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Institute for Translational Neuroscience News and Events

Learn about upcoming events and recent news from Saint Louis University's Institute for Translational Neuroscience.

Meet our Executive Leadership

Saint Louis University Institute to Advance Neuroscience

Meet our Executive Leadership Team of the Institute

Our ITN Executive Leadership Team Meets to discuss our progress

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Wednesday, 4/24: SYNAPSES Spring Event 

The Institute for Translational Neuroscience is happy to announce our new SYNAPSES panel discussion, which will allow for communication and discussion about the newest advances and technologies in neuroscience research. A “synapse” is a structure that permits a neuron (or nerve cell) to communicate with another neuron by transmission of information and signals.

Our third SYNAPSES panel discussion will be at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2024. The event will be in person at the Sinquefield Room (R409), DuBourg Hall at Saint Louis University.  The discussion topic will be “The use of gene therapies in neurological diseases”. There will be a light reception following the event to facilitate more conversations on the topics and networking.

Our panelists include: 

Jonathan Cooper, Ph.D.
Professor; Pediatrics, Genetics, and Neurology
Pediatric Storage Disorders
Washington University School of Medicine

Jason Eberl, Ph.D.
Chair; Health Care Ethics
Professor; Health Care Ethics and Philosophy
Director; Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics
Saint Louis University

Patricia Dickson, M.D.
Centennial Professor; Pediatrics
Chief; Genetics and Genomic Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine

RSVP to attend this free event. To register, click here. Everyone is welcome to attend! 

ITN Committees

Do you want to join a committee, contact a member of our committees, or have a question on how to be more involved with all things ITN? Check out our line up below- 

  • Executive Leadership Team: 
    • Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. (Chair)
      • Silviya Zustiak, Ph.D. (Associate Chair)
      • George Grossberg, M.D.
      • Rick Samson, Ph.D.
      • Tony Buschanan, Ph.D.
      • Jafar Kafaie, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Research Committee:
    • Susan Farr, Ph.D. (Chair)
      • Aubin Moutal, Ph.D. (Co-Chair)
      • Philippe Mercier, M.D., Ph.D.
      • John Walker, Ph.D.
      • Fenglian Xu, Ph.D.
      • Yuna Ayala, Ph.D.
  • Education & Student-Postdoctoral: 
    • Mark Knuepfer, Ph.D. (Chair)
      • Tim Doyle, Ph.D.
    • Stephanie Michalski, Ph.D. (Chair)
Salvemini Lab Welcomes New Member

Janaíne Prata de Oliveira, Ph.D., will join Daniela Salvemini’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2024. Janaíne received her Ph.D in pharmacology from the University of São Paulo, Brazil under the mentoring of Professor Soraia Costa, Ph.D. During her Ph.D., she developed a new model of orofacial pain induced by occlusal trauma, explored molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in pain transduction and identified novel therapeutics based on hydrogen sulfide-releasing derivative of NSAIDs. Janaíne also spent a year as a visiting researcher at the University of KU Leuven in Belgium under the mentorship of Professor Alexandre Denadai, Ph.D., in the hepatology division. During her period in Belgium, she explored the protective effects of various drugs in the intestinal barrier using human intestinal organoids and intestinal epithelial cells. She has broad experience in pain mechanisms, in vivo pharmacology, imaging, and RNA-sequencing analysis. Her research interests consist of investigating new pharmacological treatments for neuropathic pain and their impact on neuroimmune interactions. Dr Janaíne Prata de Oliveira, Ph.D., to join Dr Salvemini’s lab

Newly awarded  President Research Fund

Vincenza Cifarelli, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology has been awarded a President Research Fund (PRF) of $50,000.00. The grant titled, "Determining the role of a novel E3 ligase Ube4A in intestinal function and IBD" will allow Cifarelli along with Anutosh Chakraborty, Ph.D., associate professor also in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, to decipher mechanisms by which the Ube4A protein regulates intestinal function and disease. The project will utilize new mouse models and various cutting-edge tools to define novel mechanisms that cause intestinal diseases and may offer new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis.

Tenure-Track Assistant/Associate Professor Department of Pharmacology & Physiology

The Saint Louis University Department of Pharmacology and Physiology seeks highly motivated investigators at the assistant/associate professor level within the tenure track. The search is part of a four-year cluster hiring process to grow pain research. The Department of Pharmacology and Physiology is a vibrant, dynamic, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative department that offers access to excellent core facilities and opportunities to join collaborative centers including the Institute for Translational Neuroscience and Institute for Drug and Biotherapeutic Innovation, the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, the Vaccine Center and the Liver Center. Members of our community have access to the nationally acclaimed Cortex Innovation Community, to multiple local startup-supporting institutions and to the fast-growing, cutting-edge medical and biotechnology community which operates actively throughout the St. Louis region. Candidates involved in related disciplines with a focus on pain, such as drug discovery, structural biology and chemical biology are strongly encouraged to apply. The requisition number is 2023-07662.

Apply Here

Welcome Juliana M. Navia Pelaez, Ph.D. to Saint Louis University

Juliana Navia Pelaez, Ph.D. joined the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, on Feb. 1, 2024, as assistant professor (TT). Navia Pelaez completed her graduate studies in vascular biology at UFMG, Brazil, focusing on cellular responses to oxidized lipids. Subsequently, she pursued postdoctoral training in pain and metabolism at the University of California, San Diego, under the dual mentorship of Tony Yaksh (vice chair for research in anesthesiology and Distinguished Professor in Anesthesiology and Pharmacology) and Yury Miller (M.D., Ph.D.; professor of medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism). As a postdoc, her findings, which revealed increased lipid rafts and intracellular lipid storage in microglia and neurons, contributed to the growing knowledge linking dysregulated lipid metabolism to hypersensitivity and pain states. Now, she is set to lead a new laboratory at SLU in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, dedicated to understanding how lipid metabolism influences pain states and susceptibility to chronic pain. Her research will primarily investigate immuno-metabolic changes and the related transcriptional regulation underlying chronic pain development. Leveraging diverse animal models of chronic pain and advanced omics and biochemistry tools, her lab will explore neuroimmune interactions, cellular reprogramming, and metabolic shifts across various cell types involved in nociceptive pathways, particularly macrophages and microglia. The lab aims to discover early pain biomarkers and uncover new pathways and potential therapeutic targets for treating various chronic pain conditions.

ITN Promotional Video

The SLU Research Institute has produced a new video promoting ITN. If this one slipped by you, take some time to check it out and share with your friends, colleagues and social networks.

ITN Director Elected for New Director position on the Board of the United States Association for the Study of Pain
Recent Dr. Salvemini Image

Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D., William Beaumont Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology and Director of the Institute for Translational Neuroscience, was elected for a Director position on the Board of the United States Association for the Study of Pain, (USAPS). Congratulations!