The Whitman Center Early Career Investigator Award is awarded in a highly competitive selection process. This award provides Dragomir Milovanovic and his group with laboratory space and resources to conduct research at MBL. In addition, an interdisciplinary collaboration between the DZNE and MBL researchers at the MBL Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Regeneration will be established. The award includes the costs for laboratory space and accommodation at the MBL for a ten-week research stay of the biochemist and his team.
Milovanovic and his group are investigating on site how the interaction between synapsin and alpha-synuclein, a protein that plays a role in Parkinson's disease, influences the anatomy of the synapse. Together with MBL scientists, Milovanovic is investigating a unique aquatic organism: the lamprey. The fishlike vertebrate has a large presynaptic compartment. It was precisely in the large synapses of lampreys and the giant axons of the squid that the first discoveries characteristic of synaptic biology were made.
The MBL was founded in 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, and is a private, non-profit institution affiliated with the University of Chicago.