NIMH Division of Extramural Affairs
On April 15, 2021, Beverly Davidson, Ph.D., was the guest speaker for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director’s Innovation Speaker Series. Dr. Davidson is the Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Arthur V. Meigs, Chair in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and director of the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at CHOP. She provided an overview of recent research approaches for inherited disorders that impact central nervous system (CNS) function during her talk.
Dr. Davidson’s neurobiology laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular bases of neurodegenerative disorders, including lysosomal storage disorders and dominantly inherited diseases such as Huntington’s disease and the spinocerebellar ataxia. Her laboratory employs a range of methods— from single-cell technologies to animal studies—to assess novel therapeutic approaches and the molecular bases for neurodegeneration.
One emphasis of the data presented was recent developments in Dr. Davidson’s laboratory and others to target biologicals, such as gene therapy vectors, to particular brain regions and to regulate the expression of gene therapies once delivered to the brain.
NIMH established the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series to encourage broad, interdisciplinary thinking in the development of scientific initiatives and programs, and to press for theoretical leaps in science over the continuation of incremental thought. Innovation speakers are encouraged to describe their work from the perspective of breaking through existing boundaries and developing successful new ideas, as well as working outside their primary area of expertise in ways that have pushed their fields forward. We encourage discussions of the meaning of innovation, creativity, breakthroughs, and paradigm-shifting.
Watch the recording.