Four research teams at the UNC School of Medicine won $25,000 pilot grants with the goal of increasing collaborations throughout the neurosciences, as part of a UNC NeuroSpark event.

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As part of the Forward Together Strategic Plan, the UNC School of Medicine committed $100,000 this year to fund pilot neuroscience research projects. The goal of this funding is to increase collaborations in the neurosciences and to incentivize faculty to generate pilot data for use in grants to the NIH and other external agencies. This is the first year of a five-year commitment for NeuroSpark from the school of medicine.

Eight neuroscience research teams at the school of medicine competed for four $25,000 pilot grants. Each team gave a 12-minute pitch to the audience. Following the presentations, the audience voted for the top four projects. The four teams that received the most votes were selected as winners.

The event was attended by more than 100 graduate students, postdocs, lab members, and faculty.

Congratulations to the winning teams:

A Pilot PET/MR Study of Neuroinflammation in Autism

Gabriel Dichter, PhD, associate professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry; Director, Clinical Affective Neuroscience Lab

David Lalush, PhD, associate professor in the UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering

Erin Walsh, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry

Targeting Sleep Disruption in the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Graham Diering, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Todd Cohen, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Neurology

Illuminating Organelle Dynamics in Alexander Disease

Natasha Snider, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Sarah Cohen, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Building a Resource of Genetically Diverse Human Post-Mortem Brain Tissue

Jason Stein, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Genetics

Hyejung Won, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Genetics

Leigh Thorne, MD, professor in the UNC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Graham Diering, Todd Cohen, Natasha Snider, Jason Stein, and Hyejung Won are members of the UNC Neuroscience Center.