Sarah Ackerman, PhD, an assistant professor of pathology & immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2023 Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award in Neuroscience. She is one of 13 new fellows – all early-career scientists in the U.S. – who will receive three-year $300,000 grants to pursue high-risk, cutting-edge research.
Ackerman, who is also affiliated with the Brain Immunology and Glia Center, uses zebrafish and fruit flies to study how the brain’s support cells, called glial cells, wire the brain. The brain’s ability to form new neural connections and rewire itself is greatest during childhood and fades with age. Because glial cells are critical players in this neuronal plasticity, Ackerman’s work aims to leverage such cells as therapeutic targets to combat neurological and psychiatric diseases.