Amy Arnsten (Yale University)
Amy Arnsten studies molecular influences on the higher cognitive circuits of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), in order to understand mechanisms affecting working memory at the cellular and behavioral levels. Her expertise spans a broad spectrum of techniques, with focus on neuromodulators within the PFC network and their effect on Dynamic Network Connectivity (DNC), a rapid form of neuroplasticity. Her lab demonstrated how stress causes the loss of cognitive abilities, how genetic mutations in molecules regulating these pathways can lead to symptoms of mental illness, and how age-related dysregulation of these pathways can lead to dementia. Arnsten’s research eventually aims to develop new treatments for mental illness and age-related degenerative disorders: this has already led to successful innovations, including the use of guanfacine (Intuniv™) for a variety of PFC disorders.
Shani Stern (University of Haifa)
Shani Stern aims to model neurological diseases using neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), obtained from human patients. Her lab uses a variety of techniques to derive different types of neurons and glia and studies the electrophysiological behavior as well as other molecular properties of those cells. Stern eventually performs computational modeling to identify disease states of the human brain with the goal of improving treatment.