Issue 4

February/March 2017


Imaging symposium to celebrate new MBI and AMRIS research capabilities

The Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (AMRIS) Facility and the MBI are hosting a daylong symposium to celebrate the new 3T MRI scanner and highlight new research in MRI and in vivo spectroscopy capabilities. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception March 6 from 5-6 p.m. in the MBI lobby, and the symposium will be held March 7 from 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m. in the DeWeese Auditorium. Invited speakers are Peter Bandettini, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health at NIH; Yihong Yang, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at NIH; and Jim Bankson, Ph.D., of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. They will speak on frontiers in functional neuroimaging, preclinical neuroimaging and molecular imaging of cancer, respectively.  

For more information or to RSVP for lunch on March 7, contact Elizabeth Webb.


5th annual Addiction Symposium focuses on marijuana research

The University of Florida Center for Addiction Research & Education will be hosting its fifth annual Addiction Symposium on April 10. Keynote speakers for this year’s event are Yasmin Hurd, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, neuroscience and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Alan Budney, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. The symposium will begin at 9:15 a.m. in the DeWeese Auditorium in the MBI.

A poster session will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the HPNP building. For more information on the symposium, including the event flyer, click here or contact Dr. Marieta Heaton (352-273-5094) or Dr. Barry Setlow (352-294-5203).


UF neurology faculty members publish new Tourette book

“Tourette Syndrome: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life,” is a practical Q&A guide for patients and families of patients. Edited by Michael Okun, M.D., chair of neurology, and written by UF neurology faculty members Ayse Gunduz, Ph.D., Heather Simpson, MOT, OTR/L, and Irene A. Malaty, M.D., along with colleagues at other institutions, the book offers guidance, medical insights and hope. It sheds light on how to recognize symptoms of TS, find rehabilitative therapies and decide on whether to use medication or other interventions, such as cognitive behavioral intervention therapy, noninvasive electric stimulation or deep brain stimulation. The book is for sale on Amazon.



Brain Awareness Week March 13-16

Brain Awareness Week 2017 kicks off March 13 with the fifth annual William G. Luttge Lectureship in Neuroscience, sponsored by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation. This year's speaker is James L. McGaugh, Ph.D., research professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine. McGaugh, who has published more than 550 articles and chapters on the link between emotion, stress hormones and memory, will speak on "Making Lasting Memories." The lecture will begin at noon in the DeWeese Auditorium.

Also during Brain Awareness Week — a global campaign to increase public awareness of brain research — UF undergraduate and graduate students will visit local schools and host students, leading interactive activities and giving a basic understanding of how the brain works. If you are interested in volunteering, contact BAW outreach coordinator Leslie Gaynor at

Events are hosted by the North Central Florida Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Other events include a poster competition, panel discussion and data blitz. For more information, please click here.


Congrats, Dr. Burke!

Sara N. Burke, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of neuroscience, has been selected as a recipient of the 2017 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in the area of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. The honor will be presented to Burke at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in August. Burke’s research focuses on determining the neurobiology of age-related memory loss.


Way to go, Angie Fuhr!

Angie Fuhr, accountant and office manager for the Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Facility (AMRIS), has been selected as one of three divisional winners for the Superior Accomplishment Award. This award recognizes faculty and staff members who have shown efficiency in their work, contributed outstanding service or improved the wellbeing of students and employees.

Recipients are selected following nominations from supervisors and peers. Fuhr, who was the frontline contact for the new Siemens Prisma 3T MRI scanner, is now being considered for a university-level award. 


New NIH Funding

Congratulations to Maryam Rahman, M.D., and Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D., on their new K Awards!

Rahman: K08 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

$909,900 over five years. 

Project TitleLeveraging Temozolomide to Improve Treatment Efficacy of Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Glioblastoma.

Sayour: K08 from the National Cancer Institute. 

$790,940 over five years. 

Project TitleHarnessing the Immunologic Capacity of RNA-nanoparticle Vaccines Targeting Glioblastoma.

Mentor for both: Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D. 


Alzheimer’s research grant awarded to Paramita Chakrabarty

Paramita Chakrabarty, Ph.D., has received a $150,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Association. With a team of colleagues, Chakrabarty plans to research how tau and alpha-synuclein, either by themselves or together, play a role in the formation of protein clumps that accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The team will inject different disease-associated variations of tau and alpha-synuclein into the brains of mice and analyze which types trigger the formation of the protein. They will track the spread of the protein throughout the brain and determine which types of nerve cells are most vulnerable to damage. This work also may guide the advancement of novel therapies working to prevent and slow the progression of the disease. 

MBI news to share?

Michelle Jaffee coordinates communications for the MBI. Contact her at