UIC neuroscientist recognized by science society

Scott Brady

Scott Brady, professor and head of the department of anatomy and cell biology

Scott Brady, professor and head of anatomy and cell biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Brady was cited for his contributions to the study of cell and molecular biology of neurons, particularly with regard to the mechanisms of axonal transport and neurodegeneration.

“I am honored to join the ranks of AAAS Fellows,” said Brady. “To be recognized for my work by such a distinguished group of my peers is very special.”

“Dr. Brady has been a pioneer and innovator in the field of neurobiology,” said Dr. Dimitri Azar, dean of the UIC College of Medicine. “His work has led to the discovery of cellular mechanisms associated with neurological disorders that affect millions worldwide, and may help in the development of innovative new treatments.”

Brady has studied how nutrients, proteins and signaling molecules including neurotransmitters get from one end of a neuron – some of which can reach three feet in length in humans – to the other. He helped develop a technique combining video and electron microscopy for directly observing, in real time, the transport of materials along the nerve axon in squid neurons.

His most recent research suggests that holdups in the transport of materials along the nerve axon may play an important role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders. Brady and his colleagues found that a mutant protein associated with inherited ALS caused slowdowns in the transport and delivery of cellular materials when added to squid neurons. These slowdowns could cause one end of the cell to run out of materials it needs and lose its synaptic connectivity with neighboring neurons. Without these connections, neurons die. Brady believes that this process may underlie the gradually worsening symptoms associated with many adult onset neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.

Brady’s previous research investigated the stabilization of the neuronal cytoskeleton and the role of glial cells in supporting the architectural structure of neurons.

Brady received his B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in biology and physics and a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Southern California. After work as a post-doctoral fellow at Case Western Reserve University, he joined their department of developmental genetics and anatomy as a senior research associate. He later served as assistant and then associate professor of cell biology and neurobiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He joined the UIC College of Medicine faculty in 2002 as head of the department of anatomy and cell biology.

He has served on the editorial board of numerous scientific journals, and has published more than 90 scientific papers. He served as editor for the 2005 and 2012 editions of Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. This year 388 members have been awarded this honor by the AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 15 at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago, and will be announced in the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Science.

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