The overall goal of this career development award is to acquire the essential research and professional skills needed to establish an extramurally funded research group to investigate the post-transcription mechanisms underlying social memory. Specifically, the grant builds upon previous training in the field of mRNA regulation in neuronal dendrites and adds training in essential and innovative techniques, such as bioinformatics analyses and ribosome profiling, to further pursue genome-wide translational regulation in neuronal cell-types important for social memory. The grant brings together a number of local experts to synergistically support both the career and research training. Formal training in next generation sequencing analyses will be acquired through didactic coursework and hands-on instruction at the primary institution. Training in translational profiling methods and analyses will be taught under the guidance of a co-mentor at a local top university. Laboratory management, grantsmanship and scientific communication skills will be attained through workshops, short courses and presentations at national and regional scientific meetings, respectively. Lastly, mentorship skills will be honed through a summer student research program at the primary institution. Upon successful completion of the training portion of the grant, it is expected that the awardee will be highly competitive for a tenure-track faculty position at research-intensive university. During the independent phase of the award, the research plan expands to include a genetic targeting approach to interrogate how mRNA stability in specific cell-types contributes to synaptic and behavioral plasticity underlying social learning. Work from this grant will expand our knowledge of the post-transcriptional mechanisms regulating translation in neurons and potentially identify novel therapeutic candidates for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders with abnormal sociocognitive processing, such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
The overall goal of this grant is to gain the skills and tools necessary to investigate the molecular mechanisms supporting social memory in the brain. Work from this grant will potentially identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of disorders where social processing is disrupted, such as in autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Increasing our understanding of the underlying biology of complex processes such as social memory will lead to more effective treatments and a decrease in the cost of mental health.