The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience has announced 2018 Memory and Cognitive Disorders Awards totaling $1.2 million in support of research on the biology of brain diseases.
Four grants of $300,000 each will support studies of genes, genetic mutations, and areas of the brain involved in memory formation and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This year's recipients are Elizabeth Buffalo of the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Washington National Primate Research Center, who is studying the neural dynamics of memory and cognition in the primate hippocampal formation; Mauricio R. Delgado of Rutgers University, whose research is focused on the regulation of negative autobiographical memories via positive emotion-focused strategies; Bruce E. Herring of the University of Southern California, who is exploring the synaptic dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder; and Steve Ramirez of Boston University's Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering, whose research involves artificially modulating positive and negative memories to alleviate maladaptive fear responses.
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience is an independent organization established in 1986 and funded solely by the McKnight Foundation. In addition to the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Awards, the fund also supports the McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Awards, which provide seed funding for the development of technical inventions that advance brain research, and the McKnight Scholar Awards, which support neuroscientists in the early stages of their research careers.
"Members of our selection committee are particularly enthusiastic about the wide range of approaches we were able to fund this year, from projects that marry virtual reality technology to the neuroscience of memory, to high level cognitive physiology, to genetic approaches," said Wendy Suzuki, chair of the awards committee and professor of neural science and psychology at New York University. "All are trying to get at just how our brains respond to and are influenced by the environment."