Dr. John Byrne
Dr. John Byrne

As soccer fans around the world are focused on the World Cup, here at McGovern Medical School, one of our own star researchers has scored more than a goal – a hat trick.

Dr. John H. “Jack” Byrne, June and Virgil Waggoner Chair and professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, recently was notified of the successful funding of three R01 (Research Project Grant) grants from the National Institutes of Health, bringing in over $5.5 million over a 5-year period. In soccer, and in hockey, a hat-trick is when a player scores three goals within a game.

His latest grant is a competitive renewal for the project “Analysis of the Neural Control of Behavior,” which was originally funded when Byrne was an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Now in its 42nd year of continuous funding, the new extension will support his research until 2023.

Byrne also received funding for two new R01s, “Analyses of the Distributed Representation of Associative-Learning in an Identified Circuit Using a Combination of Single-Cell and Electrophysiology and Multicellular Voltage-Sensitive Dye Recordings” and “Modeling the Molecular Networks that Underlie the Formation and Consolidation of Memory.”

“Congratulations to Dr. Byrne for this wonderful accomplishment. Forty-two years of continuous support is simply remarkable,” Dean Barbara J. Stoll said.

Byrne joined the medical school faculty in 1982 and served as chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy from 1987-2018. He is director of the Neuroscience Research Center at UTHealth and associate dean for research at the medical school. His research is on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory, with a current focus on identifying strategies for enhancing memory and overcoming memory deficits.

“I am very grateful,” Byrne said of this research funding, adding, “I am just getting started.”