Darcie L. Moore, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience, has been named by the Vallee Foundation as a 2020 Vallee Scholar. The award provides $300,000 in funding for basic biomedical research over four years.

Moore’s research focuses on the regulation and movement of proteins during the earliest steps of Adult neurogenesis, when neural stem cells (NSCs) exit quiescence and begin to divide. By developing novel imaging methods to functionally define quiescent NSCs, she hopes to contribute to our fundamental understanding of stem cell biology, identifying novel targets for treating aging-related diseases.

Darcie Moore
Darcie L. Moore

“I am very appreciative of all of the support that UW–Madison colleagues have provided as I established my research program,” said Moore. “In particular, I am grateful to the memory of our former chair, Dr. Donata Oertel, who passed away in April. Donata nominated me for this award. She would have been so pleased.”

Moore is exploring how stress and aging change the process by which the stem cells divide. She discovered that aging leads to differences in the proportions of damaged proteins that each stem cell inherits in the process of division. Currently, her lab is investigating how proteins involved in this process interact, with a goal of identifying potential therapeutics that could either interrupt or promote such interactions.

Research from her team published in February 2020 provided a new cellular target for interventions that could boost neuron production when it’s needed most, such as after brain injuries and during neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Vallee Scholar candidates are competitively selected based on the originality and innovation of their science, the quality of their proposal as evidenced by ideas and execution, and their record of accomplishment. A total of six scholars were appointed to the 2020 cohort.

“The awards committee was extremely impressed by the breadth and vision of this year’s candidates and the selection was difficult,” said committee chair Wade Harper, Bert and Natalie Vallee Professor of Molecular Pathology, and Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School.

"Each of these brilliant young Vallee Scholars brings new and exciting technologies to problems ranging from neuroscience to cancer to the interactions of virus with humans including during previous pandemics, all areas with enormous implications for human health.”