Dr. Inma Cobos, assistant professor of neuropathology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is one among just 17 young researchers in the United States to be selected to receive a five-year, $2.5 million Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award.

Cobos’ research focuses on neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. She will use the award to apply single-cell technology to human brain samples with Alzheimer’s disease to “investigate the contributions of distinct cell types to disease pathogenesis and identify the transcriptome changes associated with tau pathology.”

The awards, which were announced today, launch the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Neurodegeneration Challenge Network, which brings together research scientists from neuroscience, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology and genomics, along with computational biologists and physicians, to understand the underlying causes of neurodegenerative disorders. The award is named for the late Ben Barres, an American neurobiologist at Stanford University who was a fierce advocate for young scientists, women, mentorship and diversity in science. 

Cobos was awarded in 2017 research grants from BrightFocus Foundation — Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles, and the Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant. Her research is also funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Only UCLA, Harvard, UC San Francisco and Caltech have more than one recipient of the Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Awards. Elaine Hsiao, UCLA assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology, was also selected for this award.