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Description

Welcome to the UTEP Neuroscience community! Our goal is to foster interaction among our members and serve as a resource for others. We are collaborative and interdisciplinary researchers hailing from multiple departments and programs across several UTEP colleges (Engineering, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Science). We use a wide range of experimental models and methodologies to understand the genetic, biological, environmental, and social factors that affect neurological functions and that contribute to various dysfunctions in neural systems. In addition, our basic and translational research programs support undergraduate and graduate training, preparing students for careers in research, medical and biomedical fields, education and healthcare. Our projects are highly relevant to our U.S./Mexico border community, and address critical concerns of the Hispanics representing a major ethnic population in the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez region.

Aspirations

The goal of the UTEP Neuroscience community is to contribute to the health and education of El Paso and the border region by improving minority health and eliminating health disparities. In particular, neuroscience research at UTEP aims to develop prevention and treatment strategies for brain disorders relevant to border health through rigorous collaborative science. Such disorders include dementia, substance abuse and addiction, obesity, diabetes, and associated mental illness. For the task, neuroscience research projects focus on basic molecular, cellular, synaptic and neural processes regulating cognition, motivational behavior, motor functions, and behavioral plasticity, and their pathological processes leading to the disorders.

KEYWORDS

  1. Behavioral disinhibition
  2. CRF
  3. Dopamine
  4. Feeding
  5. Glycine
  6. Learning
  7. Membrane trafficking
  8. Memory
  9. Motivation
  10. neural circuits
  11. Neuromodulation
  12. Neuropeptides
  13. Octopamine
  14. plasticity
  15. Sensory gating
  16. Sexual dimorphism

UTEP STRATEGIC AREAS

  1. Biotechnology & Nanotechnology
  2. Cross-cutting: Emerging Technologies
  3. Health and Biomedical Sciences and Engineering

COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Han, Kyung-An
Advocate
Associate Professor
Science - Biological Sciences
ADHD, alcohol abuse, Alzheimer's disease, attention, autism, behavior, behavioral plasticity, conditioning, dementia, disinhibition, dopamine, Drosophila, fruit fly, genetics, impulsivity, inhibitory control, learning, memory, monoamines, motivation, neural circuit, octopamine, ovulation, Parkinson's disease, plasticity, reproduction, TBI

Khan, Arshad
Advocate
Associate Professor
Science - Biological Sciences
feeding control systems, functional neuroanatomy, glucosensing networks, hypothalamic function, systems neuroscience

Professor
Engineering - Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering (MMBME)
biomaterials, inkjet printing, tissue engineering

Assistant Professor
Health Sciences - Kinesiology
Human-Computer Interaction, Limb Coordination, Motor Control, Speed-Accuracy Trade-Offs

Professor
Liberal Arts - Psychology
behavioral and neural plasticity, dopamine, drug addiction, in vivo intracerebral microdialysis, movement disorder, neuroscience

Related Efforts

Neuromodulation Disorders (NMD) Cluster in Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC)

The Center supports neuroscience research through multiple mechanisms including pilot grants, administrative support and seven core labs [Genomic Analysis (sequencing, qPCR, oligonucleotide synthesis, etc.), Cytometry/screening/imaging (cell sorting, confocal microscopy, etc.), Cytology (EM), Biomolecule (proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, etc.), Bioinformatics, Statistical Lab, and Community Engagement cores].

Vulnerability Issue in Drug Abuse (VIDA) Project
Funding: NIH/NIDA 5 R24 DA029989
Contact: Eddie Castañeda

The Project is aimed at the development of a university-wide, cross-disciplinary drug abuse and research training program that is tailored toward students and faculty members interested in a career in drug abuse research, especially those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and communities.

SMART-MIND (Summer Mentoring and Research Training program in Methods in the Neuroscience of Drug-addiction)
Funding: NIH/NIDA

This REU summer program will provide a cohort of participants with a high quality experience that combines education, novel research in state-of-the-art facilities, training in bioethics, one-on-one and group mentoring, and training in other relevant professional skills.
Contact: smartmind@utep.edu

Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center (HHDRC)
Funding: NIH/NIMHD

The HHDRC is an ongoing collaboration partnering the best educational institutions; UTEP College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and The University of Texas School of Public Health (UT-SPH), west Texas has to offer in terms of Hispanic health disparities research. This successful collaboration has led to a multidisciplinary approach in seeking new and better ways in understanding and helping to eliminate disparities among our rapidly growing Hispanic population.
Contact: barias@utep.edu

Electrophysiological techniques and approaches
Tool
Karine Fenelon

Dr. Fenelon’s research focuses on the neuronal circuits and cellular mechanisms underlying sensorimotor gating which is an ensemble of neurological processes that allows humans and animals to filter out irrelevant information and help to focus attention. Better understanding sensorimotor gating is crucial because it is impaired in many psychiatric and neurological diseases. Techniques used include acute mouse brain slices, electrophysiology (patch clamp and field recordings) and Optogenetics.

Novel techniques in optical microscopy
Tool
Chunqiang Li

Dr. Li’s laboratory develops innovative optical imaging modalities for various applications. Currently we have a two-photon fluorescence microscope for live virus, cells and animal imaging. We are also developing nonlinear optical spectroscopic methods for organic solar cell and petroleum catalysis characterization.

Biomolecule Analysis Core Facility
Service

The BACF specializes in the separation and characterization of biomolecules and is available to all UTEP users and external collaborators. Most instruments are accessible as shared-resources at no charge for the users. Service is also provided for sequencing and identification of proteins and peptides using LC/MS-MS on a recharge basis.

CSI Core Facility
Service
Renato Aguilera

The CSI (Cytometry, Screening and Imaging) Core Facility is a comprehensive research cell-culturing and cytometry facility, located on UTEP main campus. The facility provides investigators, students and other researchers with “State-of-the-Art” technology to conduct cell-based experiments with modern equipment including fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS; analyzer and sorter), CSI bioimager, automated pipette system and two confocal microscopes.

DIALOG SOURCES

I3 Move Communities provide a way to share expertise, resources, and community information to the general public. There are numerous tools available, both open source and proprietary, for engaging in dialog and sharing information and knowledge within a closed group.

Communities have access to IBM SmartCloud, a tool that provides a Cloud Computing solution for sharing files, defining activities, creating blogs, developing wikis, and promoting ideas. To request an account and training on IBM SmartCloud, contact econnect@utep.edu.

This community engages in dialog as follows:

Neuroscience Community Online Collaboration Tool