Dr. Mingshan Xue, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and a researcher with the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital, has been awarded the prestigious 2018 McKnight Scholar Award.
The McKnight Scholar Awards are granted to young scientists who are in the early stages of establishing their own independent laboratories and research careers and who have demonstrated a commitment to neuroscience.
Xue is one of six awardees, out of 64 applicants, that were chosen for their creativity, technological, precise and rigorous new approaches to overcome barriers in answering long-standing neuroscience questions.
“I am deeply humbled and excited by this opportunity to join a group of talented young scientists in tackling important fundamental questions in neuroscience. Our research has benefited greatly from the collaborative and stimulating environment at Baylor College of Medicine and the NRI. I am very grateful to my colleagues and the leadership for supporting our scientific exploration without boundaries,” Xue said.
He is recognized for his research working toward answering the question of how the brain maintains constant balance between excitation and inhibition while navigating complex environments and changing internal states. Xue’s research combines molecular, genetic, electrophysiological, optogenetic, imaging and anatomical approaches to determine whether homeostatic plasticity regulates synapses in an input-specific manner in vivo, thereby maintaining neuronal activity levels and functional response properties. Gaining a deeper understanding of how the normal brain copes with perturbations can pave the way for interventions to treat neurological diseases that disrupt the brain’s natural balance.
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience is an independent organization funded solely by the McKnight Foundation of Minneapolis, Minn., and led by a board of prominent neuroscientists from around the country. Each of the six McKnight Scholar Award recipients will receive $75,000 per year for three years.