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Faculty of 1000

A few members of the PPT research team (left to right), Jonathan Geiger, Manojkumar Jaiswal, Nick Cilz, Lalitha Rojanathammanee, and Saobo Lei

A peer-reviewed paper coauthored by UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences researchers Pan-Yue Deng, Zhoyang Xiao, Chuanxiu Yan, Lalida Rojanathammanee, Jonathan Geiger, James Porter, and Saobo Lei was recently selected by the international Faculty of 1000 (F1000) as one of the best published in the last year.

Lei, a physician and PhD pharmacologist in the School’s Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics (PPT), is the lead author of the paper titled “GABAB Receptor Activation Inhibits Neuronal Excitability and Spatial Learning in the Entorhinal Cortex by Activating TREK-2 K+ Channels.”

Faculty of 1000 is an impressive group of the world’s leading scientists who regularly review thousands of papers and characterize a few—all listed on their website—on a three-tiered scale from must-read to recommended. 

F1000 identifies the most important articles and trends across biology and medicine. Articles are selected from those in more than 3,000 peer-reviewed scientific journals, which are then rated and evaluated by F1000’s peer-nominated faculty of over 10,000 expert clinicians and researchers who explain why the papers they recommend are essential reading for their fellow researchers. Basically, it’s a rating service that tells other scientists what’s worth reading among the hundreds of thousands of papers published annually just in the biomedical field.

F1000 selected the UND paper, which, very broadly, deals with the biochemical aspects of spatial learning, as being within the top 2 percent of all published articles in the biological and medical sciences. 

Lei’s work at the SMHS focuses on how individual neurons behave at the cellular level, work that eventually could lead to a better understanding of brain problems, such as memory loss, learning disabilities, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. He and his coauthors explored a neural receptor’s tight control over spatial learning. The article was originally published in the peer-reviewed journal Neuron.

 “We use a variety of techniques including electrophysiology, immunocytochemisty, imaging, tissue culture, molecular biology, and in vivo physiology using animal models to study the functional changes of the central nervous system in physiological and pathological conditions,” Lei said, describing his lab’s key research focus.

Lei explains,“The functional changes of neurons induced by the neurotransmitters and neuromodulators are likely to be responsible for a variety of physiological functions such as learning and memory or clinical disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and neuro-degenerative diseases. We are using in vivo disease models to study the roles of these neuromodulators in these clinical disorders. Our research would likely provide clues at the molecular and cellular levels to treat neurological diseases.”

Coauthor Jonathan Geiger is Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and chair of Lei’s department.

Coauthor James Porter, PhD, is a pharma-cologist in PPT with a research focus on under-standing the molecular mechanisms of drug action and verification of potential therapeutic targets.

Coauthors Pan-Yue Deng, Zhoyang Xiao, and Chuanxiu Yan returned to the People’s Republic of China after completing their post-doctoral work at UND. Lalida Rojanathammanee is a post-doctoral scholar at the SMHS.