Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Student Researcher Wins National Neuroscience Grant

The research of one BW Summer Scholar has received additional recognition and funding from Nu Rho Psi, the national neuroscience honor society. Biagio Niro '16 is one of just two student researchers nationwide to receive a 2014 Nu Rho Psi Summer Research Grant.

With the support of neuroscience chair and faculty mentor, Dr. Jackie Morris, Niro's work is aimed at helping scientists to better understand the role of the PAD-2 gene in the normal development of the nervous system. The PAD enzyme has been the focus of research in cancer and autoimmune diseases, in particular multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The BW neuroscience-biology major is using a new gene editing system to delete a portion of the PAD-2 gene in zebrafish. After editing the genes, he analyzes the mutated fish to determine if nervous system development has been altered.  According to Niro and Morris, "If we understand the normal role of the PAD gene, then we might understand why it reappears during disease states."