Baran, Chatterjee win INI Williams-Cannon Fellowships for research on neurodegenerative disease

Two University of Iowa faculty members have been awarded Williams-Cannon Faculty Fellowships through the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. Bengi Baran, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, and Snehajyoti Chatterjee, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience and pharmacology, will each receive $47,500 in research funding.

Created through a gift to the UI Center for Advancement from Sue and Frank Cannon, the fellowships support faculty research in neurodegeneration.

Bengi Baran, PhDBaran’s research focuses on the role of sleep disruption in the emergence and exacerbation of neuropsychiatric disorders. Her lab uses multimodal brain imaging and electrophysiology techniques to investigate sleep and wake functions of neural circuitry involved in cognitive processing and how these processes go awry in neuropsychiatric disorders and with aging. The fellowship will support investigation of a novel hypothesis that obstructive sleep apnea accelerates cognitive aging in people with neuropsychiatric disorders.


Jyoti Chatterjee, PhDChatterjee’s research focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that drive cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). He has a particular interest in the protein tau, which has been closely linked to ADRD-associated memory loss. His work has previously shown that pathological tau impairs critical gene expression events during a temporal window of memory consolidation. He developed new strategies to study such gene expression events across a brain slice using spatial transcriptomics to map the molecular signature of memory consolidation. The fellowship will support further investigation of the molecular impact of tau on learning-induced gene expression changes in mouse models with genetic risk factors of late-onset ADRD.


The Cannons’ gift and their passion to support research stems from seeing their loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease. They are committed to helping Iowa researchers leave a mark in the important study of this disease and others like it, in hopes that there will be better outcomes and therapies for patients and families.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024