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Center for Neuroscience News and Events

Learn about upcoming events and recent news from Saint Louis University's Henry and Amelia Nasrallah Center for Neuroscience. 


2020 Center Meeting Schedule

  • February 7, 2020: 3-4 p.m. in the Allied Health Building, Multi-Purpose Room (Third floor) with networking reception to follow until 5 p.m.

  • May 29, 2020:   3-4 p.m. in the Allied Health Building, Multi-Purpose Room (Third floor) with networking reception to follow until 5 p.m. 

  • August 21, 2020:  3-4 p.m. in the Allied Health Building, Multi-Purpose Room (Third floor) with networking reception to follow until 5 p.m.  

  • December 4, 2020:  3-4 p.m. with reception to follow. Location to be determined. 


  • David H. Gutmann, M.D., Ph.D., FAAN, Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor, Department of Neurology, Vice Chair for Research Affairs, Director of Neurofibromatosis Center at Washington University - School of Medicine will present, " Immunology of Brain Tumors" on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 from 3-4 p.m. in Schwitalla Lecture Hall #3.

News and Awards

  • SLU Researchers Target Bootheel Health Disparity
    SLU's Elizabeth Baker, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education, and Carissa van den Berk-Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of Family and Community Medicine, and their community partner will receive $350,000 over the next three years from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to improve the health of rural Missourians.
  • SLU's Raymond Tait to Receive Science Leadership Award from the Academy of Science - St. Louis
    Long-time SLU School of Medicine faculty member Raymond C. Tait, Ph.D., will receive one of the Academy of Science-St. Louis’ most prestigious recognitions – the Science Leadership Award – on Thursday, April 2. Tait is interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and interim administrative director of Saint Louis University Cancer Center.
  • ASPET is pleased to award Dr. Daniela Salvemini from Saint Louis University School of Medicine the 2020 Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics. The Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics recognizes and stimulates outstanding research in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, basic laboratory or clinical research that has had, or potentially will have, a major impact on the pharmacological treatment of disease.
  • Saint Louis University’s Daniela Salvemini Honored for Pain Discoveries  -  Researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and physiology at Saint Louis University, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for her contributions toward understanding and finding better treatments for pain. Fellows of the NAI are academic inventors who have made a significant difference in the quality of life in society.
  • Dr. Whitney Postman and Dr. Yan Gai have received a $75,000 award from SLU's Research Growth Fund (Second Cycle)! Their funded project is entitled "Real-Time Ultrasound Intra-Oral Visual Feedback For Adult Acquired Or Degenerative Motor-Speech Disorders". This fund will provide Dr. Postman and Dr. Gai with $75,000 dollars over 2 years to conduct their research. Dr. Postman's Neuro-Rehabilitation of Language Lab has already purchased a research-grade ultrasound system thanks to a donation from a grateful patient.
    Below is a summary of their proposal:
    "Motor-speech disorders are impairments of planning and programming of speech articulation movements (apraxia) or neuromuscular speech disorders (dysarthria). Caused by conditions such as stroke and neurodegeneration, they entail considerable cognitive and social-emotional tolls on patients and caregivers, and may drastically impact patient safety. Treatment of motor-speech disorders is complicated by the “muscular hydrostat” formed by the tongue’s eight intertwined muscles that can lengthen, contract and propel laterally or vertically, and also groove, curl, bunch and flatten. Lingual movements are performed with speed on the order of milliseconds and precision on the order of millimeters. Because they occur automatically, effortlessly, and mainly inside the oropharyngeal tract, their complexity is invisible and underestimated. Consequently, patients with motor-speech disorders may not appreciate target lingual postures and configurations for speech, and clinicians must guess precise sources of speech errors. The remediation of childhood (developmental) speech disorders has been revolutionized by recent research on ultrasound feedback to visualize lingual movements during speech production. Yet to date, only one case report has been published on the feasibility of ultrasound treatment for an adult acquired motor-speech disorder. With a generous donation to Dr. Postman’s Neuro-Rehabilitation of Language Laboratory from a grateful patient with apraxia secondary to stroke, Dr. Postman has invested in an ultrasound visual feedback system, to address the research gap on effectiveness of this treatment for adult motor-speech disorders. In collaboration with Dr. Yan Gai’s Neuroengineering Laboratory, we hypothesize that this patient and other cases would benefit from real-time views of their otherwise invisible lingual postures and configurations during speech production. The rationale is that ultrasound visual feedback provides knowledge of performance, specifically knowledge of lingual movements coupled with the acoustic speech signal, thus enhancing patients’ connections between intended motor plans and executed movements. These connections allow for direct comparison of intended and actual movements for specific speech sounds, and offer clinically relevant information for guiding patients’ tongue positions and shapes."
postman award
Rick Samson, Ph.D., D.Sc., has been elected the 33rd president of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviors.
  • Willis K. “Rick” Samson Ph.D. D.Sc. has been elected by the members of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviors as the society’s 33rd president. The society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to advancing scientific research on food and fluid intake and its associated biological, psychological and social processes.

    The society provides a multidisciplinary environment for the free exchange of ideas and information, and serves as a resource for scientific expertise and education on topics related to the study of ingestive behavior. SSIB is the world’s largest professional organization focused upon the social, environmental, biological and pathological aspects of ingestive behaviors.

    Dr. Samson will begin his term as president elect at the 2019 SSIB meeting in Utrecht, The Netherlands and be installed as president in 2020 at the society’s meeting in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Samson is a professor of pharmacology and physiology and director of graduate programs in biomedical science at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He is an internationally known expert on the hypothalamic control of metabolism, cardiovascular function and appetitive behaviors.

  • Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D., professor of pharmacological and physiological science, has received a $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate a pain signaling pathway that could open up a new avenue for pain medication research. Salvemini will collaborate with SLU's Gina Yosten, associate professor of pharmacological and physiological science.

  • Gina L.C. Yosten, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine has been selected by Society President, Dr. Ruth Harris, to deliver the Presidental Lecture at the 27th annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviors in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Dr. Yosten will speak on “Novel Islet Peptides and Hypoglycemia Unawareness: Insulin and Eating Disorders.”
  • Whitney Postman, Ph.D., from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, was named a Memory Care Home Solutions' 2019 Mission Champion at its eighth annual "Swing Into Spring" event May 2. Memory Care Home Solutions is serves as a source for the recruitment of participants in SLU-based research on cognitive decline or in the enlistment of expert consultants who are on the front lines of providing first-rate care to people living with dementia. The award was given in recognition of the partnership between Memory Care Home Solutions and Dr. Postman as a representative of Saint Louis University's Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program to serve local residents living with dementia and, in particular, low-income African American elders through the "Senior Social Group For Brain Health As We Age" in The Ville neighborhood of North St. Louis.
  • A paper from the lab of Andrew Butler, Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology & Physiology Sciences) entitled "Low plasma adropin concentrations increase risks of weight gain and metabolic dysregulation in response to a high-sugar diet in male nonhuman primates" was selected as "Editor's Pick" by the Journal of Biological Chemistry. About 50 to 100 papers are selected from the more than 6,600 published each year. The paper will be published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  • The SLU Newsroom recently released an article on the current progress being made by SLU researchers, including Dr. Daniela Salvemini from the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, and others of our members, on the crucial topic of neuropathic pain and the search for non-narcotic based therapies.

Recent Publications

  • Chen Z, Doyle TM,Luongo L, Largent-Milnes TM, Giancotti LA, Kolar G, Squillace S, Boccella S,  Walker JK, Pendleton A, Spiegel S, Neumann WL, Vanderah TW and Salvemini D. Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 activation in astrocytes contributes to neuropathic pain. PNAS. May 21;116(21):10557-10562.

  • Coppi E, Cherchi F, Fusco I, Failli P, Vona A, Dettori I, Gaviano L, Lucarini E, Jacobson KA, Tosh DK,  Salvemini D., Ghelardini C, Pedata F, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Pugliese AM. Adenosine A3 receptor activation inhibits pronociceptive N-type Ca2+ currents and cell excitability in dorsal root ganglion neurons. Pain. 2019 May;160(5):1103-1118.

  • Doyle TM, Chen Z, Durante M, Salvemini D. (2019). Activation of Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptor 1 in the Spinal Cord Produces Mechanohypersensitivity Through the Activation of Inflammasome and IL-1β Pathway. J Pain. 2019 Feb 23. pii: S1526-5900(18)30585-6.

  • Dorsey SG, Kleckner IR, Barton D, Mustian K, O'Mara A, St Germain D, Cavaletti G, Danhauer SC, Hershman D, Hohmann AG, Hoke A, Hopkins JO, Kelly KP, Loprinzi CL, McLeod HL, Mohile S, Paice J, Rowland JH, Salvemini D, Segal RA, Lavoie Smith E, McCaskill Stevens W, Janelsins MC. (2019). NCI Clinical Trials Planning Meeting for prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2019. Jan 31. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djz011. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Stockstill K, Doyle TM, Yan X, Chen Z, Janes K, Little JW, Braden K, Lauro F, Giancotti LA, Harada CM, Yadav R, Xiao WH, Lionberger JM, Neumann WL, Bennett GJ, Weng HR, Spiegel S, Salvemini D. Dysregulation of sphingolipid metabolism contributes to bortezomib-induced neuropathic pain. J Exp Med. 2018 May 7;215:1301-1313.


2019 President's Research Fund AwardeesThe faculty who are members of the Center for Neuroscience are highly respected and celebrated individuals. Below is a brief selection of recent awards these faculty have received.

  • Anutosh Chakraborty, Ph.D., Pharmacological and Physiological Science
  • Sergey Korolev, Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Daniel Hawiger, M.D., Ph.D., Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • Jinsong Zhang, Ph.D., Pharmacological and Physiological Science

2019 Scholarly Works Award

  • Dr. Sergey Korolev, Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 

2019 Senior Faculty Grantwinner Award

  • Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D., Pharmacological and Physiological Science

2019 Thomas C. Westfall Fellowship Award

westfall award

Kathryn Braden-McInerney, graduate student in Dr. Salvemini's Lab