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NINDS Pathway to Independence Award Recipients


NINDS Pathway to Independence Award Recipients are sorted via the dates below. For those who have transitioned to an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for the R00 phase, the first faculty position obtained is listed as “Independent Position” below.

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Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2014 – May 2015

  • Eiman Abdel-Azim, Ph.D.
    Columbia University
    Control of Skilled Forelimb Movements by Cerebellar Feedback Circuits
  • Taulant Bacaj, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Postsynaptic Calcium Sensors in Synaptic Plasticity
  • Naiara Aquizu Lopez, Ph.D.
    Scripps Research Institute
    Exploring the role of AMP Deaminases in Neuronal Development and Degeneration
  • Gemma Carvill, Ph.D.
    University of Washington
    An Epigenomic Approach to Identifying Noncoding Mutations in Epilepsy
  • Alicia Guemez Gamoba, Ph.D.
    Rockefeller University
    Role of PDCH12 in Neural Circuit Formation During Brain Development and Disease
  • Keith Hengen, Ph.D.
    Brandeis University
    Homeostatic Plasticity Mechanisms Support Brain Function in vivo
  • Michael Krieg, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    The Mechanical Control of Mechanosensation
  • Hui Lu, Ph.D.
    Baylor College of Medicine
    Mechanisms and Rescue of Neural Circuit Dysfunction in Mecp2 Mutant Mice
  • Ye Zhang, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Identification of Transcription Factors that Regulate Astrocyte Differentiation

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2013 – May 2014

  • Eiman Abdel-Azim, Ph.D.
    Columbia University
    Control of Skilled Forelimb Movements by Cerebellar Feedback Circuits
  • Taulant Bacaj, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Postsynaptic Calcium Sensors in Synaptic Plasticity
  • Marina Bershteyn, Ph.D.
    University of California, San Francisco
    Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Miller-Dieker Syndrome
  • Catherine M. Drerup, Ph.D.
    Oregon Health and Science University
    Identifying modulators of dynein-based cargo motility
  • Susan E. Frost, Ph.D.
    Brigham and Women's Hospital
    Mechanisms and Consequences of Heterochromatin Loss in Tauopathies
  • Liang Han, Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Itch Sensation
  • Robert Hunt, Ph.D.
    University of California, San Francisco
    Functional Engraftment of Stem Cell-Derived Cortical Interneurons
  • Paschalis Kratsios, Ph.D.
    Columbia University
    Gene Regulatory Mechanisms That Assign and Maintain Motor Neuron Terminal Differentiation
  • Esther Krook-Magnuson, Ph.D.
    University of California, Irvine
    On-demand Optogenetic Cerebellar Intervention for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
  • Adam Miller, Ph.D.
    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    Molecular Mechanisms of Electrical Synapse Formation In Vivo
  • Adrien Peyrache, Ph.D.
    New York University
    Neuronal Coordination in the Thalamo-Cortical Head-Direction System
  • Polyxeni Philippidou, Ph.D.
    New York University School of Medicine
    Hox Genes in the Development of Respiratory Circuits
  • Emanuela Santini, Ph.D.
    New York University
    Striatal Specific Alterations in Translation, Synaptic Function, and Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Jacob Schwartz, Ph.D.
    University of Colorado
    Analysis of the RNA-Binding Protein FUS and Its Role in Neurodegenerative Disease
    Independent Position:  Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The University of Arizona
  • Yuanquan Song, Ph.D.
    University of California, San Francisco
    Mechanistic studies of novel factors regulating axon regeneration in the PNS/CNS
  • Nicolas Tritsch, Ph.D.
    Harvard Medical School
    Dopaminergic Modulation of Brain Circuits That Control Movement
  • Eric Vitriol, Ph.D.
    Emory University
    Novel Mechanisms of Actin Dynamics Underlying Cell Motility, Axon Growth, and ALS
  • Mathew C. Weston, Ph.D.
    Baylor College of Medicine
    Regulation of Synapse and Network Dynamics by mTOR
  • Christiane D. Wrann, D.V.M, Ph.D.
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Molecular mechanisms of exercise benefits in synapse plasticity and cognition
  • Huanghe Yang, Ph.D.
    University of California, San Francisco
    Calcium Activated TMEM16 Channels and Their Physiological Roles in the Brain

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2012 – May 2013

  • Michael Bonaguidi, Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    Mechanisms Underlying Neural Stem Cell Heterogeneity in the Adult Hippocampus
  • Onanong Chivatakarn, Ph.D.
    Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    Analysis of the tumor suppressor gene Tsc1 in motor neuron patterning
  • Todd J. Cohen, Ph.D.
    University of Pennsylvania
    TDP-43 acetylation as a pathogenic modification in ALS & related proteinopathies
  • Megan Y. Dennis, Ph.D.
    University of Washington
    Characterization of Human-Specific Duplicated Genes Implicated in Neurocognitive Traits
  • Kazuhide Hayakawa, Ph.D.
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    CD200 as a monocyte/macrophage switch for brain repair after stroke
  • Jianxiong Jiang, Ph.D.
    Emory University
    Prostaglandin signaling following seizures
  • Sandra Maday, Ph.D.
    University of Pennsylvania
    Mechanisms of autophagosome biogenesis and maturation in primary neurons
  • Florian Merkle, Ph.D.
    Harvard University
    Cellular models of hypocretin neuron loss in narcolepsy
  • Eran A. Mukamel, Ph.D.
    Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    Global cortical dynamics in sleep and general anesthesia
  • Fabienne Poulain, Ph.D.
    University of Utah
    Functions of Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans in Axon Guidance and Degeneration
    Independent Position: Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
  • Derek A. Wainwright, Ph.D.
    University of Chicago
    The interaction of IDO and Tregs Leads to Immunosuppression in Glioma
  • Yingfei Wang, Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    The role of a novel AIF-associated nuclease PAAN1 in neuronal injury
    Independent Position: Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2011 – May 2012

  • Orin Bloch, M.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    B7-H1 Expressing Macrophages Mediate Immunosupression in Glioma
    Independent Position: Department of Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University at Chicago
  • Ryan T. Canolty, Ph.D.
    University of California Berkeley
    Investigating Computation and Communication in Multi-Scale Brain Networks
  • Omar El Gharbawie, Ph.D.
    Vanderbilt University
    Organization of the parietal-frontal network that mediates grasping in monkeys
  • Aryn H. Gittis, Ph.D.
    J. David Gladstone Institutes 
    Organization and Function of Striatal Microcircuits in Health and Disease
    Independent Position: Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Michael M. Halassa, M.D., Ph.D.
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Causal examination of TRN role in neocortical spindle generation and function
  • Ryan E. Hibbs, Ph.D.
    Oregon Health and Science University
    3D Structure and Function of Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors
    Independent Position: Department of Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Justin Kawika Ichida, Ph.D.
    Harvard University
    Conversion of fibroblasts to functional spinal motor neurons using defined factor
    Independent Position: Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of Southern California
  • Yichang Jia, Ph.D.
    Jackson Laboratory
    Mechanism Underlying Neurodegeneration Caused by Dysfunction of Pre-mRNA Splicing
    Independent Position: School of Medicine, Tsinghua University
  • Hyosang Lee, Ph.D.
    California Institute of Technology 
    The Peripheral and Central Neuronal Circuits that Underlie Itch
  • Evan W. Miller, Ph.D.
    University of California San Diego 
    Molecular and optogenetic tools for studying voltage in the brain
  • Evan W. Miller, Ph.D.
    University of California San Diego
    Molecular and optogenetic tools for studying voltage in the brain
    Independent Position: Department of Chemistry, University of California Berkeley
  • Jason M. Newbern, Ph.D.
    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
    ERK/MAPK regulation of cortical inhibitory interneurons
    Independent Position: School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
  • Jeanne Paz, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Role of Thalamus in Post-stroke epileptogenesis
    Independent Position: Gladstone Institutes and University of California San Francisco
  • Benoit Renvoise, Ph.D.
    National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program 
    Role of hereditary spastic paraplegia proteins REEP1, spastin and atlastin-1 in E
  • Kenneth M. Scaglione, Ph.D.
    University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
    Protein fate in neurodegeneration: Investigations of novel regulatory mechanisms
    Independent Position: Department of Biochemistry, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Dong Yan, Ph.D.
    University of California San Diego
    Regulation of the DLK-1 pathway in axon regeneration
    Independent Position: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2010 – May 2011

  • Robert C. Axtell, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Molecular Stratification of Multiple Sclerosis and Associated Neuro-autoimmune Disorders
    Independent Position: Arthritis and Clinical Immunology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
  • Jun Ding, Ph.D.
    Harvard University
    Functional organization of neural circuits underlying movement control
    Independent Position: Stanford Institute of Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences, Stanford University
  • Simon W. Moore, Ph.D.
    Columbia University
    Mechanisms of mechanical transduction in the guidance of neuronal axons
  • Magdalini Polymenidou, Ph.D.
    Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research 
    mRNA Targets for TDP-43 and FUS/TLS: Identifying Key RNA-Processing Errors in ALS
  • Priti Balchandani, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    High Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy of Epilepsy at 7T
    Independent Position: Department of Radiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Frank Bosmans, Ph.D.
    National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program 
    The influence of beta-subunits and sphingomyelin on sodium channel function
    Independent Position: Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University
  • Woo-Ping Ge, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    Local proliferation of glia and their interaction with blood vessels
    Independent Position: Children's Medical Center Research Institute, UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Jesse H. Goldberg, M.D., Ph.D.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Basal Ganglia-Thalamic Interactions in Behaving Songbirds During Learning
    Independent Position: Department of Neurobiology, Cornell University
  • Maria Lehtinen, Ph.D.
    Children's Hospital - Boston
    Cerebrospinal fluid proteome mediated signaling in the developing CNS
    Independent Position: Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital - Boston
  • Jason D. Shepherd, Ph.D.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Role of Arc in synaptic/experience-dependent plasticity in mouse visual cortex
    Independent Position: Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah
  • Jill C. Wildonger, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    Role of microtubule-based transport in neuronal polarity
    Independent Position: Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin Madison

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2009 – May 2010

  • Edward Chang, M.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    Neocortical Mechanisms of Categorical Speech Perception
    Independent Position: Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California - San Francisco
  • Joseph D. Dougherty, Ph.D.
    Rockefeller University
    Serotonin, Autism, and investigating cell types for CNS disorders
    Independent Position: Genetics Department, Washington University
  • Eun Jung Hwang, Ph.D.
    California Institute of Technology
    Top-Down vs Bottom-Up Information Flow in the Parietofrontal Network for Reaching
  • Toshi Kawate, Ph.D.
    National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program
    Structure/function of P2Xreceptors: ion access pathway and selectivity mechanism
    Independent Position: Department of Molecular Medicine, Cornell University
  • Mufeng Li, Ph.D.
    National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program
    Mechanism of Gating and Dynamic Selectivity of Trimeric Ion Channels Perception
  • Wenqin Luo, M.D., Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    Identification, Development and Function of Rapidly Adapting Mechanoreceptors
    Independent Position: Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
  • Jodi L. McBride, Ph.D.
    Oregon Health and Science University
    RNAi therapy for Huntingtons disease: safety & efficacy in the nonhuman primate
    Independent Position: Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Julie Siegenthaler, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    Forebrain angiogenesis in Foxc1mutant mice
    Independent Position: Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital - Denver
  • Vivek J. Srinivasan, Ph.D.
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Functional Optical Coherence Tomography for Imaging of Cortical Hemodynamics
    Independent Position: Department of Radiology, Harvard University
  • Joel L. Voss, Ph.D.
    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    Neural systems for the dynamic use of memory
    Independent Position: Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University
  • Xinnan Wang, Ph.D.
    Children's Hospital Boston
    Dys-regulation of Mitochondrial Motility in Parkinsonian Neurodegeneration
    Independent Position: Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University
  • Kareem A. Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D.
    University of Pennsylvania
    Neural Mechanisms of Reinforcement Learning in the Basal Ganglia
    Independent Position: Neurological Surgery, NINDS

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2008 – May 2009

  • Antoine Adamantidis, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Probing of Hypothalamic circuits in arousal using optogenetics
    Independent Position:
    Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal
  • Benjamin R. Arenkiel, Ph.D.
    Duke University
    Activity Influence on Adult-Born Neuron Circuit Integration
    Independent Position:
    Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Mark Beenhakker, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Enhanced excitation and epilepsy with chloride channel dysfunction
    Independent Position: Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia
  • David W. Colby, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    Detection and structural analysis of misfolded proteins causing neurodegeneration
    Independent Position: Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware
  • Janghoo Lim, Ph.D.
    Baylor College of Medicine
    The role of Nemo-like kinase in neurodegeneration
    Independent Position: Department of Genetics, Yale University
  • Mladen-Roko Rasin, M.D., Ph.D.
    Yale University
    Molecular Control of Corticospinal System Formation by Intermediate Targets
    Independent Position: Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Renee D. Read, Ph.D.
    Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    Revealing new regulators of EGFR-P13K driven glioma proliferation and migration
    Independent Position: Department of Pharmacology, Emory University
  • Daniel S. Reich, M.D., Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    Discovery of Functionally Relevant Imaging Biomarkers in Multiple Sclerosis
    Independent Position: Neuroimmunology Branch, NINDS
  • Luke R. Remage-Healey, Ph.D.
    University of California Los Angeles
    Modulation of forebrain circuits by local neurosteroid production
    Independent Position: Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Debra L. Silver, Ph.D.
    National Human Genome Research Institute
    Analysis of the Exon Junction Complex in Neural Development and Microcephaly
    Independent Position: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University
  • Justin W. Taraska, Ph.D.
    University of Washington
    Structural dynamics of the proteins involved in calcium-triggered exocytosis
    Independent Position: Biochemistry and Biophysics Center, NHLBI
  • Sokol Todi, Ph.D.
    University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
    Posttranslational Modification of Deubiquitinating Enzymes in Neurodegeneration
    Independent Position: Department of Pharmacology, Wayne State University
  • Huaye Zhang, Ph.D.
    University of Virginia Charlottesville
    The PAR-6/aPKC Polarity Complex in Synaptic Assembly and Function
    Independent Position: Department of  Neuroscience and Cell Biology , UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2007 – May 2008

  • Anthony Antonellis, Ph.D.
    National Human Genome Research Institute Intramural Program
    Genetic and genomic approaches for studying inherited peripheral neuropathies
    Independent Position: Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan
  • William B. Cafferty, Ph.D.
    Yale University
    Plasticity of intact circuits restores function after a spinal cord injury
    Independent Position: Department of Neurology, Yale University
  • Joanna Chiu, Ph.D.
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    The role of clock protein phosphorylation and degradation in circadian biology
    Independent Position: Department of Entomology, University of California Davis
  • C. Andrew Frank, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    How Ephexin Signaling Promotes Neuronal Stability
    Independent Position: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Iowa
  • Marc Halterman, M.D., Ph.D.
    University of Rochester
    Defining neurotherapeutic targets in hypoxia-induced CHOP-10 signaling networks
    Independent Position: Department of Neurology, University of Rochester
  • Hiroyuki Koizumi, Ph.D.
    University of California – San Diego
    Doublecortin: career development plan in the neurosciences
    Independent Position: Department of Cell Biology, Osaka Bioscience Institute
  • Takako Makita, Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    Role of endothelins in SCG axon guidance
    Independent Position: Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Kathleen O'Connor-Giles, Ph.D.
    University of Wisconsin Madison
    Regulation of synaptic growth and plasticity in Drosophila
    Independent Position: Department of Genetics, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Michael Orger, Ph.D.
    Harvard University
    Revealing neural circuits that control visually guided behavior
    Independent Position: Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Lisbon
  • Monica Perez, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program
    Intermanual transfer of learning in healthy and spinal cord injured individuals
    Independent Position: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh
  • David Prober, Ph.D.
    Harvard University
    Genetic analysis of sleep disorders in zebrafish
    Independent Position: Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology
  • Avital Rodal, Ph.D.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Structure and regulation of synaptic architecture
    Independent Position: Department of Biology, Brandeis University
  • Orie Shafer, Ph.D.
    Washington University
    Circuitry and Modulation of the Circardian Clock Network of D. melanogaster
    Independent Position: Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
  • Anastassios Tzingounis, Ph.D.
    University of California – San Francisco
    Molecular components of the calcium activated slow afterhyperpolarization
    Independent Position: Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut
  • Jiou Wang, Ph.D.
    Yale University
    Mechanism of SOD1-linked ALS studied in C elegans and mouse models
    Independent Position: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University

Plus Sign   Council Dates: October 2006 – May 2007

  • Adan Aguirre, Ph.D.
    Children's Research Institute
    A role for EGF receptor signaling in oligodendrocyte development and repair
    Independent Position: Department of Pharmacology, State University New York Stony Brook
  • Michael Baldwin, Ph.D.
    Medical College of Wisconsin
    Interaction of Botulinum neurotoxins with presynaptic receptor complexes
    Independent Position: Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Karen Chang, Ph.D.
    Indiana University
    Role of nebula/DSCR1 in mitochondria
    Independent Position: Department of Cell and Neurobiology, University of Southern California
  • Daniel Colon-Ramos, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Synaptic target selection in the thermotaxis neural circuit of C. elegans
    Independent Position: Department of Genetics, Yale University
  • Bianxiao Cui, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Imaging nerve growth factor signal transduction in live neurons
    Independent Position: Department of Chemistry, Stanford University
  • Matthew Gentry, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Diego
    Use of Novel Model Systems Link Floridean Starch Metabolism to Lafora Disease
    Independent Position: Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky
  • Edward Huey, M.D.
    National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program
    Investigation of the dopamine system in frontotemporal dementia
    Independent Position: Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, Columbia University  
  • Michaela Jansen, Ph.D.
    Yeshiva University
    Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Structure, Thermal Motion and Gating
    Independent Position: Department of Cellular Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Xiaoming Jin, Ph.D.
    Stanford University
    Excitatory and Inhibitory Synaptic Connectivity in Posttraumatic Epileptogenesis
    Independent Position: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Purdue University - Indianapolis
  • Fred Robinson, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Diego
    Roles of Myotubularin PI 3-phosphatases in Demyelinating Peripheral Neuropathy
    Independent Position: Department of Neurology, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Antonina Roll-Mecak, Ph.D.
    University of California - San Francisco
    Elucidation of the Biochemical Mechanism and In Vivo Functions of Spastin
    Independent Position: Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit, NINDS
  • Rodney Stewart, Ph.D.
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Neural Crest Cell Survival and Migration in Zebrafish
    Independent Position: Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah
  • Andrew West, Ph.D.
    Johns Hopkins University
    The Role of LRRK2 in the Pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease
    Independent Position: Department of Neurology, University of Alabama - Birmingham
  • Zhaolan Zhou, Ph.D.
    Children's Hospital Boston
    Neuronal Activity-dependent Regulation of MeCP2 Function
    Independent Position: Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania







Last updated November 25, 2014