Category: Spotlight

Brandon Maziuk Awarded NINDS F31 NRSA

February 7th, 2018 in Student Spotlight

Congratulations to Brandon Maziuk on receiving a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Brandon is a PhD graduate student in the NIGMS supported Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program. His F31 application is titled “Dysfunction of mRNA Metabolism in Tauopathy,” and this award will support this research over the next three years.  Brandon is carrying out his dissertation research in the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration under the mentorship and direction of Benjamin Wolozin, M.D./Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology and an expert on neurological disease.

Well done, Brandon!

Dr. Pietro Cottone Speaks at The Royal Society’s “Of Mice and Mental Health: Facilitating Dialogue Between Basic and Clinical Neuroscientists”

June 21st, 2017 in Faculty Spotlight

Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, made a presentation on the “Neurobiology of Compulsive Eating” at The Royal Society’s “Of Mice and Mental Health: Facilitating Dialogue Between Basic and Clinical Neuroscientists” in London on April 24-25, 2017. Based upon his current research, Dr. Cottone and his research group in the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders tested the hypothesis that “one of the underlying mechanisms of compulsive eating involves the negative reinforcing properties palatable food . . .”  According to their studies, rats who were deprived of regular access to highly palatable food demonstrated “spontaneous emotional signs of palatable food withdrawal, including anxiety- and depressive-like behavior,”  that was “accompanied by increased corticotropin-releasing factor expression (CRF),” and that “administration of a selective CRF1 receptor antagonist . . . was able to block both the overeating . . . and negative emotional state.” These results are important in ultimately discovering novel therapeutics to combat compulsive eating.  The manuscript with details of this research will be published in The Royal Society’s journal, “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.”


Ryan Quinton Receives Predoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health

May 26th, 2017 in Student Spotlight

Congratulations to Ryan Quinton on receiving a predoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health. This award is the equivalent of an F30 predoctoral fellowship in the United States and will provide $35,000 per year for three years to cover his expenses.

Ryan is an MD/PhD currently pursuing his PhD graduate research in the Laboratory of Cancer Biology under the mentorship of Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D. Ryan joined the BU NIGMS sponsored Biomolecular Pharmacology training program in fall 2015. His research focuses on identifying YAP/TAZ dependence and synthetic lethality across cohort of breast cancer cell lines.

Kudos, Ryan!

Kendra Kobrin and Jonathan Freedman Receive the 2017 Joseph Cochin Award in Pharmacology and Medical Ethics Award

March 17th, 2017 in Student Spotlight

At the Student Award Ceremony on Match Day, March 17th, Kendra Kobrin and Jonathan Freedman were awarded the 2017 Joseph Cochin Award in Pharmacology and Medical Ethics. This award honors the memory of Joseph Cochin, MD, PhD, who served as Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at BUSM for many years. Dr. Cochin was an internationally recognized expert on opioid analgesia, pain control and medical ethics.

Kendra Kobrin
Kendra, a student in the Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program from 2011-2015, received this award in recognition of her high achievement in pharmacology and accomplishments in research under the mentorship of Gary B. Kaplan, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics.


Jonathan Freedman
Jonathan Freedman, also a student in the Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program from 2011-2015, was rewarded for his high achievement in pharmacology and research accomplishments under the mentorship of Mark W. Grinstaff, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Translational Research, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, and Medicine.


Kendra and Jonathan will receive their MD and PhD degrees at the BUSM May Graduation Ceremony.

Congratulations to Kendra and Jonathan!

Brandon Maziuk Selected by the BU BEST Program as BU Representative to the AAAS CASE Workshop in Washington, DC

February 28th, 2017 in Student Spotlight

Brandon Maziuk, a Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology PhD graduate student, has been selected as one of two students by the Boston University Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program to represent Boston University at the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy for Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop in Washington, DC, April 2-5, 2017. Brandon was chosen from a pool of BEST applicants.

Now in the 3rd year of his pre-doctoral training, Brandon is conducting his thesis research in the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration under the mentorship of Benjamin Wolozin, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology. His research projects focus on the role of RNA binding proteins in neurodegenerative disorders with emphasis on tauopathy and Alzheimer’s disease. Using a variety of molecular techniques with mouse models, cell culture systems and human tissues he investigates how RNA binding protein aggregation drives early neurodegeneration.

The CASE workshop provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students in science, mathematics, and engineering, to learn about science policy and advocacy. At the workshop, Brandon will have the opportunity to learn about effective science communication and meet with elected Members of Congress as a science advocate. As a BEST program representative, Boston University will cover transportation, lodging and registration costs to attend the CASE workshop.

Congratulations to Brandon on being selected for this honor.

Dr. Benjamin Wolozin Receives AAAS and 2017 Jack Spivack Excellence in Neurosciences Honors

February 9th, 2017 in Faculty Spotlight

Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was elected for his contributions to molecular and translational neuroscience, particularly discovery of the role of cholesterol in Alzheimer’s disease.

On January 26, 2017, Dr. Karen Antman, BUSM Dean and BUMC Provost announced that Dr. Wolozin is the recipient of the Jack Spivack Excellence in Neurosciences Award for 2017. His discovery of the essential role of RNA Binding proteins in the pathology of tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease, represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of these diseases. With this discovery comes dramatic new opportunities for therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies, based on targeting important members of the translational stress response, such as TIA1.

Congratulations to Ben!

Alissa Frame Receives Best Poster Award at the AHA Council on Hypertension 2016 Scientific Sessions

October 6th, 2016 in Student Spotlight

Alissa Frame received the Best Poster Award at the American Heart Association’s Council on Hypertension 2016 Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, September 14 – 17, 2016. Alissa’s poster, “Impaired Central, Renal, and Blood Pressure Responses to Alterations in Fluid and Electrolyte Homeostasis in Aged Sprague-Dawley Rats,” was selected from over 600 posters, which is quite a feat for her first poster presentation at a national meeting.

Alissa is an M.D., Ph.D. graduate student in the NIGMS sponsored training program in Bimolecular Pharmacology and is conducting her predoctoral research on the neural and renal mechanisms regulating blood pressure in the Laboratory for Cardiovascular Renal Research under the mentorship of Richard D. Wainford, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Alissa!

Price S. Blair, Ph.D., Receives Edward A. Polloway Award

May 11th, 2016 in Alumni Spotlight

Congratulations to Price S. Blair, Ph.D., has who received the Edward A. Polloway Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching at Lynchburg College.  Dr. Blair, shown with his wife Beverly, is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biology and Biomedical Science, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, and Physician Assistant in Medicine Program.  He received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the Program in Bimolecular Pharmacology under the mentorship of Jane E. Freedman, M.D.  His current research focuses on the role that platelets play in the processes of hemostasis, thrombosis, and inflammation.

Rebecca Benham Vautour Selected for ASPET Washington Fellows Program

March 4th, 2016 in Alumni Spotlight







Congratulations to Rebecca Benham Vautour, Ph.D., on being selected for the ASPET Washington Fellows Program [HPA]. Dr. Benham Vautour, a post-doctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Genetic Neuropharmacology at McLean Hospital, is one of 10 selected from across the U.S. to participate in this program. She graduated from with a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Neuroscience from the Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine in 2012. As a graduate student in the Laboratory of Translational Epilepsy under the mentorship of Dr. Shelley J. Russek, Dr. Benham Vautour’s graduate research thesis was on bdnfAND jak/stat: Partners in Seizure-Induced GABA-A Receptor Down Regulation.” Her research at McLean’s focuses on the role of GABA-A in depression.

Neema Yazdani Selected for Platform Presentation at GSI Symposium on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 9th, 2015 in Student Spotlight

Neema Yazdani, a Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate student, has be selected to present a platform presentation at the Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Genome Science Institute’s (GSI) Annual Research Symposium. Neema’s presentation is entitled, ‘HnRNP H1 regulates the stimulant and addictive properties of methamphetamine: Transcriptomic and spliceomic analyses uncover novel neurodevelopmental mechanisms” and is based upon the research he is carrying out in the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics under the mentorship of Dr. Camron Bryant.

The GSI symposium will be held in Hiebert Lounge, L-14th Floor in the School of Medicine from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. and will include both poster sessions from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and platform presentations from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will immediate follow the platform presentations.