Dana Grantee Receives Presidential Award

Yesterday the White House announced the 96 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. Among the recipients is Dana brain and immuno-imaging grantee Beth Stevens, Ph.D., of Children’s Hospital Boston, who studies the interactions of neurons and glia in the nervous system. The award celebrates high-achieving researchers in the early stages of their careers.

In the press release, President Obama says, “Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people. The impressive accomplishments of today’s awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead.”

Dr. Stevens received funding from the Dana Foundation in 2010 for her grant, “Role of Microglia in Complement-Mediated CNS Synapse Elimination during Development and Disease.”

The grant’s lay summary explains:

Investigators will use cellular imaging in mice to study how innate immune system processes prune inactive brain synapses during development, and also how they eliminate synapses in neurodegenerative diseases in a mouse model of glaucoma…

Ultimately, the findings may help to understand normal synaptic loss, how this process may go awry in developmental disorders, and how reactivation of synaptic elimination in glaucoma might be targeted to prevent or treat this neurodegenerative disorder.

Our congratulations go out to Dr. Stevens.

–Ann L. Whitman

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