Delaware State University's Neuroscience Research Program has been awarded a three-year grant worth more than $400,000 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The grant is an Academic Research Enhancement Award that will fund DSU’s research into the development of spinal motor neurons; the nerve cells that drive contractions of skeletal muscle.
Dr. Melissa Harrington, DSU professor of biological sciences and director of the joint DSU/UD Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, is the principal investigator of the research grant. Harrington’s lab will use electrophysiology to measure the activity of motor neurons and confocal imaging to visualize motor neuron synapses. These experiments will help determine what neurotransmitter is released at synapses formed by motor neurons on other neurons, and investigate how contact with muscle cells and the formation of neuro-muscular junctions influence which neurotransmitter is released.
This research will build on previous published work by Harrington’s lab concerning motor neurons.