Mubarak Hussain Syed, assistant professor of Biology and head of the Syed Neural Diversity Lab at The University of New Mexico, has been named a 2023 Young Investigator grantee by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. This year’s funding will support 150 promising early-career scientists across the field of neuropsychiatry with innovative ideas in mental health research. The two-year grant is expected to provide up to $70,000 per recipient.
“The grant support will help us better understand the genetic and developmental principles of brain development,” Syed said. “In particular, to investigate how steroid hormone ecdysone regulates the development of sleep-wake circuits in fruit flies. Many neurodevelopmental disorders have comorbid sleep defects, and investigating the developmental mechanism of sleep circuit development might also provide insights into understanding and the treatment of sleep disorders.”
Syed said the research is driven by graduate and undergraduate researchers who all benefit from this award.
“We investigate the development of neural circuits and behaviors with the aim of unraveling the fundamental principles of brain development, which will eventually help us understand and treat brain disorders. To fix a machine, we need first to understand its individual components and how these components are put together to make a functional machine. We are doing this in our research program using tiny fruit fly brains.”
Syed encourages interested students to contact him.
“There are plenty of opportunities to be part of our exciting research program at UNM; please get in touch if you are interested in bugs, brains, and intelligent machines.”
Syed and his team in the Neural Diversity Lab investigate the genetic and molecular mechanics regulating neural diversity, from stem cells to neural circuits. The findings will help uncover the fundamental principles of nervous system development and potentially understand and treat neurodevelopmental disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, ADHD, and autism.