Novo Nordisk Foundation Grant awarded to Sadegh Nabavi and collaborators

In collaboration with external collaborators, Sadegh Nabavi will use the Novo Nordisk Foundation Exploratory Synergy Grant of approx. 5 mio. DKK to help bring new innovative insights into the inheritance of learning capabilities.

A Novo Nordisk Foundation Exploratory Synergy Grant has been awarded to Sadegh Nabavi in collaboration with two labs in Israel. The project stems from an intriguing observation Dr. Barkai from the University of Haifa and Dr. Schiller from the Israel Institute of Technology, obtained when studying the mechanisms of ‘rule-learning’; the ability to generalize complex rules based on learning. They found that the offspring of rats who learned complex rules are much better learners than the controls’ offspring. The inheritance of superb learning capability is remarkably resilient; it is passed on to the fourth generation even if the second and third generations are not trained. Furthermore, it is not dependent on the gender of the trained parent.

Based on this observation, Andreas Pommer and Dr. Noemie Mermet-Joret from DANDRITE will collaborate with Dr. Barkai and Dr. Schiller with the main hypothesis, that animals learn complex rules and pass on trans-generationally superb learning capabilities, with offspring of trained rats having much more “plastic” brains and needing much less training to acquire new rules. They will apply an integrative multi-level approach by combining behavioral, electrophysiological, and advanced imaging methods.

The title of the grant proposal is "Multi-level analysis of brain mechanisms underlying epigenetic inheritance of superb learning capabilities".