The University of Michigan Depression Center has just named three Strategic Translational Research (STAR) award winners. Each award is worth $10,000.
Dan Schill, BS, PhD, post-doctoral fellow in Cell and Developmental Biology will study “Transcriptional Regulation of CACNA1C in Bipolar Disorder.” Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition in which individuals undergo changes in mood ranging from manic, or hyper episodes, to periods of sad or depressed feelings. Dr. Schill is attempting to identify changes in brain cells and how they communicate with each other that contribute to the development of bipolar disorder. Neurons in our brains communicate with each other using both electrical and chemical signals. One of the molecules that plays a critical role in signaling between cells is calcium, which is taken up and released by neurons. Importantly, genetic defects in calcium channels have been associated with bipolar disorder in some patients. Dr.Schill will be investigating how this calcium channel is controlled in the brain. This project should improve our understanding of how brain cells from bipolar disorder patients are different and may identify new therapeutic strategies to help treat this prevalent disease.
Dr. Schill joined the University of Michigan in 2018 as a post-doctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Sue O’Shea. He received his B.S. in cellular/molecular biology and human biology from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in 2012. He then received his Ph.D. in cellular and developmental biology from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2018.
Established in 2015, the STAR awards were created for Depression Center members who are students, residents, fellows, or post-doctoral candidates and are exploring or testing new research ideas. The awarded funds are used to gather additional and new quantitative or qualitative pilot data, refine methodology, test tools, analyze data, or further any aspect of depression-related research.