NRI researchers receive awards for their contributions to neuroscience research

June 19, 2018

Dr. Zhandong Liu, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine and researcher at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s has received a distinguished service award from the International Association for Intelligent Biology and Medicine (IAIBM).

As a non-profit organization, the IAIBM’s mission is to promote bioinformatics, systems biology and intelligent computing among scientists of diverse backgrounds through discussion, network communication, collaborations and education.

The Liu laboratory has developed many new software tools (e.g. MARRVEL and CRISPRcloud) that have helped biomedical scientists analyze complex bioinformatics data faster and with ease. In addition, Liu’s collaborations with neuroscientists have led to many important biological discoveries that have far-reaching implications for various neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Mingshan Xue, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and a researcher with the NRI at Texas Children’s has been awarded the prestigious 2018 McKnight Scholar Award.

The McKnight Scholar Awards are granted to young scientists who are in the early stages of establishing their own independent laboratories and research careers and who have demonstrated a commitment to neuroscience.

Out of 64 applicants, Xue was one of six awardees. The recipients were chosen for their creativity, technological, precise and rigorous new approaches to overcome barriers in answering long-standing neuroscience questions.

The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience is an independent organization funded solely by the McKnight Foundation of Minneapolis, Minn., and led by a board of prominent neuroscientists from around the country. Each of the six McKnight Scholar Award recipients receives $75,000 per year for three years.

Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao, a child neurologist and postdoctoral researcher at the NRI, has been awarded the highly-competitive 2018 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. The main goals of this fund are to help early-stage scientists develop into independent scientists and to advance undervalued areas of basic biomedical research. To fulfill that mission, the Career Award for Medical Scientists provides $700,000 of research funding spread over five years to physician-scientists who are currently receiving advanced postdoctoral/fellowship training. This award is intended to help physician-scientists embark on independent academic careers.

Chao, who is also an instructor in the department of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, associate program director of the child neurology residency program and clinical child neurologist, is one of the 13 physician-scientists from leading academic institutions in the US to receive this honor in 2018. This award will help Chao establish an independent research program to understand the mechanisms underlying transcriptional dysregulation of inhibitory signaling pathways in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders.

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