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Dan and Diane Riccio Fund for Neuroscience - 2018 Awards

Diane M. (Casey) Riccio and Dan RiccioIn October 2017, Diane M. (Casey) Riccio and her husband Dan very generously donated $2 million to support neuroscience research at UMass Medical School, with $1 million to establish the Riccio Fund for Neuroscience, and an additional $1 million to support the UMass ALS Cellucci fund.  These generous donations are in addition to $1 million given in 2013 to support ALS research at UMass Medical School and ongoing support for graduate student travel fellowships administered through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The Dan and Diane Riccio Fund for Neuroscience is intended to catalyze interdisciplinary collaborations, leading to innovative discoveries that deepen our understanding of brain function and the processes that go awry in neurological diseases. UMMS News article.

Funded Applications


Four $50,000 seed grants will be supported from the Fund in 2020. Three of the funded projects are new this year, while one is a renewal of an applications initially funded in 2019. UMMS News article about the 2020 Awards. The recipients and their projects are:

The Riccio Fund for Neuroscience Award recipients for 2020 are:


The Dan and Diane Riccio Fund for Neuroscience will support four $50,000 seed grants in 2019.  Two of the funded applications were renewals of applications initially funded in the first year of Riccio Awards, while two of the projects are new this year. 

The Riccio Fund for Neuroscience Award recipients for 2019 are:


Following a call for applications in January 2018, five applications were funded.  The Riccio Fund provided funding for four awards of $50,000 each, while the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS), partnered with this initiative and provided funding for one award. Learn more.

The Riccio Fund for Neuroscience Award recipients for 2018 are:

  • Kensuke Futai, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology, and Douglas T. Golenbock, MD, the Pillar Chair in Biomedical Research and professor of medicine: “Roles of inflammasome-dependent cytokines in Alzheimer's disease and seizures.”
  • Nils Henninger, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology; Samer Jaber, DVM, DACLAM, assistant professor of pathology; and Mariana Pereira, PhD, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, UMass Amherst: “Determining mechanistic links between traumatic brain injury and frontotemporal dementia.”
  • Mark Alkema, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology, and Marian Walhout, PhD, the Maroun Seeman Chair in Biomedical Research, professor of molecular medicine and co-director of the Program in Systems Biology: “The role of the microbiome and vitamin B12 on neural function.”
  • Daryl A. Bosco, PhD, associate professor of neurology, and Dori Schafer, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology: “Investigating microglial dysfunction induced by ALS-linked profilin-1.”
  • Alexandra Byrne, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology, and Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair and professor of neurology: “Should I stay and should I grow? Identification and manipulation of genes that determine whether an axon regenerates or degenerates after motor neuron injury or disease.”