Christine Grienberger wins New Innovator Award, $1.5 million from NIH

Christine Grienberger seated in front of computer screen

Photo Credit: Jörg Meyer

By By Jarret Bencks
October 6, 2023

Assistant Professor of Biology and neuroscientist Christine Grienberger has been named a recipient of a New Innovator Award and $1.5 million in research funding by the National Institutes of Health.

The funding will support research that examines the underlying processes in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit, a network of brain regions severely affected by Alzheimer's disease, the neuropsychiatric disorder that is associated with devastating memory, learning, and other cognitive impairments.

“I am incredibly grateful to the NIH for their interest and for their support of our research. The brain’s ability to learn allows us all to thrive in a complex, ever-changing environment, yet how the brain accomplishes this task is not well understood” Grienberger said. “It is very exciting to see the growing interest in this important area of investigation, and my team and I are thrilled to get started working on this project.”

Grienberger's team examines the neural mechanisms of learning, seeking a deeper understanding of the synaptic, cellular, and circuit-level computations that allow the brain to produce complex adaptive behaviors. Her lab uses state-of-the-art experimental techniques, including in vivo electrophysiology, two-photon microscopy, optogenetic activity perturbations, and behavioral learning assays.

The New Innovator Award supports exceptionally creative early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects in the biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences. The grant will support research on the entorhinal cortex and its interaction with the hippocampus to drive learning and memory formation. A deeper understanding of the flow of information in the entorhinal-hippocampal network will shed new light on the basis for understanding how the brain performs all complex tasks that depend upon learning.

Grienberger was named a Pew Biomedical Scholar by the Pew Charitable Trusts earlier this year and was also selected for a Sloan Research Fellowship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 2023.