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Congressman Joaquin Castro

Representing the 20th District of Texas

Castro Announces $5.29M for UTSA Brain Health Research

Dec 1, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced an eight-year, federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expected to total $5,292,000.00 for The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). UTSA will receive the grant through the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which aims to reduce the burden of neurological disease by supporting and conducting neuroscience research. The funding will go towards UTSA’s research studying the brain region involved in voluntary motor behavior, the basal ganglia.
“With this substantial funding, UTSA will continue its leadership in brain health research and help the scientific community better understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. This work will help reduce folks’ suffering and save lives,” said Rep. Castro. “Thanks in large part to UTSA’s impressive and expansive research programs, San Antonio is increasingly known as a city where science thrives. Our nation must never lose sight of the value of research, discovery, and knowledge. I’m proud that UTSA and the broader San Antonio community are leaders in learning, particularly in the field of brain health.”
Dr. Charles Wilson is the primary investigator whose work this funding will support. Dr. Wilson’s research will examine local cell signaling in the basal ganglia to further develop a model of basal ganglia function. The goal of this modeling is to help improve current understanding of basal ganglia disorders and to assist in the development of potentially effective treatments.   
“This prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is an immeasurable investment in brain health, which is a key research area not only for UTSA but also for the entire UT System. Dr. Wilson's research focus on the circuitry and function of neurons of the basal ganglia, which controls movement, will advance our understanding of degenerative disorders such Parkinson’s disease. As a member of the UTSA Neurosciences Institute, Dr. Wilson is well deserving of this highly competitive NIH grant, and his Top-Tier research aligns with our Tier One goals," said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA interim vice president for research.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is awarding this funding to UTSA through the Outstanding Investigator Award program. The program provides longer-term support to researchers whose records of achievement indicate their ability to make important contributions in the field of neuroscience. More stable grant funding gives recipients greater flexibility and freedom to conduct potentially groundbreaking research.