Dissecting microglial function in neuroinflammation by mapping nitric oxide in real time in the living brain

2016 Scientific Innovations Award
Yamuna Krishnan, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry
The University of Chicago

Nitric oxide (NO), a gaseous chemical messenger, is a neuroprotective agent in the brain. It is vital to brain function, as controlled amounts are critical to triggering important signaling mechanisms. NO also causes neurodegeneration, as seen in conditions like stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementias. Dr. Krishnan’s lab seeks to spatiotemporally image NO within the living brain, using molecularly programmed DNA-based nanodevices, which would offer deep insights into mechanisms of neurodegeneration.

Other Awards

Chaolin Zhang, Ph.D., Columbia University
Human-specific Alternative Splicing, Brain
Development, and Ciliopathies
Like movie frames needing to be edited to tell an engaging story, pieces of genetic information stored in DNA for each gene need to be sliced and rejoined, through a…
Jason Shepherd, Ph.D. University of Utah
Virus-like Intercellular Signaling Underlying Autoimmune Neurological Disorders
Dr. Shepherd’s lab discovered that a brain gene critical for memory and cognition, Arc, has biochemical properties like retroviruses such as HIV. Arc protein can form virus-like protein capsids that…
Yuki Oka, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Molecular Mechanisms of Osmolality Sensing in the Mammalian Brain
Animals constantly detect and process sensory signals to react appropriately. External sensory information (e.g., light and sound) serves as prominent environmental cues to guide behavior. On the other hand, our…
Angelique Bordey, Ph.D., Yale University
The Role of Ribosomes in Synaptic Circuit Formation and Socio-Communicative Deficits
Dr. Bordey and her lab’s proposal aims at identifying a molecular mechanism responsible for autism-like socio-communicative defects in the developmental disorder, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC is a genetic disorder…