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Riccio Fund for Neuroscience awards first research grants

UMass Medical School Communications

June 20, 2018
  Photograph of a healthy neuron, courtesy of the National Institutes for Health.
 

The Riccio Fund for Neuroscience supports neuroscience research and fuels innovative discoveries through interdisciplinary collaborations that deepen the understanding of brain function and the processes that go awry in neurological diseases.

In October 2017, Diane M. Riccio, PhD, GSBS ’03, and her husband, Dan, donated $1 million to UMass Medical School to support neuroscience research and fuel innovative discoveries through interdisciplinary collaborations that deepen the understanding of brain function and the processes that go awry in neurological diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders. The Riccios also supported the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund with a $1 million gift. 

In 2018-2019, the Riccio Fund for Neuroscience will support four $50,000 seed grants in the neurosciences; the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science funded an additional $50,000 grant.

“The mission of the NeuroNexus Institute at UMass Medical School is to catalyze interactions between basic scientists and translational or clinician scientists, forming interdisciplinary teams that tackle innovative projects, achieve breakthroughs in basic neuroscience knowledge, and accelerate development and implementation of innovative therapies to treat neurological conditions,” said David R. Weaver, PhD, professor of neurobiology and executive director of the NeuroNexus Institute. “We are delighted that the support provided by the Riccios will enable these five outstanding, interdisciplinary projects to move forward.”

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.”