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First-ever lab model of human eye offers hope for macular degeneration patients

March 29, 2021

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which leads to a loss of central vision, is the most frequent cause of blindness in adults 50 years of age or older, affecting an estimated 196 million people worldwide. There is no cure, though treatment can slow the onset and preserve some vision.

Recently, however, researchers at the University of Rochester have made an important breakthrough in the quest for an AMD cure. Their first three-dimensional (3D) lab model mimics the part of the human retina affected in macular degeneration.

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Congratulations to Martina Poletti, Recipient of the 2021 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award

March 25, 2021

VSS is pleased to present the 2021 Young Investigator Award to Martina Poletti.

Dr. Poletti is an assistant professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She is recognized for fundamental contributions to our understanding of eye movements, microsaccades, and the nature of visual-motor function and attention within the foveola. She received her Bachelor's degree and Master's degree at the University of Padova, and completed her doctoral and postdoctoral work at Boston University.

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ABCD Study MRIs reveal more incidental findings in children

March 24, 2021

New findings from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD) Study could change our understanding of the prevalence of neurological problems in children and how neuroimaging is used to screen for these problems. Scan results revealed one in 25 children needed further medical evaluation.

"These were all healthy kids who, in the most serious cases, needed life-saving surgery. Without these scans some would have had a major medical event," John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience, and principal investigator of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development or ABCD Study at the University of Rochester and a co-author of the study, which appears in the journal JAMA Neurology.

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More than words: Using AI to map how the brain understands sentences

March 22, 2021

Have you ever wondered why you are able to hear a sentence and understand its meaning – given that the same words in a different order would have an entirely different meaning? New research involving neuroimaging and A.I., describes the complex network within the brain that comprehends the meaning of a spoken sentence.

"It has been unclear whether the integration of this meaning is represented in a particular site in the brain, such as the anterior temporal lobes, or reflects a more network level operation that engages multiple brain regions," said Andrew Anderson, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the University of Rochester Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience and lead author on of the study which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. "The meaning of a sentence is more than the sum of its parts. Take a very simple example – 'the car ran over the cat' and 'the cat ran over the car' – each sentence has exactly the same words, but those words have a totally different meaning when reordered."

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Rochester brain and cognitive sciences researchers receive national recognition

February 16, 2021

Two University of Rochester researchers in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences are being honored with a celebrated award for their contributions to and leadership in the scientific community.

Martina Poletti and Manuel Gomez-Ramirez, both assistant professors of brain and cognitive sciences and of neuroscience, are among this year's recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships. Awarded annually by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation since 1955, the fellowships recognize young scientists for their independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become leaders in the scientific community. Each fellowship carries a $75,000, two-year award. This year, 128 scientists across the US and Canada were awarded fellowships. Gomez-Ramirez and Poletti are the University's fourth and filth Sloan fellows in the last three years.

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Susana Marcos to lead Center for Visual Science

February 11, 2021

Susana Marcos, an internationally recognized expert in the optics of the eye and the interactions of light with the retina, will become the David R. Williams Director of the Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester.

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New Research Sheds Light on Vision Loss in Batten Disease

February 5, 2021

Progressive vision loss, and eventually blindness, are the hallmarks of juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL) or CLN3-Batten disease. New research shows how the mutation associated with the disease could potentially lead to degeneration of light sensing photoreceptor cells in the retina, and subsequent vision loss.

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The perfect pilot: How a grant takes flight

January 28, 2021

Having preliminary data from a study supported by a pilot grant elevated the work of Ania Majewska, Ph.D. She was awarded a $40,000 Schmitt pilot grant in 2015 to study the mechanism that regulates how microglia – part of the brain's immune system – move in the brain, and whether microglia function to repair or exacerbate damage in the brain following a stroke. Microglia working in the quiescent brain. Green = microglia, purple = microglial receptors at the fine ends of microglial processes.The data collected have since turned into millions of dollars of federal funding, competitive student training grants, and publications – including one in a major research journal.

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