The impact of modernization of our society has brought new challenges and questions related to the effect of the environment on modulating brain function and dysfunction. Led by founding initiative director Patrizia Casaccia, the Neuroscience Initiative will focus on this key question and study the effect of environmental variable on gene expression, brain development, behavior and susceptibility to neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Environmental stimuli may impact brain development and adult brain function at multiple levels. The Initiative is interested in investigating these mechanisms at a microscopic and molecular level on cells as well as at an urban/suburban and organism level on animal models and human volunteers. Our emphasis is on glial cells, which are sensors of metabolic and immunological states and key regulators of neuronal activity. The initiative focuses on the use of advanced robotic technologies for the study of single-cell DNA and RNA, microbiota and metabolic characterization, live imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques.

Capitalizing on highly-interactive interdisciplinary exchanges with other initiatives- hosted at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center and several groups across the CUNY system and New York City, the Neuroscience Initiative offers the optimal setting for the development of a unique approach. This setting is optimal to tackle new challenges faced by modern society and to catalyze the development of new technologies supporting basic and applied research in Neuroscience.

Click here for job opportunities with the Neuroscience Initiative at the CUNY ASRC

Click here to read more about the Neuroscience Initiative at the CUNY ASRC.

Zhu, Y., Vidaurre, O.G., Adula, K.P., Kezunovic, N., Wentling, M., Huntley, G.W., and Casaccia, P. (2017). The subcellular distribution of HDAC1 in neurotoxic conditions is dependent on serine phosphorylation. J Neurosci.

Moyon, S., Ma, D., Huynh, J.L., Coutts, D.J.C., Zhao, C., Casaccia, P., and Franklin, R.J.M. (2017). Efficient Remyelination Requires DNA Methylation. eNeuro 4.

Dickens, A.M., Tovar, Y.R.L.B., Yoo, S.W., Trout, A.L., Bae, M., Kanmogne, M., Megra, B., Williams, D.W., Witwer, K.W., Gacias, M., et al. (2017). Astrocyte-shed extracellular vesicles regulate the peripheral leukocyte response to inflammatory brain lesions. Sci Signal 10.

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Moyon, S., and Casaccia, P. (2017). DNA methylation in oligodendroglial cells during developmental myelination and in disease. Neurogenesis (Austin) 4, e1270381.

Motl, R.W., Mowry, E.M., Ehde, D.M., LaRocca, N.G., Smith, K.E., Costello, K., Shinto, L., Ng, A.V., Sullivan, A.B., Giesser, B., et al. (2017). Wellness and multiple sclerosis: The National MS Society establishes a Wellness Research Working Group and research priorities. Mult Scler, 1352458516687404.

Liu, J., Moyon, S., Hernandez, M., and Casaccia, P. (2016b). Epigenetic control of oligodendrocyte development: adding new players to old keepers. Curr Opin Neurobiol 39, 133-138.

Gacias, M., Gaspari, S., Santos, P.M., Tamburini, S., Andrade, M., Zhang, F., Shen, N., Tolstikov, V., Kiebish, M.A., Dupree, J.L., et al. (2016). Microbiota-driven transcriptional changes in prefrontal cortex override genetic differences in social behavior. Elife 5.

Moyon, S., Huynh, J.L., Dutta, D., Zhang, F., Ma, D., Yoo, S., Lawrence, R., Wegner, M., John, G.R., Emery, B., et al. (2016). Functional Characterization of DNA Methylation in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage. Cell Rep.

Liu, J., Dupree, J.L., Gacias, M., Frawley, R., Sikder, T., Naik, P., and Casaccia, P. (2016a). Clemastine Enhances Myelination in the Prefrontal Cortex and Rescues Behavioral Changes in Socially Isolated Mice. J Neurosci 36, 957-962.