Congratulations to Eliot Brenowitz for his award of an NIH grant for "Mechanisms of adult forebrain neural circuit regeneration".
Professor Eliot Brenowitz was awarded a 5-year, $2.8 million NIH grant. Congrats, Eliot!
The goal of the grant is as follows. The neural circuit that regulates birdsong, a highly precise, learned sensorimotor behavior, excels for study of fundamental mechanisms of adult circuit plasticity. The song system is a unique model of naturally occurring degeneration and compensatory regeneration in a behaviorally relevant neural circuit in adult brains. This circuit shows exaggerated seasonal degeneration and reconstruction via neurogenesis, in response to changes in circulating steroid hormone levels. Our long-term goal is to understand the fundamental mechanisms by which steroid hormones and neurotrophins interact to regulate plasticity of neural circuits and behavior. In this grant we will determine whether new neurons added to adult circuits establish functional connections in the brain and restore behavior, what genes are critical for the regeneration of brain circuits, and how electrical activity of brain cells influences the repair of these circuits. On a translational level, our proposal addresses basic mechanisms relevant to exploiting the brain’s endogenous plasticity to repair the loss of neural circuits from neurological disease or injury. Understanding the mechanisms behind regeneration of a neural circuit in the brain of adult songbirds may directly translate to the therapeutic use of stem cells to repair damaged human brains.