Pitt to establish center that will use viruses to trace nervous system circuitry


PITTSBURGH, June 30 The University of Pittsburgh has received a five-year $4.6 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a Center for Neuroanatomy with Neurotropic Viruses. The center, the only one of its kind, will use viruses to trace the intricate circuitry and architecture of the nervous system in order to better understand its function and organization.

The center will be co-directed by Peter Strick, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and J. Patrick Card, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh School of Arts and Sciences.

As a national resource, it brings together leading experts in virology and neuroscience, including those from Princeton University and Thomas Jefferson University, to advance technology that uses viruses to define circuit architecture in the nervous system.

"Tracing certain viruses through the nervous system provides a powerful means for functional dissection of neural circuitry. But the approach is a costly endeavor beyond the reach of most investigators. The center will provide the necessary resources and focus to energize this technology development and make it more widely available," said Dr. Strick.

"In establishing the center here, the NIH recognizes the concentration of world-class expertise in this unique area of research. The University of Pittsburgh is home to a surprising number of investigators who have been influential in the development and application of this methodology," added Dr. Card.

According to Drs. Strick and Card, the center will enable the further development of the virus tracing technique to improve and expand its capabilities; provide training opportunities for scientists from other institutions; and foster collaborations and multidisciplinary studies that will help advance scientific understanding.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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