KSU Partner at Research Forum

Michael Lehman, Ph.D., the director of the Brain Health Research Institute at Kent State University, will speak at NEOMED’s Research Forum on Tuesday, April 30, at Cook Alumni Hall – the latest in the quarterly events to keep the whole NEOMED community up to date on research initiatives at the University.

Jeff Wenstrup, Ph.D., professor and chair of anatomy and neurobiology, has been involved in the developing collaboration between Kent State and NEOMED. We asked him to provide a little background.  

How did the Brain Health Research Institute come about?

Kent State University founded the BHRI to develop and expand its strength in the neurosciences.

For many years, KSU’s strength in graduate education in the neurosciences stemmed in part from NEOMED faculty who held/hold graduate faculty appointments in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Kent.  At NEOMED, the strengths in neuroscience currently lie in two of NEOMED’s research focus areas: the Hearing Research and Neurodegenerative Disease and Aging mostly housed within the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (COM) and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (COP).

NEOMED, together with Kent State and other local universities, supports a local Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Does “collaboration” mean that researchers are actually standing side by side in labs (at NEOMED or at KSU)?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the most valuable aspect of this is the ability to provide different expertise on projects in order to produce better and more interesting science. There are many such collaborations between NEOMED and KSU neuroscience faculty.

For just a couple of examples, my lab benefits from hormone assays performed by Kent State labs. And Merri Rosen, Ph.D., is collaborating with Julia Huyck, Ph.D. (an assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology at Kent State) on the early development of hearing and how stress affects this.

What do you anticipate that collaborating with this institute will do to leverage NEOMED’s efforts?

Dr. Lehman brings to his new role a desire to work closely with NEOMED and other partners to strengthen research into the function of the healthy brain. So, he has requested that NEOMED neuroscientists serve on the BHRI steering committee (Dr. Wenstrup) and executive committee (Dr. Rosen). We look forward to working with the BHRI to develop scientific collaborations and to strengthen and expand graduate and undergraduate training.

With greater strength in neuroscience across universities and the opportunity to collaborate on faculty hires, we hope to attract outstanding researchers who will benefit the entire program. Finally, we anticipate that a key benefit will be greater outreach to inform the people of Northeast Ohio of the exciting research being done by both universities to improve brain health.

All are welcome to come and learn more on April 30.  Doors to Cook Alumni Hall will open at 4 p.m. for socializing and refreshments. Dr. Lehman will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m.

No registration is required.

Questions? Contact Nona Hose at 330.325.6499.

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