Scientific Review Committee
Brain Research Foundation Scientific Review Committee was established to review our research grant applications. This committee is a combination of researchers from several institutions throughout greater Chicago and nationwide. Their scientific expertise is invaluable when reviewing the Brain Research Foundation research grant proposals. Following is a brief description of each reviewer’s research interests:
University of Illinois Chicago
Scott Brady was born in San Antonio, TX and lived in various cities from Heidelberg to Honolulu as he was growing up. He attended MIT as an undergraduate, receiving bachelor’s degrees in both Physics and Biology. He received his PhD in 1978 from the University of Southern California in Cell and Molecular Biology for work on the role of the cytoskeleton in axonal transport. From there, he joined the laboratory of Raymond Lasek at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH to continue his studies on both fast and slow axonal transport. In 1985, he became an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX where he remained until 2001. At that time, he became Professor and Head of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. During his time at CWRU, he began the practice of spending several months each summer doing research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA where he has been a summer investigator every year, since 1982. In the mid-1980’s, he worked with Dr Lasek and Dr. Robert D. Allen to develop the isolated axoplasm preparation for study of fast axonal transport. This led to his discovery in 1985 of a new family of molecular motors that was found to mediate anterograde fast axonal transport, the kinesins. These discoveries were recently recognized as milestones in the study of the cytoskeleton by Nature. He has continued his studies on the molecular mechanisms of axonal transport, including a strong interest in its regulation. These studies led to the demonstration that axonal transport plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease as well as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. He has also studied other aspects of the cellular and molecular biology of the axon, including specializations of the axonal cytoskeleton, myelin-axon interactions and the effects of chronic stress on neuronal function as part of an overall interest in how a neuron is built and maintained for decades. He is a fellow of the AAAS. a member of various editorial boards and the Editor in Chief of the Basic Neurochemistry textbook.
University of Iowa
Ted Abel is the Director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. He was previously the Brush Family Professor of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania where he was Co-Director of the Biological Basis of Behavior Program and directs an NIMH-funded predoctoral training program in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. He has received numerous awards, including the a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, a John Merck Scholars Award, the Daniel X. Freedman Award from NARSAD, and University of Pennsylvania Dean’s Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research. His laboratory’s primary focus is on understanding the molecular and cellular basis of learning and memory and well as the role of sleep in memory storage. He has published widely in journals that include Nature, Neuron, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Journal of Neuroscience. He is a Fellow of ACNP, Editor-in-Chief of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, and an Associate Editor of Behavioral Neuroscience. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Dr. Abel received his Master of Philosophy in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Marshall Scholar and worked with Nobel Laureate R. Tim Hunt. He received his doctorate from Harvard University, where he worked with Tom Maniatis studying transcriptional regulation. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel at Columbia University studying the molecular mechanisms of memory storage.
University of Maryland
Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, and Director of the Center for Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development in the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Bale completed her Ph.D. at the University of Washington and her postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute with Dr. Wylie Vale. She was previously a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania for 15 years. Dr. Bale was recruited to the University of Maryland School of Medicine as a STRAP recruit and the Director of the Center for Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development.
Dr. Bale’s research focuses on understanding the role of stress dysregulation in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases, and the sex differences that underlie disease vulnerability. Her groundbreaking work has uncovered the molecular mechanisms by which the environment influences parental germ cell signals and placental trophoblast development, altering fetal brain development and maturation. Her lab is particularly interested in developing models of parental stress and the germ cell involvement in intergenerational epigenetic programming of neurodevelopment. Her research also has a significant translational component, focusing on identifying biomarkers of disease risk and stress experience in semen, placental tissue, microbiome samples and plasma. In addition to building translational research across the campus, her Center has an extensive outreach component to facilitate building relationships in the Baltimore community and promoting a greater appreciation for the impact of the environment on child health and brain development. She serves on many advisory committees, panels, and boards, including the Scientific Advisory Board for the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, the Congressional Committee on Gulf War and Health for the National Academy of Sciences, and the Strategic Planning Committee for the National Institute of Child Health and Development. She recently served as Chair of the NNRS CSR study section and was a Reviewing Editor at the Journal of Neuroscience. She is currently serving on the Press Committee for the Society for Neuroscience and the Education Committee for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her research including the Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award by the Endocrine Society, the Medtronic Award from the Society for Women’s Health Research, the Daniel H. Efron award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the NIH Award from the International Federation of Placenta Associations, and the Joseph Erlanger Distinguished Lecturer Award from the American Physiological Society.
University of Chicago
Yamuna Krishnan has been a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago since 2014. She received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 2002 from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and was an 1851 Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her research group pioneered the use of DNA-nanotechnology to study living cells and took DNA-nanotechnology into the world of precision medicine. Selected honors include the Infosys Prize for Physical Sciences in 2017, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award, the Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award, the INSA Young Scientist Medal, the Wellcome Trust-DBT Senior Research Fellowship and the YIM Boston Young Scientist Award. She was featured in Cell’s Top 40 Under 40 of scientists who are shaping current and future trends in Biology and the LSDP’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2014.
Rosalind Franklin University
Daniel A. Peterson, Ph.D. is Professor and Vice-Chairman in the Department of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. He also serves as Director of the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. His research focuses on understanding the regulation of neurogenesis in the adult and aging brain. In particular, elucidating the key factors specifying progenitor cell fate and exploring ways to directly reprogram in vivo the fate endogenous neural progenitor cells. His research is directed toward the development of new therapeutic strategies for brain repair. Dr. Peterson is an Editorial Board member for seven scientific journals, a member of the American Federation for Aging Research National Scientific Advisory Council, and the External Commissioner for the Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale Italia (Concorsuale 06/D6-Neurologia). He is also Past-Chairman of the NIH Study Section NCF (Neurogenesis and Cell Fate) and Past-President of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair.
Nenad Sestan is a Professor of Neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine and a member of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Zagreb and his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Yale University. Nenad Sestan’s research has been concerned with molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain that is critical for cognition, perception and behavior. His laboratory has also studied how these developmental mechanisms have evolved and become compromised in human disorders. He is the recipient of several international awards and honors, including the Krieg Cortical Discoverer Award, NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award, and McDonnell Scholar Award, as well as Research Awards from the Simons Foundation, the March of Dimes Foundation, the Whitehall Foundation, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and the Tourette Syndrome Association. He has also served as a key Principal Investigator for the BrainSpan and PsychENCODE consortia.
Gordon M. G. Shepherd is an Associate Professor in Physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago. His research interests are in understanding the functional organization of cortical circuits mediating volitional movements. Dr. Shepherd studied biology at Vassar, received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard, trained in internal medicine and neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and undertook post-doctoral studies at the University of Oslo and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Janelia Farm Research Campus. At Northwestern, his laboratory focuses on dissecting cortical and other circuits, for example by using lasers and single-cell recordings to measure connections.