marți, 23 februarie 2016

Viviana Gradinaru romanca nominalizata de Obama printre cei mai buni oameni de stiinta din America

Presedintele Obama a nominalizat pe cei mai buni cercetători si oameni de știința aflati la inceputul carierei. Printre ei se număra si o românca: Viviana Gradinaru de la California Institute of Technology.
foto credit:
The White House: "
President Obama today named 105** researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The winners will receive their awards at a Washington, DC ceremony this spring.

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” President Obama said. “We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.”
The Presidential Early Career Awards highlight the key role that the Administration places in encouraging and accelerating American innovation to grow our economy and tackle our greatest challenges. This year’s recipients are employed or funded by the following departments and agencies: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and the Intelligence Community. These departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.
The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach."

Viviana is Assistant Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering and Heritage Principal Investigator
B.S., California Institute of Technology, 2005; Ph.D., Stanford University, 2010. Visiting Associate, Caltech, 2012; Assistant Professor, 2012-.
Dr. Gradinaru's work has focused on developing and using optogenetics (Gradinaru et al., Cell, 2010) and CLARITY (Chung et al., Nature, 2013; Yang et al., Cell, 2014; Treweek et al., Nature Protocols, 2015) to dissect the circuitry underlying neurological disorders such as Parkinson's (Gradinaru et al., Science, 2009). Her group is now working to understand how perturbations of neuronal network activity can permanently impact the function and even viability of comprising neurons and ultimately change network properties and animal behavior. Of particular interest to the group are chronic experiences, subtle but persistent actions on brain networks that can cause lasting changes in the function of individual cells and circuits. Examples include depressive states (it takes weeks of exposure to modest but repeating nuisances to generate an animal model of depression) or Deep Brain Stimulation as used in brain disorders, where electrical stimulation of defined brain areas can improve behavior and this effect can, remarkably, outlive the stimulation.  The mechanisms by which these activity changes have long-lasting effects could involve any or all of: (1) circuit rewiring via strengthening and/or weakening of synapses; (2) inducing or preventing neuronal degradation; (3) releasing or blocking protective factors known to aid in neuronal function and health. Research on these topics has been complicated by the heterogeneous nature of the brain. We have previously helped develop optical inhibitors and potentiators of neuronal activity and the ability to target them to defined pathways in the brain as well as the methods necessary to monitor the influence of such manipulations. Our lab will continue to develop enabling technologies for anatomical mapping and chronic bidirectional control to define circuit changes that affect cell function and health and understand the fundamental mechanisms behind such changes.

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