A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Neurosciences Bookmark and Share

Neurosciences

Study of the nervous system has a long tradition at City of Hope, which was one of the first institutions in North America to establish a neurobiology research department.

The Department of Neurosciences offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in neurobiology, with a particular focus on developmental aspects of the nervous system. Research in the department encompasses molecular and cellular neurobiology, genetics and neurophysiology, with ongoing studies in neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, migration and specification, degeneration and embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Researchers in the department collaborate with colleagues in other basic science departments and divisions as well as clinical researchers in neuro-oncology programs, focusing on cancer immunotherapy and neurosurgery.
 
Laboratory Research
The Department of Neurosciences spans a broad range of research interests; grouped into three major categories:

I.Several investigators are interested in the earliest periods of neurogenesis and lineage commitment, and are examining stem and progenitor cells in developing and mature brain:
 
  • Qiang Lu, Ph.D. – Neural Progenitor/Stem Cells in Brain Development
    Dr. Lu’s research is concerned with intercellular signaling by ephrins and Eph receptors and their regulation of neuronal birth and migration during early development of the cerebral cortex.
 
  • Yanhong Shi, Ph.D. – Nuclear Receptors in Neural Stem Cells and Adult Neurogenesis
    Dr. Shi is studying the nuclear receptors that control generation and differentiation of neural lineage stem cells in the adult nervous system.
 
  • Michael Barish, Ph.D. – Neurobiology of Development
    Dr. Barish is investigating early electrical activity in the developing hippocampus and cortex and its relationship to neural birth, migration and maturation.

II.Several faculty have research foci in neural specification, processes that impart individuality to developing neurons, and in the functioning of mature neurons.
 
  • Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D. – Molecular Neurobiology
    Dr. Salvaterra’s research is focused on the regulation of transmitter phenotype, how gene expression is coordinated to allow synthesis and release of individual neurotransmitters.
 
  • Toshifumi Tomoda, Ph.D. – Axonal Trafficking / Neurodegeneration
    Dr. Tomoda is interested in membrane transport and cycling, and its role in axon and dendrite growth, differentiation of synapses, and stress-induced autophagy.
 
  • Kazuo Ikeda, Ph.D. – Neurophysiology
    Dr. Ikeda studies the mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity, focusing on endocytosis of synaptic vesicle membrane from presynaptic terminals and processes of recovery from vesicle depletion as a consequence of activity.

III.Several faculty members also have projects that relate their fundamental research interests to mechanisms underlying diseases of the human nervous system.
 
  • Dr. Salvaterra is developing Drosophila models for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
     
  • Dr. Lu is examining how alteration in the neural stem cell decision to proliferate or differentiate controlled by ephrin/Eph receptor signaling may be involved in the earliest stages of tumorigenesis.
     
  • Dr. Tomoda is investigating possible connections between genes involved in membrane cycling and autophagy, and several diseases including Huntington’s and schizophrenia.
     
  • Dr. Barish, in collaboration with Karen Aboody, M.D. , (Hematology/HCT) and Carlotta Glackin, Ph.D. , is examining the molecular mechanisms of neural progenitor cell migration to glioma and tumors outside the brain, and targeting of these tumors with genetically-modified therapeutics using immortalized neural progenitor cells.
     
  • Dr. Glackin and her laboratory are investigating the molecular mechanisms of a bHLH transcription factor, TWIST, in regulating cellular invasiveness. Understanding these mechanisms has allowed her laboratory to develop novel genetically-modified therapeutics that interferes with TWIST function to competitively inhibit cellular invasion of tumor cells.
     
  • Dr. Neal Prakash is the Chief of Neurology and the Director of Neurological Optical Imaging.  His interests include:  1. developing novel imaging techniques that can differentiate between tumor and healthy brain during surgery. And 2) establishing rodent models that quantify central and peripheral nervous system toxicities (i.e., “chemobrain” and peripheral neuropathy) and the interactions between 1. primary and metastatic brain tumors, 2. treatments, and 3. metabolic states (i.e., ketogenic state, normal diet, and diabetes).

Neurosciences Faculty

Neurosciences

Neurosciences

Study of the nervous system has a long tradition at City of Hope, which was one of the first institutions in North America to establish a neurobiology research department.

The Department of Neurosciences offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in neurobiology, with a particular focus on developmental aspects of the nervous system. Research in the department encompasses molecular and cellular neurobiology, genetics and neurophysiology, with ongoing studies in neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, migration and specification, degeneration and embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Researchers in the department collaborate with colleagues in other basic science departments and divisions as well as clinical researchers in neuro-oncology programs, focusing on cancer immunotherapy and neurosurgery.
 
Laboratory Research
The Department of Neurosciences spans a broad range of research interests; grouped into three major categories:

I.Several investigators are interested in the earliest periods of neurogenesis and lineage commitment, and are examining stem and progenitor cells in developing and mature brain:
 
  • Qiang Lu, Ph.D. – Neural Progenitor/Stem Cells in Brain Development
    Dr. Lu’s research is concerned with intercellular signaling by ephrins and Eph receptors and their regulation of neuronal birth and migration during early development of the cerebral cortex.
 
  • Yanhong Shi, Ph.D. – Nuclear Receptors in Neural Stem Cells and Adult Neurogenesis
    Dr. Shi is studying the nuclear receptors that control generation and differentiation of neural lineage stem cells in the adult nervous system.
 
  • Michael Barish, Ph.D. – Neurobiology of Development
    Dr. Barish is investigating early electrical activity in the developing hippocampus and cortex and its relationship to neural birth, migration and maturation.

II.Several faculty have research foci in neural specification, processes that impart individuality to developing neurons, and in the functioning of mature neurons.
 
  • Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D. – Molecular Neurobiology
    Dr. Salvaterra’s research is focused on the regulation of transmitter phenotype, how gene expression is coordinated to allow synthesis and release of individual neurotransmitters.
 
  • Toshifumi Tomoda, Ph.D. – Axonal Trafficking / Neurodegeneration
    Dr. Tomoda is interested in membrane transport and cycling, and its role in axon and dendrite growth, differentiation of synapses, and stress-induced autophagy.
 
  • Kazuo Ikeda, Ph.D. – Neurophysiology
    Dr. Ikeda studies the mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity, focusing on endocytosis of synaptic vesicle membrane from presynaptic terminals and processes of recovery from vesicle depletion as a consequence of activity.

III.Several faculty members also have projects that relate their fundamental research interests to mechanisms underlying diseases of the human nervous system.
 
  • Dr. Salvaterra is developing Drosophila models for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
     
  • Dr. Lu is examining how alteration in the neural stem cell decision to proliferate or differentiate controlled by ephrin/Eph receptor signaling may be involved in the earliest stages of tumorigenesis.
     
  • Dr. Tomoda is investigating possible connections between genes involved in membrane cycling and autophagy, and several diseases including Huntington’s and schizophrenia.
     
  • Dr. Barish, in collaboration with Karen Aboody, M.D. , (Hematology/HCT) and Carlotta Glackin, Ph.D. , is examining the molecular mechanisms of neural progenitor cell migration to glioma and tumors outside the brain, and targeting of these tumors with genetically-modified therapeutics using immortalized neural progenitor cells.
     
  • Dr. Glackin and her laboratory are investigating the molecular mechanisms of a bHLH transcription factor, TWIST, in regulating cellular invasiveness. Understanding these mechanisms has allowed her laboratory to develop novel genetically-modified therapeutics that interferes with TWIST function to competitively inhibit cellular invasion of tumor cells.
     
  • Dr. Neal Prakash is the Chief of Neurology and the Director of Neurological Optical Imaging.  His interests include:  1. developing novel imaging techniques that can differentiate between tumor and healthy brain during surgery. And 2) establishing rodent models that quantify central and peripheral nervous system toxicities (i.e., “chemobrain” and peripheral neuropathy) and the interactions between 1. primary and metastatic brain tumors, 2. treatments, and 3. metabolic states (i.e., ketogenic state, normal diet, and diabetes).

Neurosciences Faculty

Neurosciences Faculty

Overview
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is responsible for fundamentally expanding the world’s understanding of how biology affects diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
 
 
Research Departments/Divisions

City of Hope is a leader in translational research - integrating basic science, clinical research and patient care.
 

Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.
 

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
Develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  • All women are at some risk of developing the disease in their lifetimes, but breast cancer, like other cancers, has a disproportionate effect on minorities. Although white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer, African-American women have the highest breast cancer death rates of all racial and ethni...
  • First, the good news: HIV infections have dropped dramatically over the past 30 years. Doctors, researchers and health officials have made great strides in preventing and treating the disease, turning what was once a death sentence into, for some, a chronic condition. Now, the reality check: HIV is still a worl...
  • Screening for breast cancer has dramatically increased the number of cancers found before they cause symptoms – catching the disease when it is most treatable and curable. Mammograms, however, are not infallible. It’s important to conduct self-exams, and know the signs and symptoms that should be checked by a h...
  • Rob Darakjian was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at just 19 years old. He began chemotherapy and was in and out of the hospital for four months. After his fourth round of treatment, he received a bone marrow transplantation from an anonymous donor. Today, he’s cancer free.   In his previ...
  • In a single day, former professional triathlete Lisa Birk learned she couldn’t have children and that she had breast cancer. “Where do you go from there?” she asks. For Birk, who swims three miles, runs 10 miles and cycles every day, the answer  ultimately was a decision to take control of her cancer care. Afte...
  • More and more people are surviving cancer, thanks to advanced cancer treatments and screening tools. Today there are nearly 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. But in up to 20 percent of cancer patients, the disease ultimately spreads to their brain. Each year, nearly 170,000 new cases of brain ...
  • Cancer cells are masters of survival. Despite excessive damage to their most basic workings and the constant vigilance of the body’s immune system, they manage to persevere. Much of this extraordinary ability to survive falls under the control of proteins bearing the name STAT, short for signal transducer and a...
  • One person receives the breast cancer diagnosis, but the cancer affects the entire family. Couples, in particular, can find the diagnosis and treatment challenging, especially if they have traditional male/female communication styles. “Though every individual is unique, men and women often respond differently d...
  • Here’s a statistic you’ll hear and read frequently over the next month: One in eight women born in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Although this statement is accurate, based on breast cancer incidence rates in 2013, it’s often misunderstood. Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., d...
  • This time of year, how can anyone not think pink? Through the power of pastel packaging, October has been etched permanently into the American public’s consciousness as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The color pink is now synonymous with breast cancer. Suffice to say, awareness has been raised. Now itR...
  •   Breast cancer facts: About one in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer. An estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women this year. Two of thre...
  • Beyond the pink ribbons, special product fundraisers, and the pastel sea of color that marks October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month offers a reason to celebrate and to reflect. More than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors live in the U.S. They are survivors of the second most-common cancer in women, behind ski...
  • Gliomas, a type of tumor that grows in the brain, are very difficult to treat successfully due to their complex nature. That might not always be the case. First some background: The most aggressive and common type of primary brain tumor in adults is glioblastoma. Although the brain tumor mass can often be remov...
  • Cutaneous T cell lymphomas are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that arise when infection-fighting white blood cells in the lymphatic system – called lymphocytes – become malignant and affect the skin. The result is rashes and, sometimes, tumors, which can be mistaken for other dermatological conditions. In a smal...
  • Weighing your breast cancer risk? One study suggests a measure to consider is skirt size. A British study suggests that for each increase in skirt size every 10 years after age 25, the five-year risk of developing breast cancer postmenopause increases from one in 61 to one in 51 – a 77 percent increase in risk....