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.
     
  • Karen S. Aboody, M.D.Translational Research
    Dr. Aboody oversees a translational research laboratory focused on neural stem cells (NSCs) as a platform for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to invasive and metastatic solid tumors.

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.
     
  • Karen S. Aboody, M.D.Translational Research
    Dr. Aboody oversees a translational research laboratory focused on neural stem cells (NSCs) as a platform for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to invasive and metastatic solid tumors.

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
  • Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a huge responsibility, not just in terms of taste and presentation, but also in terms of food safety. Special care must be taken when handling, assembling and cooking the feast  – and this is never more true than when your guests will include immunosuppressed patients, such as c...
  • Celebrating the holidays with family and friends can be festive, but most of us definitely overeat. The average Thanksgiving meal is close to 3,000 calories – well above the average daily recommendation of 2,000 calories. Here, we serve up some tips from City of Hope dietitians Dhvani Bhatt and Denise Ackerman ...
  • A healthier Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean a big plate of raw carrots and kale – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Instead, it can amount to a small change here, a small change there, and maybe a tweak beyond that. Dietitians at City of Hope, which promotes a healthful lifestyle as a way...
  • Joselyn Miller received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant at City of Hope two years ago. Here, she reflects on her gratitude as a bone marrow recipient and on giving back. By Joselyn Miller thank•ful adjective  \ˈthaŋk-fəl\ :  conscious of benefit received :  glad that something has happened or not happened, ...
  • When it comes to cancer, your family history may provide more questions than answers: How do my genes increase my risk for cancer? No one in my family has had cancer; does that mean I won’t get cancer? What cancers are common in certain populations and ethnicities? City of Hope experts have some guidance. “Your...
  • The body’s immune system is usually adept at attacking outside invaders such as bacteria and viruses. But because cancer originates from the body’s own cells, the immune system can fail to see it as foreign. As a result, the body’s most powerful ally can remain largely idle against cancer as the disease progres...
  • On Jan. 1, 2015, five City of Hope patients who have journeyed through cancer will welcome the new year with their loved ones atop City of Hope’s Tournament of Roses Parade float. The theme of the float is “Made Possible by HOPE.” The theme of the parade is “Inspiring Stories.” Her...
  • Are you thinking about switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes for the Great American Smokeout? Are you thinking that might be a better option than the traditional quit-smoking route? Think again. For lung expert Brian Tiep, M.D., the dislike and distrust he feels for e-cigs comes down to this: Th...
  • Hematologist Robert Chen, M.D., is boosting scientific discovery at City of Hope and, by extension, across the nation. Just ask the National Cancer Institute. The institution recently awarded Chen the much-sought-after Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award for boosting scientific discovery at City of Hope...
  • Great strides have been made in treating cancer – including lung cancer – but by the time people show symptoms of the disease, the cancer has usually advanced. That’s because, at early stages, lung cancer has no symptoms. Only recently has lung cancer screening become an option. (Read more about the risks...
  • Identifying cures for currently incurable diseases and providing patients with safe, fast and potentially lifesaving treatments is the focus of City of Hope’s new Alpha Clinic for Cell Therapy and Innovation (ACT-I). The clinic is funded by an $8 million, five-year grant from the California Institute for Regene...
  • Cancer is a couple’s disease. It affects not just the person diagnosed, but his or her partner as well. It also affects the ability of both people to communicate effectively. The Couples Coping with Cancer Together program at City of Hope teaches couples how to communicate and solve problems as a unit. He...
  • Chemotherapy drugs work by either killing cancer cells or by stopping them from multiplying, that is, dividing. Some of the more powerful drugs used to treat cancer do their job by interfering with the cancer cells’ DNA and RNA growth, preventing them from copying themselves and dividing. Such drugs, however, l...
  • During October, everything seems to turn pink – clothing, the NFL logo, tape dispensers, boxing gloves, blenders, soup cans, you name it – in order to raise awareness for what many believe is the most dangerous cancer that affects women: breast cancer. But, in addition to thinking pink, women should...
  • In February 2003, when she was only 16 months old, Maya Gallardo was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and, to make matters much worse, pneumonia. The pneumonia complicated what was already destined to be grueling treatment regimen. To assess the extent of her illness, Maya had to endure a spinal ...