JUPITER, FL, February 13, 2014 – Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded approximately $2.3 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the processes involved in long-term memory and how deficits in those processes contribute to brain diseases.
Sathyanarayananan Puthanveettil, a TSRI assistant professor, will be principal investigator of the new five-year study.
The study focuses on “axonal transport,” the cellular process whereby gene products move to and from a nerve cell body along its axon, the narrow, cable-like structure critical for signaling other nerve cells, muscles and glands.
“This new grant will help us better understand the role of axonal transport in long-term memory storage and identify signaling pathways that regulate it,” Puthanveettil said. “Once we identify the molecular regulators of axonal transport, we may be able to manipulate them to produce new and innovative approaches to the treatment of memory disorders.”
In earlier studies, Puthanveettil and his colleagues have shown that kinesin, a molecular motor protein, plays a key role in learning and memory.
The number of the new National Institutes of Health grant is 1R01MH094607.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.