Great news! Eleni has received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) K01 Career Development Award, for her proposal titled “Deciphering aging-driven cognitive decline in C. elegans spatial memory and learning through an interdisciplinary approach”. The funds will be provided through the National Institute of Aging (NIA), with a 5-year budget.
This prestigious and highly competitive K01 award is designed to support early career tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty, committed to research, in need of both advanced research training and additional experience.
Eleni will use these funds to work on aging-driven decline of spatial cognitive behaviors. C. elegans nematode is an exemplary model organism in both biology of aging and neurobiology. Cognitive behaviors (memory, learning, information processing and decision making) are being steadily clarified using C. elegans worms, but still little is known about the nematodes’ spatial navigation and learning. Eleni is using C. elegans as a model system to better understand aging-driven cognitive decline and its mechanisms, many of which are evolutionarily conserved in higher organisms, including humans. K01-related research includes two research thrusts, one experimental and one computational. Thus, by combining experimental and computational efforts, Eleni aims to identify “aging hubs” in the cognition-related neuronal networks.
To achieve the award’s aims, Eleni will collaborate with faculty from University of Michigan Medical School (Allen Hsu, Scott Pletcher), Mechanical Engineering Department (Bogdan Epureanu), Department of Mathematics (Victoria Booth), and Life Sciences Institute (Shawn Xu), and with faculty from Wayne State University, Detroit (Joy Alcedo).