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Bi-campus effort to boost neuroscience research

Joseph Steinmetz

The interdisciplinary field of neuroscience, which involves the study of the brain and nervous system, is one of the most rapidly developing and expanding areas of research in the biosciences.†KU plans to further develop and expand its presence in the neurosciences through a bi-campus effort to enhance neuroscience research and education in Lawrence and at the KU Medical Center.

Joseph Steinmetz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been appointed to serve as coordinator of neurosciences until the search for a permanent director is completed.†Steinmetz will chair a coordinating committee consisting of researchers and administrators from the medical center and Lawrence campuses.†The committee will coordinate all neuroscience efforts, define the vision of a bi-campus center for neuroscience and work to develop collaborations inside and outside of KU.

"Joe is an internationally renowned neuroscientist and brings exciting new research capability to KU in addition to his exemplary administrative skills," said Richard W. Lariviere, provost and executive vice chancellor.†"This is an exciting time to be at KU as we begin the task of developing the next bi-campus research thrust."

For the past 25 years, Steinmetz has studied how the brain is involved in learning and memory.†He has two lines of NIH-funded research under way at KU. In one series of experiments, Steinmetz developed an animal model of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and studies how prenatal exposure to high levels of alcohol affects brain development and brain activity related to learning.†In a second series of studies, he is exploring the involvement of the cerebellum in schizophrenia.

Through research in laboratories and clinical trials, enhancement of the neuroscience research will provide new basic information about the functioning of the brain and nervous system and also contribute to treating and curing such disorders as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, mental retardation and other learning disabilities, mental illnesses, alcoholism and other substance abuse problems, and other disabilities due to disorders of the nervous system.

Also among the neuroscience research taking place at KU is work in disciplines such as anatomy and cell biology, human development, medicinal chemistry, molecular and integrative physiology, molecular biosciences, occupational therapy, otolaryngology, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology, experimental therapeutics, psychology and speech, language and hearing.

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