UC Irvine Awarded $8 Million for Creation of Brain Cell Database

The grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow researchers to study brain cell activity in motor neuron disorders like Lou Gehrig's disease and build a detailed collection of these diseases’ signatures.

by Adolfo Flores, McClatchy News Service / October 9, 2014

UC Irvine announced Wednesday that it had been awarded an $8-million grant to establish one of six centers around the country tasked with creating a database of brain cell activity, expected to help develop treatment for a number of diseases.

The grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow researchers to study brain cell activity in motor neuron disorders like Lou Gehrig's disease and build a detailed collection of these diseases’ signatures.

The signatures will be used to identify cell targets for new drug treatments, the campus said.

NIH is awarding $64 million to six research groups to establish these centers, which will feed into the database. The UCI-based center will be called NeuroLINCS.

"Human brain cells are far less understood than other cells in the body," said Leslie M. Thompson, a UCI professor of psychiatry and human behavior and neurobiology and behavior.

"The collective expertise of NeuroLINCS investigators provides a unique opportunity to increase our knowledge of what makes brain cells unique and what happens during neurodegenerative diseases."

The five others participating in the project are Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease; UC San Francisco; Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

©2014 the Los Angeles Times