FAU Brain Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Receives NIMH Award

Paula Kurdziel

by Lynda F. Rysavy | Thursday, May 21, 2020

One in five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. Paula Gajewski-Kurdziel, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in FAU's Brain Institute received a three-year, $65.5 thousand grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) to study t he connection between psychiatric disorders and the immune system. The grant will fund research on the role of serotonergic IL-1R1 in modulating physiological and behavioral responses to peripheral inflammation.


“We currently lack adequate treatment for many of these disorders, largely because of the complex links between genes, molecules, circuits and behavior, and how these networks are regulated by peripheral physiology," said Dr. Gajewski-Kurdziel. “We are exploring the immune-brain axis which is increasingly appreciated as having relevance in neuropsychiatric disorders, but underexploited as a target for neuropsychiatric drug development. My study aims to identify mechanisms by which the immune system is modulating serotonin neurotransmission and subsequent behavior.”


Dr. Gajewski-Kurdziel’s work combines biochemistry and molecular techniques and relies on FAU’s Cell Imaging Core and Neurobehavior Core facilities. Dr. Gajewski-Kurdziel’s was the inaugural president of the FAU Postdoctoral Association in 2018.