CONTACT: JENNIFER CRONIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-5661; fax (319) 335-9917
UI researcher receives $300,000 grant to study mental disease
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa researcher and his collaborators
have received $300,000 from the EJLB Foundation to study the neurophysiology
of brain cells. They hope their research leads to a better understanding
of the neural basis of emotional disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic
stress disorder and anxiety disorders.
Ralph Adolphs, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of neurology, will lead
the UI investigation along with collaborators Dr. Matthew Howard, UI associate
professor of surgery, and Dr. Hanna Damasio, UI Foundation Distinguished
Professor of neurology. In addition to the trio, the study will involve
a team of other UI researchers trained in epilepsy, neurosurgery, neurology
Adolphs and his colleagues will work with patients who have depth electrodes
implanted in their brains for monitoring seizures. Through the depth electrodes,
the investigators will record the electrical activity of single neurons.
"This provides a very rare opportunity to carry out single-cell
neurophysiology in awake humans," Adolphs said. "We are specifically
interested in recording responses from a structure called the amygdala,
which appears to be involved in emotions."
The UI team will compare their findings from the depth electrodes to
the data obtained from other methods in humans and animals.
Adolphs' grant is one of seven that the EJLB Foundation funded this
year. The EJLB Foundation funds international basic neuroscience research
with the goal of gaining better insight into mental diseases. The UI project
is expected to last three years.