The Whitehall Foundation has awarded a three-year $225,000 grant to Tristan Qingyun Li, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience and of genetics at Washington University School of Medicine. The funding will go to investigate the function of microglia, immune cells that reside in the brain and perform myriad critical functions during development, injury and disease.
Microglia were once thought to play passive roles in responding to infection, but in the last decade, scientists have discovered that microglia are essential, active participants in brain function. During development, for instance, they trim neurons’ excess synapses — the connections between cells that allow them to communicate with one another — and direct proper vascularization so the brain has sufficient blood flow in the right places.
Read more on the Department of Neuroscience website.