Category: Student Spotlight
Neema Yazdani is one of two graduate students selected for the 2015 “Outstanding Graduate Student Travel Award” for the 17th Annual International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS) Meeting in Uppsala, Sweden. Neema is a third year PhD candidate and Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology student in the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics under the mentorship of Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry. As a recipient of this award, Neema is invited to present his research as an oral presentation titled, “Hnrnph1 is a quantitative trait gene for methamphetamine sensitivity”. Neema’s efforts in generating and phenotyping TALENs-targeted Hnrnph1 knockout mice combined with striatal transcriptome analysis via RNA-seq led to the identification of Hnrnph1 as a novel quantitative trait gene involved in the stimulant response to methamphetamine. His transcriptome results suggest that Hnrnph1 could regulate the neural development of the mesocorticolimbic circuitry which would have widespread implications for understanding the etiology of a variety of neurobiological disorders involving a dysregulation of dopamine transmission.
Joon Y. Boon, a graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics in the joint Biomolecular Pharmacology and Biomedical Neuroscience Prorgam, has won the Perdana Scholar Award from the Malaysian Department of Education.
This prestigious honor, awarded to Malaysian national students studying in the United States, “aims to identify, document, promote, and award Malaysian students who have excelled in areas such as academic, leadership, sports, entrepreneurship, inventions, and research.” The Perdana Award specifically honors a student who has attained the highest overall level of achievement.
Joon will fly to New York City later this month to receive the award in person from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib. Hat’s off to Joon Y. and her mentor for this amazing achievement! Congratulations!
Iriny Ekladious, a second year PhD student in the joint Biomedical Engineering and Biomolecular Pharmacology Program, was recently awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
The program “recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students” pursuing graduate degrees in various NSF-supported programs across the country and “has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.”
This year alone, the National Science Foundation received over 14,000 competitive applications and only made 2,000 fellowship award offers. The chosen fellows “are anticipated to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.”
Iriny was also recently recognized for her service to the Boston University community as a Resident Assistant for Boston University’s Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) specialty housing. In an effort to create more support for women planning to major in STEM programs, BU opened a specialty community residence.
“It’s important to have a community of other women when you’re studying in the STEM fields,” says resident assistant Iriny Ekladious (ENG’17), a second year graduate student. “It can be intimidating, and women often feel outnumbered. Having a community like this gives students confidence and empowers them to say, ‘I’m good at this and I can do this,’ despite all the hurdles.”
Iriny’s dissertation work involves synthesizing, characterizing, and assessing the efficacy of pH-sensitive expansile nanoparticles for the local delivery of chemotherapeutic agents under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Grinstaff in the Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology.
We are thrilled that Iriny has been recognized for extraordinary contributions in the engineering and field and for her exemplary leadership serving undergraduates in the WISE house!
Selected excerpts taken from an article originally published by BU Today on April 16, 2014.
Maya Woodbury was recently awarded the Predoctoral Fellowship in Pharmacology/Toxicology through the PhRMA Foundation. The title of her approved proposal is “miR-155/STAT3 signaling: a novel pharmacological target for Down syndrome.” For this project, she will receive financial support for her research in the amount of $20,000 per year for two years. The Foundation only awards about 10 such grants nationally each year.
According to the PhRMA Foundation’s 2012 Annual Report, “the mission of the PhRMA Foundation is to support young scientists in disciplines important to the pharmaceutical industry by awarding them competitive research fellowships and grants at a critical point at the outset of their careers. The aim is to encourage young scientists who will be the leaders of tomorrow to pursue careers in research and education related to drug discovery.”
Maya is currently a student in the Graduate Program for Neuroscience and the Biomolecular Pharmacology Program through the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine. She works in the Laboratory of Molecular NeuroTherapeutics under the mentorship of Dr. Tsuneya Ikezu.
Kendra Kobrin, M.D., Ph.D. candidate in Pharmacology, received the Carl E. Rosow Award for Pharmacology Education at the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics New Faculty & New Student Reception held on 19 September.
Kendra graduated Summa Cum Laude from Boston University in 2008 with Bachelor degrees in both Psychology and Music. Following graduation, she spent a year as a Research Assistant in the Dermatology Department at Roger Williams Medical Center before enrolling at Boston University School of Medicine. As a second year student in the Disease and Therapy course, Kendra especially excelled in the Neurology and Psychology Modules and joined the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics for her dissertation work shortly thereafter. In 2011 Kendra joined Dr. Gary Kaplan’s laboratory at the VA Hospital in Jamaica Plain, where her research focuses on neuronal morphological changes associated with extinction of opioid use and relapse to drug-seeking behavior in animal models.
Kendra has excelled in both her medical and graduate pharmacology courses, serves as Tutor Coordinator for the Disease and Therapy course, and contributes to Pharmacology orientation and recruitment events. As the 2013 recipient of the Carl E. Rosow Award for Pharmacology Education, Kendra exemplifies the leadership and academic qualities we seek to foster in all of our graduate students. We are proud of Kendra’s accomplishments and enthusiastic about her bright future in research and medicine.
Dr. Carl Rosow, for whom the award is named, is an M.D., Ph.D. graduate of Boston University School of Medicine and Professor of Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. Since 1985 Dr. Rosow has honored his Ph.D. mentor Dr. Joseph Cochin, an internationally recognized authority on opioids, by teaching this subject to medical students in the second-year curriculum and donating his honorarium to the school. The Carl E. Rosow Award for Pharmacology Education serves both to honor graduate students for their excellence in teaching pharmacology and Dr. Rosow for his continued service to his alma mater and its students.
Congratulations to both Dr. Rosow and Kendra Kobrin for the recognition of their unwavering dedication to superior medical education.
Three students in the Biomolecular Pharmacology Program were honored at the 19th Annual Henry I. Russek Day Student Achievement Day Friday, 10 May. These students have distinguished themselves not only as gifted researchers in their mentor’s laboratory but also as dedicated members of their department, program, and surrounding community.
The following Biomolecular Pharmacology students received awards:
First Prize – Robert Freilich
Second Prize – Tara Vanderweyde
Honorable Mention – Tracey Tucker
For more information about the 19th Annual Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Day, please click here.
Hats off to Tara Vanderweyde who has received the 2013 MED Dean’s Award at Boston University Scholar’s Day 2013! Scholar’s Day was open to all graduate students currently engaged in research in a degree-granting program at Boston University. Tara, as well as her advisor, will receive an honorarium for her outstanding poster presentation.
Tara is a fourth-year graduate student in the Ph.D. Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology pursuing research in the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration under the mentorship of Dr. Benjamin Wolozin. Her research with cells, mice, and human tissue investigates the role of stress granules in normal aging as well as in Alzheimer’s Disease.