Mariann Blum, 48, a native Houstonian and biochemist who focused on how neurons damaged by Parkinson's Disease can be stimulated to survive or regenerate, died Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003. Her scientific work also changed the way neuroscientists think about the brain. Her careful analysis of the levels of the growth-factor genes throughout the development of the brain found that levels actually were highest in the adult animal. This led to the observation that growth factors continued to be very important in the brain, even after it was fully formed. Blum published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and reviews, supervised five doctoral candidates and trained more than 12 post-doctoral fellows and visiting faculty members. The daughter of Lillian and Manuel Blum of Houston, Mariann Blum was born Jan. 19, 1955. Known to most of her family and friends as “Poco,” she grew up in Bellaire and Meyerland, graduating from Bellaire High School. In 1977 she was awarded a BS in biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1982, she earned a doctorate in biochemistry at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. In the same year, she enrolled in the Rockefeller University in New York as a post-doctoral student of the renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Bruce McEwen. Her work at Rockefeller was supported by a fellowship from the Kempner Foundation and a National Institutes of Health Research Service Award. Appointed to the adjunct faculty at Rockefeller, she also trained in molecular neurobiology in the lab of James Roberts at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Blum joined the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1986 as an assistant professor in the Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Research Center for Neurobiology. In 1993 she rose to the rank of associate professor and earned a secondary appointment in the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development. In 2002 she was appointed a Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with an appointment in the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. Throughout her career, her research was funded by grants from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the National Institute of Aging. She leaves her husband of 17 years, James Roberts; her mother, Lillian Blum; sister, Cathy Blum and her husband Jon Rusciano, and brothers Andrew Blum, Mitchell Blum and her nephew, Aaron Blum. A memorial service will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, at Congregation Emanu El, 1500 Sunset, Houston. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her name to the Medina Community Library, PO Box 300, Medina, Texas, 78055, where they will be used to fund development of the meditation and reading garden in the new library.