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Probing Psychoses: Harvard geneticists seek the biological basis for schizophrenia

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Beth Stevens Receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

President Obama named 96 researchers, including Beth Stevens, PhD, as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

See White House press release here.
See NIH press release here.

Congratulations Beth!

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NIH-supported study shows how immune cells change wiring of the developing mouse brain
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) | News Articles

A microglial cell in the mature mouse brain Researchers show how immune cells in the brain target and remove unused connections, or synapses, between neurons during normal development. Immune cells known as microglia respond to neuronal activity to select synapses to prune, and eliminate synapses in the way that bacterial cells or other pathogenic debris are eliminated.

Immune cell in the brain swallows synapses to sculpt neurons during development

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A microglial cell (green) from the developing mouse brain is shown as a 3-D image and 3-D computer reconstruction. Synapses from neurons projecting from the eyes (red and blue) are engulfed and seen inside the microglial cell.

A team of scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), uses images and movies such as this one to analyze cells in the developing brain. Read more about this research here.

Movie from Schafer et al., Neuron, May 24, 2012., courtesy Dorothy Schafer, Ph.D. and Beth Stevens, Ph.D. at Boston Children’s Hospital.

This research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Smith Family Foundation.

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Immune molecules fine-tune brain circuits
Children’s Hospital Boston | Feature

Beth Stevens, PhD, has discovered some unexpected synapse eliminators: molecules of the innate immune system, traditionally our first-line defense against infection. Her new findings may help us better understand how neural circuits are fine-tuned—and how they fall apart or form incorrectly in neurological disorders as diverse as Alzheimer’s, glaucoma and epilepsy.