School of medicine

Professor appointed chair of neuroscience

Stephen Strittmatter assumed the position of chair of the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine, effective March 1. Strittmatter, Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology and professor of neuroscience, joined the faculty in 1993 and served as interim chair since September 2021. He also has directed the Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration, and Repair (CNNR), which he cofounded with Pietro De Camilli in 2005, and the Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Memory Disorders Clinic. As the new chair, Strittmatter will, as he did as interim chair, advocate for and recruit outstanding faculty—in particular, junior faculty—and develop plans for an Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) NeuroCore to accelerate testing of cellular hypotheses related to human neuron function.

Nasal approach to COVID vaccination gains traction

As efforts continue toward eliminating COVID-19 as a disease of great concern, a Yale research team led by Akiko Iwasaki, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology and of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, has found success in a new approach to vaccination—systemic vaccines that train the entire body’s immune response followed by boosters administered directly through the nose. The approach adds immune protection for nasal cavity mucosa and the respiratory tract, the region of the body where the SARS-CoV-2 virus is most likely to cause illness and from which it is most likely to be transmitted to other people. The study was conducted in mouse models, but Iwasaki is optimistic about her new approach, called Prime and Spike, in humans. “Improving upon current vaccine platforms to provide mucosal immunity is important to prevent infection and transmission and to curb this current pandemic, and certainly will be important to combat the next,” she says.

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