This brief report covers the activities of the Committee for Aid and Education in Neurochemistry (CAEN) of the International Society for Neurochemistry for 2008-2009, during which 17 grants were awarded to scientists from 13 countries in four continents. All the applications received by CAEN from 2008 to date were analyzed in detail by the Committee members: Phil Beart (Australia, ex officio), Roger Butterworth (Canada), Daniele Condorelli (Italy), Michael Cousin (UK), Ralf Dringen (Germany), Agustina Garcia (Spain, ex officio), Leszek Kaczmarek (Poland), Daniel Desire Tshala-Katum-Katumbay (Congo-USA), Mitradas Panicker (India), Matthew Rasband (USA), David Shine (USA, ex officio), Peter Wong (Singapore). The Chair is once again grateful for the active participation of those CAEN members whose agile and thoughtful input made the work possible.
Prof. Dr Francisco Barrantes
Chairman of CAEN
Grants awarded to neurochemists from Europe (including Eastern Europe):
- Dr. Meri Manucharyan, Institute of Biochemistry of Armenian NAS,Yerevan, Republic
of Armenia, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to purchase biochemicals and other consumables. Amount awarded: 1,500 U$D
- Dr. P. Petkova-Kirova, Departament Excitable Structures, Institute of Biophysics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to be used to purchase a mini-pump and accessories for research activities. Amount awarded: 3,025 Euros
- Prof. Dr. B. Hamprecht, Universität Tübingen, Germany (beneficiaries of the award: Drs. Armen Simonjan of the University of Kamo, Armenia, and Gevorg Gevorgyan of the H. Buniatian Institute of Biochemistry, National Academy of Science of the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia). Awarded an ISN CAEN grant to send hard copy journals and books (Volumes 229 (1971) to 450 (2007) of Nature from Dr. B. Hamprecht´s personal subscription were available for donation to needy institutes in a deprived country: volumes 229 (1971) – 312 (1984) [318 (1985)] and 307(1984) [313 (1985)] – 450 (2007), respectively. They arranged to divide between them the entire set of volumes after shipment). ISN CAEN support permitted the transfer by truck of the journal volumes consisting of 12 cardboard boxes (350 kg) from Tübingen to Yerevan. Amount awarded: Euro 334.48 = U$D 473.-
Grants awarded to Latin American neurochemists:
- Dr. Gabriel Ferrero, from the University of Cordoba, Argentina, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to participate in the course New Developments in Quantitative Molecular Bioscience held on the Island of Spetses, Greece, 10th – 17th September 2008. $500.
- Dr. Ruth Rojas Carbajal, Neuroscience Department of Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant that allowed her to conduct research at Clemente Estable Institute, in Montevideo, Uruguay, between September and December 2008. Research at this institute was done under the supervision of Dr. F. Rivera and Dr. F. Dajas in order to learn about two ischemia models: permanent and transient focal cerebral ischemia in adult rats, which are useful tools not only to learn about the underlying pathology of ischemia, but also to identify new compounds that can attenuate or prevent damage. A further step in this research aims at reproducing both ischemia models at Dr. Rojas´ home institution in Perú, to evaluate possible neuroprotective effects of plant extracts from Peruvian biodiversity on ischemia. Amount awarded: U$D 2500. Report.
- Ms. Georgina M. Renard, Cátedra de Fisiologia Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to visit the laboratory of Dr. Ramón Sotomayor to undertake a research project on "the role of the lateral septum in stress-induced relapse to cocaine seeking" under the supervision of Dr. Katya Gysling at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile (FONDECYT / Millennium Science Nucleus, ICM, MIDEPLAN, Chile). Amount awarded: 1,800 U$D
- Dr. Juan Segura-Aguilar and Dr. Pablo A. Caviedes, Program of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, ICBM, Faculty of Medicine, Santiago, Chile, were awarded an ISN CAEN grant to support the Advanced Graduate Course: Molecular & Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal Damage. Report. Therapeutical approaches, held at the Panamericana Hotel Arica & Resort, Arica, Chile, on April 23rd – 26th, 2009. A total of 37 students from Perú, Argentina, Brazil and Chile participated in this course. Of these, 24 were supported by the ISN grant to attend the course. Amount awarded: 6,000 U$D.
- Ms. Analía Richeri, Ph. D. student from Instituto Clemenente Estable, Montevideo,
Uruguay, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to participate at the Workshop on “Sempahorin
Function and Mechanisms of Action” held in Abbaye des Vaulx de Cernay, France, on May 8-11, 2008. Participation in this workshop gave Ms. Analía Richeri the opportunity to discuss
with scientists working on different experimental systems involving semaphorins, namely Dr.
Klagsbrun, Dr. A. Bagri, (angiogenesis and cancer), Christine Holt, Oded Behar (Neurvous System). She was also able to establish academic contact with Dr. A. Bagri. This collaboration enabled her to receive an antibody directed against one of the semaphorin receptors, which will be essential for her future work. Amount awarded: 500 U$D.
Grants awarded to neurochemists from Africa:
- Mr. Samir Ahboucha, Cadi Ayyad University, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia,
Neurosciences, Pharmacology and Environment Research Unit, Marrakech, Morocco, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to purchase research instrumentation to undertake the research project "Neuroactive steroids: A new target for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy". Amount awarded: 5,000 U$D
- Dr. James O. Olopade, Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Neurosurgery, Penn State College of
Medicine, 17033, PA, USA, and Comparative Anatomy and Environmental Toxicology
Unit, Dept. of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant for the purchase of equipment to carry out research activities on the neuroprotective effects of natural products on vanadium-induced neurotoxicity. Amount awarded: 4,600 U$D
- Dr. Moyosore Salihu Ajao, University of the Witwatersrand, South
Africa, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to visit the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Lipp at the Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich, to undertake the research project on "the role of melatonin in global cerebral ischemia and adult neurogenesis in Sprague-Dawley rats". Amount awarded: 4,000 U$D
Grants awarded to neurochemists in Asia:
- Mr. Ashesh Dhawale, Computational Neuroscience Laboratory, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), University of
Agricultural Sciences- Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra (GKVK) Campus, Bangalore, India, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant (2008) to visit the laboratory of Dr. Dinu Albeanu at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, USA, to undertake a research project on the role of the GABA and NA neurotransmitter systems of the olfactory bulb in odorant discrimination. Amount awarded: 4,000 U$D
Reports submitted during this period
- Dr. Marie Moftah, Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to purchase supplies to be used at her home laboratory to conduct research on locomotion recovery, spinal cord regeneration after lesion in Mammals and Urodeles, constituting the two extremes of the regenerative capacity, and synaptic plasticity through morphological cellular reorganization in neuropathic animal models. Report presented June 2009 (2007 awardee)
- Miss Sraboni Chaudhury, Ph.D. student from the Neurobiology Lab at the Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, New Delhi, India, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to receive training at The Open University in UK under the supervision of Prof. M.G.Stewart. During a 2-month (July-Sept., 2008) stay at The Open University, Miss Chaudhury learnt about the handling of electron microscopy and carried out an electron microscopy study on the “Expression of synaptophysin following LTP and LTD stimulation in the medial molecular layer of the rat hippocampus.”
- Jitendra Kumar, Ph. D. student at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR), Bangalore India, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to pay a 3-month visit (in 2008) to Dr. Dieter Klopfenstein´s laboratory at George August University in Göttingen, Germany, to carry out research on the role of specific residues in the PH domain identified in vivo to UNC-104 function.
- Dr. Alexandra Latini, Centro de Ciências Biológicas Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis – SC, Brazil, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to visit scientific centers in Austria in 2008. During the first two weeks of her stay in Austria, Dr. Latini followed two courses on mitochondrial function held in Schroecken under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Erich Gnaiger in collaboration with the Mitochondrial Physiology Society. Dr. Latini also visited Prof. Dr. Erich Gnaiger´s laboratory at the Swarovski Research Laboratory, Medical University of Innsbruck where she carried out pilot experiments to optimize a multiplesubstrate respiratory protocol (Q-junction protocol) for application to brain homogenates or a brain permeabilized tissue preparation by using the Oroboros Oxigraph-2K.
- Dr. Daniel García, Dept. de Química, Univ. Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, was awarded an ISN CAEN grant to buy research supplies for the project “Biophysical characterization of phenolic compounds with possible anaesthetic and/or gabaergic activity. Pharmacological correlations. Amount awarded: 1,200 U$D