AKN VP Prof. Jung A Woo receives SfN Career Development Award

  • October 31, 2023 at 2:40 am #1874
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      Embargoed until: Monday, October 30, 9:00 a.m. EST Contact: media@sfn.org

      Society for Neuroscience 2023 Promotion of Women in Neuroscience Awards

      WASHINGTON – The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will honor six researchers who have made
      significant contributions to the advancement of women in neuroscience. The awards will be
      presented during Neuroscience 2023, SfN’s annual meeting.
      “SfN proudly recognizes these neuroscientists for their outstanding scientific achievements and
      efforts to support other researchers,” said SfN President Oswald Steward. “Their dedication to
      scientific excellence and inclusion of women along the length of the research pipeline results in
      a stronger, more relevant field of neuroscience.”

      Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development: Caroline Robertson and JungA “Alexa” Woo

      The Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award promotes successful academic
      transitions prior to tenure by recognizing early‐career professionals who have demonstrated
      originality and creativity in their research. The award is supported by the Trubatch Family and
      includes a $2,000 prize.
      One of this year’s awardees is Caroline Robertson, whose research helps us understand how
      people perceive and remember the visual world, and reveals new pathways for understanding,
      diagnosing, and treating autism. As a PhD student, she worked jointly at the National Institutes
      of Health in Washington, D.C., and the University of Cambridge in England. She showed that
      known challenges in the neural integration of visual information in people with autism may
      arise from degraded sensory information in the early stages of visual processing. As a
      postdoctoral fellow at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she found a link between the
      neurotransmitter GABA and atypical perception abilities in autistic people, potentially revealing
      a biomarker for the condition. Now as an assistant professor at Dartmouth College in New
      Hampshire, she is studying how people perceive and remember visual environments. By using
      virtual reality headsets modified to track the user’s central gaze, she has shown that most of us
      have sharp spatial limits in perceptual awareness in our peripheral vision. In separate
      experiments using fMRI, she has identified distinct brain networks for scene perception and
      memory, offering a new understanding of how we link our ongoing perceptual experience with
      our memory of the surrounding environment and memory-guided visual behaviors, including

      The second awardee of the 2023 Trubatch award is JungA “Alexa” Woo, whose career
      demonstrates a steadfast commitment to understanding and treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
      and other neurodegenerative diseases. AD is believed to be caused by abnormal levels of two
      proteins in the brain: amyloid beta, which forms sticky plaques around brain cells, and tau
      proteins, which form fibrous tangles inside the cells. Throughout her graduate studies,
      postdoctoral work, and time as an assistant professor at the University of South Florida School

      of Medicine, Woo has delved into the complex network of structural and signaling proteins
      influencing neurodegeneration. She has particularly focused on the roles of G protein-coupled
      receptors and beta-arrestins in tauopathy, unveiling insights that are expected to aid future
      research and treatment methods. In her current role as an assistant professor at Case Western
      Reserve in Ohio, Woo identified a potential explanation for the observed gender disparities in
      AD prevalence. AD affects women more than men, with women accumulating more tau protein
      in their brain cells over their lifetimes. Woo revealed that an enzyme that slows down the
      healthy recycling of tau proteins is far more abundant in women than men and is highly
      abundant in brains from AD patients. Mouse studies suggest that using a drug to block the
      activity of this enzyme could one day lead to a treatment.

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