Karen Harnett, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, and Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine, Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology are among the nine recipients of 2018 BUSM Educator of the Year honors. Faculty were nominated for awards in each category by medical students and Division of Graduate Medical Sciences students.
Dr. Harnett, a BUSM Pharmacology Ph.D. program graduate, was named Educator of the Year in Pre-Clinical Medical Sciences. She joined the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics in 2013 as Pharmacology educator and joined the Disease and Therapy (DRx) leadership team in 2015. She directs the Dental Pharmacology could for se ond-year dental students (DMDII) and first-year Advanced Standing dental students (ASI) at BU’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.
Dr. Ganem, Principal Investigator and Director of the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology, is one of two recipients along with Dr. Darrell Kotton of the Educator of the Year in Graduate Medical Sciences, Dissertation Advisors award. Neil’s research investigates the causes and consequences of aneuploidy and chromosome instability in human cancer, aims to define tumor suppression mechanisms that limit proliferation of aneuploid cells, and also to identify the common genetic adaptions made by cancer cells to overcome these growth barriers. He currently mentors one Ph.D. graduate student and three M.D./Ph.D. graduate students in the NIGMS supported Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology at Boston University, a BU Cell, Molecular and Genetics program undergraduate student, two postdoctoral researchers and a laboratory technician.
Congratulations to Karen and Neil on their excellent teaching skills, their commitment to their students, and on a job well done.
David Waxman Receives The Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism for Research on Sex Differences in Drug Metabolism
David J. Waxman, Ph.D., Boston University Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology and Medicine, was awarded the Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) at their 2018 annual meeting in San Diego, California. The award was presented to Dr. Waxman for his research on “Sex Differences in Drug Metabolism: From Steroids and P450s to Transcription Factors and Chromatin States.”
The Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolisum was established to honor the fundamental contributions of Bernard B. Brodie in the field of drug metabolism and disposition and is given every two years. The Award includes a $2000 honorarium, a commemorative medal and hotel and airfare to the award ceremony.
Congratulations to Dr. Waxman on receipt of the Bernard B. Brodie Award in recognition of his important research contributions.
Andrieu and Denis paper featured as Editor’s Pick/Cover Story in April 2018 Issue of Molecular Cancer Research
A paper by Boston University investigators, Guillaume Andrieu, Ph.D. and Gerald V. Denis, Ph.D., has been selected as the Cover Story and Editor’s Pick for Rapid Impact in the April 2018 Issue of Molecular Cancer Research. BET Proteins Exhibit Transcriptional Function Opposition in the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition reports on research carried out on inhibitors of the BET bromodomain proteins, comprised of BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4, that may work well to block growth in diverse cancer types and seems to be less toxic than traditional chemotherapies. However, these three proteins don’t always work together.
In this study, Andrieu and Denis demonstrated that sometimes individual BET bromodomain proteins oppose each other. Any of the pan-BET inhibitors currently available block all three and could have unexpected side effects. To avoid the dangerous side effects, it is urgent to develop new strategies to specifically target the proteins individually.
Cancer clinical trials using BET inhibitors are currently recruiting for leukemias, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, metastatic prostate cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma and subtypes of breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer. Andrieu’s and Denis’ findings are urgently relevant to all of these clinical trials because of the fundamental mechanisms that they explored are shared across many cancer types.
Dr. Andrieu is a postdoctoral research associate conducting investigations into breast cancer and its interactions with the microenvironment— the tissues surrounding the tumor. Dr. Denis is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, whose research focuses on the fundamental mechanisms of transcriptional control of growth and development.
This study was supported by grants from the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium of the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Zhen Jiang’s New C2 Domain Discovery in April Molecular and Cell Biology’s “Selected as Article of Significant Interest . . . by the Editors”
Zhen Y. Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., and his research group, have discovered a new C2 domain containing phosphoprotein CDP138 that is important for membrane trafficking. Membrane Trafficking Protein CDP138 Regulates Fat Browning and Insulin Sensitivity through Controlling Catecholamine Release in the April 2018 edition of Molecular and Cellular Biology and featured in Articles of Significant Interest Selected from This Issue by the Editors. Dr. Zhen and his group generated the first CDP138 knockout mice and revealed that CDP138 deficient mice are prone to develop obesity and insulin resistance. They discovered that CDP138 is a factor involved in the regulation of fat browning, energy metabolism, and insulin sensitivity through controlling sympathetic nervous function and the transmission of adrenergic signals. Per the editors’ comment, “These findings provide the first evidence that CDP138 affects energy balance and insulin sensitivity through the transmission of adrenergic signals.”
Dr. Jiang, is Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, at Boston University School of Medicine, and a member of the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University. He is the Director of the Laboratory of Diabetes and Obesity Research.
Congratulations to Dr. Jiang and his group on this important discovery.
Marc Vittoria, M.D./Ph.D. Graduate Student in the Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology, has been awarded an F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Cancer Institute. Marc’s thesis research, “Defining Novel Mechanisms of Genome Instability in BRAF-mutant Melanoma,” is being carried out in the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology under the mentorship of Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D., Assistant Professor. The F30 award is the M.D./Ph.D. equivalent of the F31 Award for Ph.D. graduate students. It will provide funding support for Marc’s research for 5 years.
Congratulations, Marc, on a job well done!
Alissa Frame and Franco Puleo Receive 2018 Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award
Alissa Frame and Franco Puleo, Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate students are recipients of 2018 Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Awards by The American Physiological Society. They will formally receive their awards at the 2018 Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in San Diego in late April.
Alissa and Franco are conducting the Ph.D. thesis research in the Laboratory for Cardiovascular-Renal Research in Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, under the mentorship of Richard D. Wainford, Ph.D.
Congratulations on your awards, Alissa and Franco!
Kevin Clayton has been awarded an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging. The title of his Ph.D. thesis research is “TREM12-TYROBP coupling modulation for the reduction of Alzheimer’s-mediated neuroinflammation: a novel pharmacologic therapy.” Kevin, a Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate student, is conducting his thesis research in the Laboratory of Molecular NeuroTherapeutics under the mentorship of Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D./Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology.
Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, has been named as one of the four 2018 Spivack Scholars and one of the two recipients of the 2018 Jack Spivack Excellence in Neuroscience Award at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Ikezu, Director of the Laboratory of Molecular NeuroTherapeutics in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to neuroscience research into neurodegenerative diseases, most especially for his groundbreaking studies on Alzheimer’s disease.
Congratulations, Dr. Ikezu!
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”
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.”