A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Neurosciences Bookmark and Share

Neurosciences

Study of the nervous system has a long tradition at City of Hope, which was one of the first institutions in North America to establish a neurobiology research department.

The Department of Neurosciences offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in neurobiology, with a particular focus on developmental aspects of the nervous system. Research in the department encompasses molecular and cellular neurobiology, genetics and neurophysiology, with ongoing studies in neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, migration and specification, degeneration and embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Researchers in the department collaborate with colleagues in other basic science departments and divisions as well as clinical researchers in neuro-oncology programs, focusing on cancer immunotherapy and neurosurgery.
 
Laboratory Research
The Department of Neurosciences spans a broad range of research interests; grouped into three major categories:

I.Several investigators are interested in the earliest periods of neurogenesis and lineage commitment, and are examining stem and progenitor cells in developing and mature brain:
 
  • Qiang Lu, Ph.D. – Neural Progenitor/Stem Cells in Brain Development
    Dr. Lu’s research is concerned with intercellular signaling by ephrins and Eph receptors and their regulation of neuronal birth and migration during early development of the cerebral cortex.
 
  • Yanhong Shi, Ph.D. – Nuclear Receptors in Neural Stem Cells and Adult Neurogenesis
    Dr. Shi is studying the nuclear receptors that control generation and differentiation of neural lineage stem cells in the adult nervous system.
 
  • Michael Barish, Ph.D. – Neurobiology of Development
    Dr. Barish is investigating early electrical activity in the developing hippocampus and cortex and its relationship to neural birth, migration and maturation.
     
  • Karen S. Aboody, M.D.Translational Research
    Dr. Aboody oversees a translational research laboratory focused on neural stem cells (NSCs) as a platform for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to invasive and metastatic solid tumors.

II.Several faculty have research foci in neural specification, processes that impart individuality to developing neurons, and in the functioning of mature neurons.
 
  • Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D. – Molecular Neurobiology
    Dr. Salvaterra’s research is focused on the regulation of transmitter phenotype, how gene expression is coordinated to allow synthesis and release of individual neurotransmitters.
 
  • Toshifumi Tomoda, Ph.D. – Axonal Trafficking / Neurodegeneration
    Dr. Tomoda is interested in membrane transport and cycling, and its role in axon and dendrite growth, differentiation of synapses, and stress-induced autophagy.
 
  • Kazuo Ikeda, Ph.D. – Neurophysiology
    Dr. Ikeda studies the mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity, focusing on endocytosis of synaptic vesicle membrane from presynaptic terminals and processes of recovery from vesicle depletion as a consequence of activity.

III.Several faculty members also have projects that relate their fundamental research interests to mechanisms underlying diseases of the human nervous system.
 
  • Dr. Salvaterra is developing Drosophila models for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
     
  • Dr. Lu is examining how alteration in the neural stem cell decision to proliferate or differentiate controlled by ephrin/Eph receptor signaling may be involved in the earliest stages of tumorigenesis.
     
  • Dr. Tomoda is investigating possible connections between genes involved in membrane cycling and autophagy, and several diseases including Huntington’s and schizophrenia.
     
  • Dr. Barish, in collaboration with Karen Aboody, M.D. , (Hematology/HCT) and Carlotta Glackin, Ph.D. , is examining the molecular mechanisms of neural progenitor cell migration to glioma and tumors outside the brain, and targeting of these tumors with genetically-modified therapeutics using immortalized neural progenitor cells.
     
  • Dr. Glackin and her laboratory are investigating the molecular mechanisms of a bHLH transcription factor, TWIST, in regulating cellular invasiveness. Understanding these mechanisms has allowed her laboratory to develop novel genetically-modified therapeutics that interferes with TWIST function to competitively inhibit cellular invasion of tumor cells.

Neurosciences Faculty

Neurosciences

Neurosciences

Study of the nervous system has a long tradition at City of Hope, which was one of the first institutions in North America to establish a neurobiology research department.

The Department of Neurosciences offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in neurobiology, with a particular focus on developmental aspects of the nervous system. Research in the department encompasses molecular and cellular neurobiology, genetics and neurophysiology, with ongoing studies in neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, migration and specification, degeneration and embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Researchers in the department collaborate with colleagues in other basic science departments and divisions as well as clinical researchers in neuro-oncology programs, focusing on cancer immunotherapy and neurosurgery.
 
Laboratory Research
The Department of Neurosciences spans a broad range of research interests; grouped into three major categories:

I.Several investigators are interested in the earliest periods of neurogenesis and lineage commitment, and are examining stem and progenitor cells in developing and mature brain:
 
  • Qiang Lu, Ph.D. – Neural Progenitor/Stem Cells in Brain Development
    Dr. Lu’s research is concerned with intercellular signaling by ephrins and Eph receptors and their regulation of neuronal birth and migration during early development of the cerebral cortex.
 
  • Yanhong Shi, Ph.D. – Nuclear Receptors in Neural Stem Cells and Adult Neurogenesis
    Dr. Shi is studying the nuclear receptors that control generation and differentiation of neural lineage stem cells in the adult nervous system.
 
  • Michael Barish, Ph.D. – Neurobiology of Development
    Dr. Barish is investigating early electrical activity in the developing hippocampus and cortex and its relationship to neural birth, migration and maturation.
     
  • Karen S. Aboody, M.D.Translational Research
    Dr. Aboody oversees a translational research laboratory focused on neural stem cells (NSCs) as a platform for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to invasive and metastatic solid tumors.

II.Several faculty have research foci in neural specification, processes that impart individuality to developing neurons, and in the functioning of mature neurons.
 
  • Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D. – Molecular Neurobiology
    Dr. Salvaterra’s research is focused on the regulation of transmitter phenotype, how gene expression is coordinated to allow synthesis and release of individual neurotransmitters.
 
  • Toshifumi Tomoda, Ph.D. – Axonal Trafficking / Neurodegeneration
    Dr. Tomoda is interested in membrane transport and cycling, and its role in axon and dendrite growth, differentiation of synapses, and stress-induced autophagy.
 
  • Kazuo Ikeda, Ph.D. – Neurophysiology
    Dr. Ikeda studies the mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity, focusing on endocytosis of synaptic vesicle membrane from presynaptic terminals and processes of recovery from vesicle depletion as a consequence of activity.

III.Several faculty members also have projects that relate their fundamental research interests to mechanisms underlying diseases of the human nervous system.
 
  • Dr. Salvaterra is developing Drosophila models for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
     
  • Dr. Lu is examining how alteration in the neural stem cell decision to proliferate or differentiate controlled by ephrin/Eph receptor signaling may be involved in the earliest stages of tumorigenesis.
     
  • Dr. Tomoda is investigating possible connections between genes involved in membrane cycling and autophagy, and several diseases including Huntington’s and schizophrenia.
     
  • Dr. Barish, in collaboration with Karen Aboody, M.D. , (Hematology/HCT) and Carlotta Glackin, Ph.D. , is examining the molecular mechanisms of neural progenitor cell migration to glioma and tumors outside the brain, and targeting of these tumors with genetically-modified therapeutics using immortalized neural progenitor cells.
     
  • Dr. Glackin and her laboratory are investigating the molecular mechanisms of a bHLH transcription factor, TWIST, in regulating cellular invasiveness. Understanding these mechanisms has allowed her laboratory to develop novel genetically-modified therapeutics that interferes with TWIST function to competitively inhibit cellular invasion of tumor cells.

Neurosciences Faculty

Neurosciences Faculty

Overview
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is responsible for fundamentally expanding the world’s understanding of how biology affects diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
 
 
Research Departments/Divisions

City of Hope is a leader in translational research - integrating basic science, clinical research and patient care.
 

Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.
 

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
Develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
 


NEWS & UPDATES
  • It was 2009 when a City of Hope patient in her 40s learned that the cancer she had been fighting for several years had metastasized to her lungs. Her medical team ran genetic tests on the tumor, but none of the drug therapies available at the time targeted the known mutations in the tumor cells. […]
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is characterized by a rapidly-developing cancer in the myeloid line of blood cells, which is responsible for producing red blood cells, platelets and several types of white blood cells called granulocytes. Because AML grows rapidly, it can quickly crowd out normal blood cells, leadi...
  • Rachel Divine is a yoga therapist and patient leader for the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. She’s also a former City of Hope patient. When someone you know has cancer, even the word “cancer” can make you feel nervous, sleepless, depressed or more. But, as a yoga teacher for 15 ...
  •   Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 9 years old, Gina Marchini accepted the fact that she would need insulin the rest of her life. Every day, she injected herself with the lifesaving hormone. She also carefully controlled her diet and monitored the rise and fall of her blood glucose with military...
  • The defeat of cancer will require a team effort. Nowhere is this more necessary (or apparent) than in efforts to combat two of the most deadly forms of the disease  – pancreatic cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. It’s the approach City of Hope is taking with its newly launched multidisciplinary teams, br...
  • It’s a reasonable question: Why is the National Cancer Institute funding a study on preventing heart failure? The answer is reasonable as well: Rates of heart failure are drastically high among childhood cancer survivors — 15 times higher than among people the same age who were never treated for cancer. T...
  • Many teenagers take a break from academics during the summer, but not the eight high school students enrolled in the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Creativity Awards program at City of Hope. They took the opportunity to obtain as much hands-on research experience as possible, learning fro...
  • About one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer. Although women can’t change some risk factors, such as genetics and the natural aging process, there are certain things they can do to lower thei...
  • As genetic testing becomes more sophisticated, doctors and their patients are finding that such tests can lead to the discovery of previously unknown cancer risks. In his practice at City of Hope, Thomas Slavin, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, sees the full spe...
  • And the winners are … everyone in the San Gabriel Valley. The recipients of City of Hope’s first-ever Healthy Living grants have been announced, and the future is looking healthier already. In selecting San Gabriel Valley organizations to receive the grants, City of Hope’s Community Benefits Advisory Council ch...
  • Barry Leshowitz is a former City of Hope patient and a family advisor for the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. It’s been almost seven years since I checked into a local hospital in Phoenix for a hip replacement, only to be informed by the surgeon that he had canceled the surgery....
  • When it comes to science, the best graduate schools don’t just train scientists, they prepare their students for a lifetime of learning, accomplishment and positive impact on society. At City of Hope, the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences goes one step further – by preparing students to...
  • Cancer affects not just the cancer patient, but everyone around him or her, even after treatment is complete. The challenges can include the fear of cancer recurrence, coping with cancer’s economic impact and the struggle to achieve work-life balance post-treatment. Family members and loved ones of cancer patie...
  •   Bladder cancer facts: Bladder cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the bladder. 2015 estimates: 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed 16,000 deaths from bladder cancer (about 11,510 in men and 4,490 in women) Risk factors for bladder cancer: Smoking: Smokers...
  • Women with ovarian cancer have questions about the most promising treatment options, revolutionary research avenues, survivorship and, of course, the potential impact on their personal lives. Now, together in one place, are experts who can provide answers. On Saturday, Sept. 12, the 2015 Ovarian Cancer Survivor...