Rewarding Neurons

Accolades: Rewarding Neurons

Felix Mayer, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D., and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, was recently selected for the Max Kade Fellowship by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which encourages the transatlantic exchange between German-speaking countries and the U.S., to identify non-addictive treatment methods for patients diagnosed with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Those endeavors address an unmet medical need as current standard medications are associated with a high abuse liability and may serve as a gateway to stronger stimulants. Mayer’s research uses mice engineered to express a gene variant found in patients who were diagnosed with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and bipolar disorder. Hence, the findings of his studies could potentially be applied to other neuropsychiatric disorders as well.

With a light-emitting sensor that allows him to measure the levels of dopamine in the brain in real time, Mayer looks at the behavior and release pattern of dopamine in the brains of freely behaving mutant and normal mice. These studies are supported with biochemical approaches to assess the underlying neurochemistry in additional detail. Mayer has been invited to several national and international conferences to present the results of these studies.

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