Letter from the Director

Dr. TsienMay 2012

Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Visitors,

This month marks the one-year anniversary of our Executive Director, Stacie Bloom’s work at NYU. Together, Gord Fishell (Associate Director), Stacie, and I have been working with faculty, students, and staff across our campuses to develop a common strategy to foster NYU neuroscience. For the record, here are statements reflecting the Institute’s vision and mission:

Vision - To discover novel ways to decipher the brain and revolutionize our understanding of human thought and mental affliction by developing unprecedented synergy between basic, translational, and clinical neuroscientists;

Mission- To inspire and nurture research and education in a world-class Neuroscience Institute, driving new discoveries that move from theory to therapy to improve brain health.

I am enormously proud to work with the impressive cadre of faculty members here at the NYULMC.The community has achieved some remarkable things over the past few months that I would like to highlight by listing some of their many major awards and publications:

  • Wen-Biao Gan, PhD received a McKnight Foundation 2012 Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award. Also, in collaboration with Thomas Franke, MD, PhD, he and a postdoc, Cora Sau Wan Lai, recently revealed the effects of fear conditioning and extinction at the level of single spines in the neocortex (Nature, March 1, 2012).
  • Two junior faculty members, Dayu Lin, PhD, Robert Froemke, PhD, and Michael Long, PhD, have also received recognition in the form of prestigious fellowships from the Whitehall Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc., respectively.
  • Ralph Nixon, MD, PhD, has been appointed Chair of the National Alzheimer’s Association’s Medical and Scientific Research Council and is also the lead PI on a $10M Program Project Grant from the NIH to continue research to unravel the pathobiology of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • James Salzer, MD, PhD and his lab published a cover story in Neuron on the assembly and maintenance of nodes of Ranvier, and they elegantly describe their work in a video abstract available on Neuron’s website. Additional research papers from the community – including a Science paper from my own research group on tracking single synaptic vesicles in 3D – can also be found on our Recent Faculty Publications page.

The new website you are visiting, launched in January, helps bring the many basic, translational, and clinical investigators at the NYULMC together in one virtual space. In the physical world, a compelling series of seminars and events promote face-to-face, cross-disciplinary collaboration. We have recently returned from the pinnacle of these, our annual NYU Neuroscience retreat, an all-inclusive 2 day excursion to the Catskills open to any member of NYU. Over 170 basic, translational, and clinical scientists discussed issues in critical research areas, such as Alzheimer’s disease, brain-machine interfaces, neuronal ion channels in disease, and memory deficits in schizophrenia, sparking new connections and collaborations across the university.

This winter and spring, we also focused on growing our neuroscience community at the student and faculty levels. In the fall, we will welcome our next class of neuroscience graduate students, 10 superb individuals from all around the world with outstanding research backgrounds. In parallel, we are in the process of interviewing 15 faculty candidates investigating diverse subjects, from olfaction and gustation to learning and attention. New recruits will join the Tsien and Buzsaki labs in our brand new, state-of-the-art space in the Alexandria Center for Life Science.

With the arrival of spring, I am happy to report my lab and the Buzsaki lab have made the official move into this new space, which will also be the headquarters for the Institute until the New Science Building is complete, some four years or so from now. We are very eager to integrate our labs into the NYU community and to continue developing close interactions with its outstanding scientists and clinicians.


RWT signature better
Director, NYU Neuroscience Institute