A few exciting updates and notes:
BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting: Please join us June 15-17 at the virtual BRAIN Initiative Investigators meeting. The public is welcome to attend any or all talks, and there are many exciting presentations across a range of cutting-edge brain research topics. The Quantu Project's Dr. Amina Ann Qutub is presenting a research highlight talk on June 15th at 1:30 pm Central | 2:30 pm Eastern | 11:30 am Pacific. Registration is online here.
Music in the Air: Thanks to the Department of Music at UTSA, we are planning a study to test whether (and if so, how) learning an instrument can improve cognitive health. We plan to offer piano lessons to volunteers as early as Fall 2021. We'll reach out with more details later in summer - let us know whether you're interested.
We were very excited to see the initial results from the pilot 60-day exercise study that ended earlier this Spring. Thank you to all the participants and volunteers who are currently helping with cognitive assessments. A follow-up exercise study is also planned for 2022.
Connecting Nationally: Quantu Project Manager Jennifer Brethen helped UTSA and the Quantu Project connect with the National Institutes of Health-funded ResearchMatch program. This means new volunteers will soon be able to sign up for the Quantu Project through ResearchMatch and our project can more readily share findings with other scientists to advance science.
Growing Brain Models: We received a pilot grant from the Institute of Regenerative Medicine to accelerate development of our brain models in the lab in collaboration with Stem Cell Core Director Dr. Chris Navara. Brain models are derived from volunteers' blood samples. These living neural network models allow us to test theories as to how neurons can form, repair and regenerate as a function of the environment and an individual's behavior changes. Read more about the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at UTSA here.
Quantu Project Team members and Qutub Lab undergraduate researchers Sean Tritley and Ash Sathish graduated with honors this May, with degrees in Biomedical Engineering! Sean will be joining the Qutub Lab as a doctoral student, working on a brain modeling project in collaboration with the Brey Lab at UTSA. He already won several prestigious fellowships entering his graduate career. Ash heads to Florida this summer to start work with Thermo Fisher Scientific as a quality control engineer. Ash's senior design team also won 2nd place in the CITE Competition this Spring, in no small part because of Ash's work in the lab. We'll miss you, Ash and wish you the best! Congratulations to both Sean and Ash!
Welcome Summer Interns: We're welcoming two summer interns starting June 1 through the National Science Foundation BrAVE program, Janani Balaji from University of California, Berkeley and Camilo Londono from Georgia Tech. Quantu Project Team member Tomisin Adebayo (also a BrAVE fellowship awardee) and biomedical engineer Grace Polston will also be joining us this summer to work on computer modeling and experiments. Welcome all!