Dr. Juan Song has been awarded a highly selective grant from the Whitehall Foundation. She will receive $225,000.00 over three years to study the neural circuits that regulate synapse dynamics of adult-born neurons in the hippocampus. Dr. Juan Song is an Assistant Professor in Pharmacology and UNC Neuroscience Center. Her research combines electrophysiology, high-resolution imaging, systems neuroscience and mouse genetics to identify the circuit mechanisms that regulate distinct developmental stages of adult neurogenesis and to understand how circuit-level information-processing properties are remodeled by the integration of new neurons into existing circuits and how dysregulation of this process may contribute to various neurological and mental disorders. This three-year research grant will help to support research to determine how neuronal circuits mediated by local interneurons regulate distinct phases of synapse development of adult-born neurons, and to explore how genetic risk factors such as DISC1 (Disrupted in Schizophrenia-1) influence circuit dynamics and behaviors.
The Whitehall Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused exclusively on assisting basic research in vertebrate and invertebrate neurobiology in the United States. The grant awards are extremely competitive and target projects concerned with neural mechanisms involved in sensory, motor, and other complex functions of the whole organism as these relate to behavior. It supports scientific studies with an overall goal to better understand behavioral output or brain mechanisms of behavior.