Dr. Abha Rajbhandari receiving the Arimura Young Investigator Award from Mark Arimura (Akira’s son), for her work entitled “Role of PACAP and PAC1 receptors in regulating fear behaviors via the amygdala microciruitry.”
An international meeting, the Akira Arimura Memorial VIP/PACAP and Related Peptides Symposium, was held on Nov. 3-6, 2010, at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. The symposium’s theme was “30 years after PACAP Discovery;” the event highlighted research defining VIP and PACAP related neuropeptides as key regulators in homeostasis and in multiple human diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, autoimmune disorders, reproductive deficits, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The goal of the meeting was to facilitate research on VIP and PACAP signaling mechanisms towards further clinical application as therapeutic targets and biomarkers for human diseases.
The symposium featured plenary speakers from Inserm (France), Harvard University, UC San Francisco, National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), the Salk Institute, and Univ. of Kagoshima (Japan), as well as 41 other state of the art oral presentations and 27 posters.
Twenty travel awards and twelve poster prizes were awarded to top young investigators to promote the next generation of investigators in VIP and PACAP-related research. The top prize, the Akira Arimura Young Investigator Award was presented to Dr. Abha Rajbhandari of Icahn Mount Sinai, New York, for her postdoctoral work carried out jointly in the UCLA labs of Drs. Michael Fanselow and James Waschek entitled "Role of PACAP and PAC1 receptors in regulating fear behaviors via the amygdala microciruitry," a topic with high relevance to post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Michael Fanselow, Rajbhandari’s former mentor at UCLA, introduced her at the awards banquet.
The event was organized by a local (US) committee and an international advisory and steering committee. Sponsors of the meeting included: Akira Arimura Foundation, UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Brain Research Institute at UCLA, Dean’s Office of the David Geffen School of Medicine, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, Staglin Family Music Festival Center for Brain and Behavioral Health, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, UCLA Department of Psychology, Transnetyx, Cell Signaling Technology, Bachem and Springer.