The 2017 Strongwater Endowed Chair Lecture was held on May 5th, 2017

More than 100 faculty, post-doc, students and staff from Rutgers, Kessler & Princeton attended the 2017 Charlotte & Murray Strongwater Endowed Lecture. BHI was also honored that Amy & Steven Temares, the donors who established the Endowed Chair attended the event. The lecture was held in the Main Auditorium of the Daniel Kessler Teaching labs in Piscataway.  Dr. Joshua Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health gave a very interesting lecture on "On Being a Circuit Psychiatrist". The lecture was live broadcast to NJMS, CMBN (RU-newark), RU-Camden,VA Research Center, East Orange, Kessler Research Institute, West Orange and Princeton University.

The Rutgers-Princeton CCNP Inaugural Mini-Symposium was held on May 5th, 2017

More than 40 faculty, post-doc, students and staff from Rutgers & Princeton attended the CCNP Inaugural Mini-Symposium held in the Research Tower on Busch campus. BHI was also honored that the symposium was attended by Steven Temares, the donor who established the Strongwater Endowed Chair, as well as Dr. Joshua Gordon, the Director of NIMH. Drs. Steve Silverstein and Molly Erickson (from Rutgers) and Nathaniel Daw and Yael Niv (from Princeton) gave very interesting talks that engendered very good discussions.

BHI Plans a New Addiction Research Center

Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids—including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin—nearly quadrupled, and over 165,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription pain medication deaths remain far too high, and in 2014, the most recent year on record, there was a sharp increase in heroin-involved deaths and an increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Heroin deaths in New Jersey are up 160 percent since 2010, with more than 1,200 overdose-related deaths last year alone which is 3-times the national average. In 2015, more than 28,000 New Jerseyans sought treatment for heroin or opioid abuse, significantly outpacing previous year’s figures. The heroin death rate in five counties – Camden, Ocean, Cape May, Union, and Middlesex – significantly exceeds the number of treatment beds available per 100,000 people.

The Rutgers Addiction Research Center (ARC) will build collaborations among scientists with the multidisciplinary expertise required to advance our understanding of the causes of opioid addiction. Housed within the Rutgers Brain Health Institute, ARC will be composed of faculty across all Rutgers schools and campuses with expertise in addiction prevention, research, treatment, education, and public policy, especially including Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), School of Arts and Sciences, Center for Alcohol Studies, Center for Tobacco Studies, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, School of Nursing, University Behavioral Health Care, School of Pharmacy, and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research. ARC will be the only comprehensive addiction center in NJ with the capacity to impact the addiction epidemic through the diverse strengths of its members by integrating the following cutting edge approaches:

  • Precision Medicine research and knowledge development that crosses multiple disciplines and addresses individual differences and needs in addiction treatment.
  • Treatment and care of individuals and families coping with addiction.
  • Public policy innovation and reform aimed at preventing development of drug use and at more effective avenues for addicts to obtain treatment.
  • Training of tomorrow's research, clinical, and criminal justice workforces in all aspects of addiction science.

The Rutgers Brain Health Institute, Rutgers-Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology Announce Awardees of the 2017 Pilot Grant Program in Neuroscience.

The BHI-RUN-NJIT Pilot Grants in Neuroscience launched in 2015 is a multi-institutional funding program that provides pilot funding to foster basic and translational collaborative research between neuroscientists at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, and NJIT.  This 1-year pilot grant mechanism encourages cross-disciplinary collaborations by requiring that projects be directed by two or more principal investigators from different Rutgers schools.  Over the past two years the pilot program has funded 18 grants totaling $720,000. The goal of the funding program is to provide seed funding for new collaborative research projects to generate preliminary data necessary for extramural applications to federal, state and private funding agencies.  The outcome data show that the 2015 pilot awardees have so far received nine extramural grant awards totaling $5.4 million.

In 2017, collaborative teams from across Rutgers and NJIT submitted 19 applications that were reviewed by an external scientific review committee and an internal programmatic review committee. Eight $40,000 awards were made to teams from all Schools.  More information and abstracts of projects that were awarded pilot funds are available at-

Several On-going BHI Faculty Recruitments

To strengthen neuroscience at Rutgers, BHI is currently in the midst of recruiting new faculty in each of the four focus areas. The recruitments include-

  • The Greg Brown Endowed Chair in Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of a new human fMRI Center in Piscataway.
  • The Director of the new Rutgers University Center for Autism Research (RuCARes).
  • A junior/mid-level faculty position in Motivational Neuroscience.

Several highly qualified candidates are visiting Rutgers this Fall & Winter for these positions.


BHI Core Faculty Awarded Javits Award from NINDS

Terri Woods

Dr. Terri Wood, Professor and Rena Warshow Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience at Rutgers-NJMS and her collaborator Wendy Macklin were awarded a 2017 NINDS Jacob Javits Award. The awards were established to honor the late Senator Jacob Javits, who for several years was a victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Senator Javits was a strong advocate for support of research in a wide variety of disorders of the brain and nervous system. A Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award (R37) is a conditional seven-year research grant given to scientists selected by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council from among the pool of competing applicants during a given grants cycle. The award is initially for a period of four years, after which, based on an administrative review, an additional project period of three years may be awarded. Awardees must have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in one of the areas of neurological research supported by the NINDS, have proposals of the highest scientific merit, and be judged highly likely to be able to continue to do research on the cutting edge of their science for the next seven years.