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RIC Wins Funding For Groundbreaking Neuroscience Project

Thursday, August 01, 2013

 

With a $329,762 grant, RIC professor Steven Threlkeld and his team will conduct crucial neuroscience research.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Rhode Island College a $329,762 grant for a groundbreaking neuroscience research project to study the relative influences of anti-inflammatory intervention with a protein treatment and early life behavioral training in areas of auditory processing with the aim of reducing problems associated with brain injury in premature infants.

RIC psychology professor Steven Threlkeld will lead the project with a team of students in collaboration with ProThera Biologics, an East Providence biomedical startup, and Dr. Barbara Stonestreet, director of Fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Women & Infants Hospital.

The big deal

“We know that behavioral outcomes are poor for pre-term infants,” Threlkeld said. “Between 50 percent and 80 percent of those infants who have some kind of brain trauma go on to exhibit disabilities.”

Research testing will be conducted on rodents to allow Threlkeld’s team to induce pathology typically seen in pre-term infants. This also will allow his team to reinforce the importance of early diagnosis in brain-injured infants. “The window to diagnose, test and treat a child with a brain injury is critical,” he said. “The idea here is that in combining important lines of research, we can see even better outcomes.”

The NIH grant is designated for enhanced academic research capacity and competitive projects aimed at improving human health.

Threlkeld has been a professor at RIC since 2010 and specializes in teaching research methods in experimental psychology and behavioral neuroscience. He holds a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Connecticut.

Research highlighted in this article was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15HD077544.

 

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