Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Assistant Professor of Biology receives national grant to study brain stem development

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development grant to the University of Illinois Springfield.

The $216,150 grant will help Assistant Professor of Biology Rebecca Landsberg, Ph.D. continue her research into the region of the brain known as the brain stem, which is involved in regulating sleep, breathing, and coordination of movement.

“While much is known about the function of the neurons in this region we are just beginning to get an appreciation for how these neurons arise during fetal development,” said Landsberg. “Furthermore, during gestation this region of the brain is susceptible to environmental influences such as retinoic acid (a common ingredient in facial cream) and alcohol.”

Landsberg will study the molecular events that occur during development that results in the production of different types of brain stem neurons and the effects environmental influences have upon this process.

The grant will be used to provide research opportunities in developmental biology to UIS undergraduates. Student who seek to begin a career in science greatly benefit from early exposure to the scientific research process.

“I greatly appreciate that the NIH recognizes the value undergraduates can bring to the research efforts at a school such as UIS,” said Landsberg.

The project described was supported by Award Number R15HD059922 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.

For more information on the research contact Assistant Professor of Biology Rebecca Landsberg, Ph.D. at 217/206-7338 or by e-mail at rland3@uis.edu.

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