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Fluids and Barriers of the CNS Travel Bursary Awards

FBCNS was proud to award journal-sponsored travel bursaries at the Cerebrovascular Biology Meeting in Miami, Florida, June 25-28, 2019.

The bursaries were awarded for best presentations to:

  • Natasha O'Brown for her presentation: Suppression of transcytosis is a conserved mechanism of functional blood-brain barrier formation during zebrafish development.
  • Julia Annette Schulz for her presentation: Dual PI3K/Akt inhibition to overcome blood-brain barrier P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein.      

About the winners

Natasha O'Brown, Harvard Medical School         

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I am a joint postdoc in the Megason and Gu labs at Harvard Medical School. By attending CVB 2019, I enjoyed seeing some friends and colleagues from previous meetings. I presented my work, which investigates the molecular and subcellular mechanisms of zebrafish BBB functional development. I first used fluorescent tracer leakage assays to determine the timing of BBB functional maturation and then used time lapse microscopy to reveal two types of developmental leakage, steady diffuse leakage and sporadic bursts. Using electron microscopy I uncovered increased vesicular trafficking or transcytosis as the subcellular route of immature BBB tracer leakage rather than tight junctional defects. Finally, I have shown a conserved for Mfsd2a, a BBB-specific suppressor of transcytosis, in determining zebrafish BBB function and used time lapse microscopy to reveal the dynamic nature of tracer leakage due to increased transcytosis in vivo.

Julia Annette Schulz, University of Kentucky 

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I am a PhD Candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences in Dr. Bjoern Bauer's laboratory at the University of Kentucky, College of Pharmacy. My thesis project is focused on PI3K/Akt inhibition to downregulate P-glycoprotein and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein at the blood-brain barrier. We are using this molecular switch approach to improve the treatment of glioblastoma, the most devastating human brain tumor.

I thank the CVB 2019 organizing committee for the opportunity to present my thesis research and FBCNS for this travel bursary award. I greatly enjoyed my time at the conference, meeting the leaders in the blood-brain barrier field, and discussing my research with them.