Neurological Disease Grant

Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability and second cause of death, after heart disease, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. Neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, epilepsy and schizophrenia are linked to malfunctions in pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs), primarily located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which bind with neurotransmitters, producing an electrical signal by managing ion channel activity.

Michaela Jansen, PharmD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, and her team are continuing their research with a $1.53 million R01 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Jansen seeks to fill knowledge gaps pertaining to interactions of plGICs with chaperone-like proteins, specifically resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase 3, and conformational changes that occur during gating. Jansen’s laboratory is part of TTUHSC’s Center for Membrane Protein Research, which includes 20 principal investigators and their respective laboratories.
A portrait photograph of Michaela Jansen, PharmD, PhD in a white laboratory coat working on/glancing at her computer as she researches information on neurological disorders
Neal Hinkle
Michaela Jansen, PharmD, PhD, receives extension on RO1 grant.


1| 2023 marks the 35th year of Student Research Week. Students organize and manage the event to showcase research and serve as a platform for collaboration and interaction.

2| The theme for Student Research Week 2023 is set for February 28-March 3, with a theme of “The Lord of the Genes.”

3| More than 310 students, a record-breaking number, presented posters at the 2022 event. In the first year, 25 students participated.

4| Student Research Week 2022 was held as a hybrid event, allowing for the review of projects and presentations in person and online. SRW 2021 was virtual.

5| Presentation categories are basic science, case study, medical education, chart review/survey and literature review.

6| Abstract submission deadline is the end of January each year.

7| Proceeds from a silent auction benefit student scholarships.

8| Annually, more than 50 TTUHSC faculty and staff donate their time and expertise to serve as judges; in 2022, that number was close to 80.

9| Sam Prien, PhD, professor in the School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has served as an event judge for 25 years.

10| Ten years ago, Gurvinder Kaur, PhD, (Biomedical Sciences ’12), assistant professor of Medical Education, won first place in the poster competition the year she graduated. Kaur has served as a judge, judging committee chair and supervised several undergraduate and graduate student participants.