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Graham Diering: Daniel Nathans Award
[This award] gives me the confidence to continue to strive towards challenging and rewarding science problems.
Mentor: Richard Huganir
Sleep is an essential process that is known to support cognitive functions such as learning and memory. In this work we examined how synapses, the structures used by neurons to communicate, are modified by sleep. Using biochemistry, proteomics and imaging in mice, we find that synapses undergo widespread remodeling during sleep. Our data suggest that a particular type of synaptic plasticity called homeostatic scaling-down is engaged during sleep to weaken synapses across the brain. This may be an important part of memory consolidation and part of the restorative function of sleep.
Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?
Being at Johns Hopkins these last years has been a real neuroscience immersion that has prepared me for a career in this field.
What does receiving this award mean to you?
This award means a great deal to me professionally because it gives me the confidence to continue to strive toward challenging and rewarding science problems.
What contributed to your project's success?
The success of this work was very much based on the foundation of excellent work established in our lab and by my mentor, Dr. Huganir. With this foundation, I was able to ask new questions about sleep that turned into something very interesting and exciting.
What thoughts do you have about Young Investigator's Day itself?
The success of research clearly come from two directions, the top down, from the professors that build their research programs and support the training of their students and postdocs, and from the bottom up, from the young scientists trying new things that have not been done before.
What has been your best or most memorable experience while at Hopkins?
I have really enjoyed our departmental retreats. The Department of Neuroscience is a very friendly and collaborative environment with a real sense of community.
What are your plans over the next year or so?
I plan to start my own lab during the fall. I am still negotiating positions at a few institutions but things are looking very promising.
What are your hobbies or interests?
I have been brewing my own beer since the year 2000, when I was 17 years old.