grant to investigate the relationship between the cerebellum and mental health disorders. Dr. Khodakhah has identified two specific pathways by which the cerebellum comes in contact with other parts of the brain to influence social behavior. He and his team will look for defects in those pathways that could reveal how the cerebellum contributes to mental health disorders. Dr. Khodakhah is professor and chair of the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and the Florence and Irving Rubinstein Chair in Neuroscience. (1R01MH115604-01A1)

Grant Award: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Friday, February 02, 2018

Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D. has been awarded a five-year, $2.3 million grant to use his mouse model to determine at the cellular and molecular level how mutations associated with DYT1 cause dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes muscles to contract involuntarily. Dr. Khodakhah is professor and chair of the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and the Florence and Irving Rubinstein Chair in Neuroscience. (1R01NS105470-01)

Grant Award: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Friday, November 17, 2017

Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D., has received a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to expand on his earlier research linking the cerebellum to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a brain region involved in addiction and other reward-seeking behaviors. He and his colleagues will use anatomical and physiological approaches to find the neural pathways by which the cerebellum can affect the VTA as well as two other regions associated with addiction: the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens. Dr. Khodakhah is professor and chair of the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and the Florence and Irving Rubinstein Chair in Neuroscience. (1R01DA044761-01A1)

News: Renata Batista-Brito: Next Generation Leaders Council

Monday, November 13, 2017

We are pleased to announce that incoming faculty member Dr. Renata Batista-Brito has been selected to be a Next Generation Leader council member for the Allen Institute.

Grant Award: Dr. Julie Secombe

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The National Institute on Aging has awarded Julie Secombe, Ph.D., a five-year, $1.69 million grant to study whether transposons influence aging. So far, research on transposons and aging has been limited by available techniques. Dr. Secombe and her team will use novel methods to analyze the genomes of single cells. They will also focus on the role of Myc, a transcription factor (i.e., a protein regulating gene expression) known to affect aging in model organisms. By determining interconnections among Myc transposons that contribute to aging, the team may develop strategies for suppressing this activity and, ultimately, improve human longevity. Dr. Secombe is associate professor of genetics and is associate professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience. (1R01AG053269-01A1)

Grant Award: BRAIN Initiative - Dr. Jose Pena

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dr. Jose Pena and collaborators were awarded a BRAIN award for the following project: "From Microscale Structure to Population Coding of Normal and Learned Behavior."

Publication: Dr. Steve Walkley

Monday, October 02, 2017

Steven Walkley, D.V.M., Ph.D., has co-authored a study in the August 10 issue of The Lancet showing that the drug 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD) can safely slow NPC1's progression. Patients received monthly or bi-weekly spinal injections of the drug for 18 months. Following the treatment period, biochemical and neurological tests showed that, compared with historical data for patients the same age, patients treated with the drug experienced significantly less cognitive dysfunction, with minimal side effects. Dr. Walkley is director of the Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center and professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, in the department of pathology, and in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein.

Publication: Dr. Pablo Castillo

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pablo Castillo, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues identified a novel form of LTP in which synaptic strengthening depends on the presynaptic neuron (which releases the neurotransmitter into the synapse) rather than on the postsynaptic neuron (which receives the neurotransmitter). This form of LTP may be involved in learning as well as the neuronal excitation that causes temporal lobe epilepsy. The researchers reported their findings online on August 16 in Neuron. Dr. Castillo is professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, as well as the Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Neuroscience.

Grant Award: Dr. Noboru Hiroi

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Noboru Hiroi, Ph.D., has been awarded a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to investigate the interplay among genes, early social communication and neonatal maternal care in determining the severity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Working with a genetic mouse model of ASD, Dr. Hiroi’s lab has observed that newborn mice display an unusual vocalization or “call,” to communicate with their mothers and that this abnormal call reduces the level of maternal care that newborns receive. The researchers will study whether abnormal newborn-to-mother vocalization is caused by ASD-related gene variants and whether this early experience of social communication gone awry worsens ASD-like behaviors through the epigenetic modification of these gene variants. Dr. Hiroi is professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. (1R01DC015776-01A1)

Grant Award: Dr. Scott Emmons

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The National Institute of Mental Health has awarded Scott W. Emmons, Ph.D., a five-year, $2 million grant to investigate the synaptic connections that allow signals to travel from neuron to neuron throughout the brain. The researchers will conduct their studies on the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, which depends on genes similar to those that lay down the neuronal architecture in human brains. Through a combination of genetic, molecular and biochemical studies, the research should shed light on the function of these genes and the factors that make accurate nerve connectivity possible. Dr. Emmons is professor of genetics and of neuroscience and holds the Siegfried Ullmann Chair in Molecular Genetics. (1R01MH112689-01)

Publication: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New Target For Dystonia Therapy—Dystonia—when someone’s muscles contract uncontrollably—is the third most common movement disorder (after Parkinson’s and essential tremor), affecting about 250,000 Americans. Research and treatment for the most common inherited form of dystonia, called DYT1, has focused mainly on the basal ganglia region of the brain. But new animal research by Einstein scientists implicates a different part of the brainthe cerebellumas the site of the problem. The study, published in the February 15 online issue of eLife, was led by Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and the Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Neuroscience. He and his colleagues made their discovery after generating the first mouse model of DYT1 to exhibit the overt symptoms of dystonia seen in patients. Previous research in Dr. Khodakhah’s lab has shown that severing the link between the cerebellum and the basal ganglia might be an effective way to treat cerebellar-induced dystonias.

Grant Award: Dr. Elyse Sussman - ASHA awards

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dr. Elyse Sussman and graduate student Renee Symonds are recent recipients of a number of awards and honors by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Dr. Sussman and Renee Symonds received a Research Mentoring-Pair Travel Award (RMPTA) while Ms. Symonds also received both an Audiology/Hearing Science Research Travel Award (ARTA) and a Student Research Travel Award (SRTA) for recent work, entitled "The Impact of Unattended Auditory Cues on Perception & Task Performance in Complex Auditory Environments." This poster, and the work contained therein, was judged and found to be superlative, being only one of 48, out of over 1900 posters submitted, to earn the "Meritorious Poster" qualification by the ASHA.

Grant Award: Dr. Hiroi - CINP Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award

Sunday, July 03, 2016

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Noboru Hiroi was awarded the 2016 Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award by the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP). Dr. Hiroi will be honored at the opening ceremony of the CINP congress held in Seoul, Korea July 3-5th, 2016

Grant Award: 2016 Junior Investigator Neurosci. Research Awards

Friday, July 01, 2016

We are pleased to announce that the 2016 JINRA awardees are Randy Stout from the Spray Lab and Steven Cook & Leo Tang respectively from the Emmons and Buelow Labs. For more information about the JINRA program, please see the recent About Campus feature article.

Publication: Dr. Vytas Verselis

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dr. Vytas Verselis and collaborators recently published Sanchez HA, Slavi N, Srinivas M and Verselis, VK. Syndromic deafness mutations at Asn 14 differentially alter the open stability of Cx26 hemichannels. J Gen Physiol. 148(1): 25-42, 2016. The work was also featured in a recent EurekAlert news release detailing variation in the symptoms of patients afflicated with keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness (KID) syndrome.

News: Neuroscience Chair: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kamran Khodakhah was recently appointed to chair of the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience. Full press release is available here.

News: 10th Annual Horwitz Faculty Prize: Dr. Scott W. Emmons

Monday, February 29, 2016

Dr. Scott W. Emmons, professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, is the Tenth Annual recipient of the Marshall S. Horwitz, M.D., Faculty Prize for Research Excellence.

Publication: Dr. Feliksas Bukauskas

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dr. Feliksas Bukauskas and collaborators recently published Maciunas K, Snipas M, Paulauskas N and Bukauskas, FF. Reverberation of excitation in neuronal networks interconnected through voltage-gated gap junction channels. J Gen Physiol. 147(3): 273-88, 2016. Their work was also featured on the cover of the journal.

Publication: Drs. Scott Emmons and David Hall

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drs. Scott EmmonsDavid Hall and colleagues have co-authored a feature article for the upcoming "Neuro Special" issue of Nature, Sammut et al. “Glia-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C. elegans.”

News: Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Bronx Zoo Walk

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Members, friends and family of the Neuroscience Department will be walking and fundraising in the Dystance4Dystonia Bronx Zoo Walk, being held on October 4th, 2015 at the Bronx Zoo. Participants should enter via the Southern Blvd gate. Registration begins at 8:00AM, while the event begins at 9:30AM. For more information about Dystonia, click here.

Publication: Dr. Randy Stout Jr.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dr. Randy Stout Jr (of the Dr. David Spray lab) and collaborators recently published Connexin Type and Fluorescent Protein-fusion Tag Determine Structural Stability of Gap Junction Plaques. J Biol Chem. [Epub ahead of print], 2015.

Publication: Dr. Matthew Klein

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Dr. Matthew Klein (of the Dr. Pablo Castillo and Dr. Bryen Jordan labs) and collaborators recently published Coordination between Translation and Degradation Regulates Inducibility of mGluR-LTD. Cell Rep. S2211-1247(15)00166-7 [Epub ahead of print] which was highlighted by the Faculty of 1000.

Media: Fanny Cazettes

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fanny Cazettes, a graduate student in the Pena lab was recently interviewed in eLife discussing "Decoding Behaviour." Fanny Cazettes and collaborators had recently published with eLife for Spatial cue reliability drives frequency tuning in the barn Owl''s midbrain.

Publication: Dr. Ted Bargiello

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Dr. Ted Bargiello and a collaborator published the following review: Oh S, Bargiello TA. Voltage Regulation of Connexin Channel Conductance. Yonsei Med J. 56(1):1-15, 2015.

Publication: Dr. Jose Luis Pena

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dr. Jose Luis Pena and collaborators published the following paper: Cazettes F, Fischer BJ, Pena JL. Spatial cue reliability drives frequency tuning in the Barn Owl's midbrain. Elife. [Epub ahead of print], 2014

Publication: Dr. Kamran Khodakhah

Monday, December 01, 2014

Dr. Kamran Khodakhah and collaborators published the following paper: Chen CH, Fremont R, Arteaga-Bracho EE, Khodakhah K. Short latency cerebellar modulation of the basal ganglia. Nat Neurosci. 17(12):1767-75, 2014.

Grant Award: Dr. Yonatan Fishman

Monday, December 01, 2014

Dr. Yonatan Fishman was awarded an NIH multi-PI grant R01DC013961 with co-investigator Dr. Yale Cohen (University of Pennsylvania). The project examines neural bases of auditory scene analysis in behaving non-human primates.