Category: Student Spotlight
Andrew Ferree has been named as the 2016 recipient of the Joseph Cochin Award in Pharmacology and Medical Ethics at the Student Awards Ceremony held on Friday, March 18, 2016 at Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his Ph.D. dissertation research on “Mitochondria and Autophagy in the Context of Parkinson’s disease” under the mentorship of Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology and Director of the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration. Andrew will earn his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the May 2016 graduation ceremony. Upon graduation from BUSM, he will be starting his internship in internal medicine at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut and will return to Boston Medical Center for his residency in neurology. Andrew’s long term goal is to pursue a career as a physician scientist.
The award is given in memory of Joseph Cochin, M.D., Ph.D, who served for many years on the faculty at BUSM. He was an internationally recognized expert on analgesic drugs, substance abuse, and pain control and held a leadership position for many years on the BMC IRB. The award is given to a student distinguished by high achievement in pharmacology and medical ethics and excellence in research accomplishments.
Congratulations to Andrew on the Joseph Cochin Award in Pharmacology and Medical Ethics and on earning his M.D., Ph.D. degrees!
Catherine Moore and Mariel Seiglie Receive Graduate Student Travel Awards from ASPET for the 2016 Experimental Biology Meeting
Catherine “Cassie” Moore and Mariel Seiglie, both Ph.D. graduate students in the Graduate Program for Neuroscience/Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology, have been selected to receive Graduate Student Travel Awards from the American Society of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). In addition to covering registration fees for the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting, Cassie and Mariel will each receive $1,000 to cover their travel expenses to San Diego. The awards will be presented at the EB 2016 meeting. This important annual meeting hosts over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies and several guest societies. As this meeting is an important showcase for Ph.D. graduate students’ research, the ASPET Travel Award is highly prized.
Both Cassie and Mariel conduct their graduate research in the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders (LAD). Cassie, who is mentored by LAD Co-Director, Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., is investigating how overeating sugar-rich foods may affect mesolimbic dopaminergic reward. Her poster will show how a history of overconsumption of palatable food alters sensitivity to the rewarding and stimulatory effects of amphetamine-like drugs in a phase dependent manner (i.e. during palatable food access and withdrawal).
Mariel is mentored by LAD Co-Director Valentina Sabino, Ph.D. Her graduate research focuses on neuropeptide systems, specifically PACAP-PAC1R, which are involved in medicating the stress response towards acute chronic stressors. Her poster will demonstrate how intra-CeA and intra-BNST PACAP microinfusions can effect stress-like behavior and how the PACAP receptor, PAC1R, is responsible for mediating these effects.
Drs. Cottone and Sabino are internationally renowned for their research on addictive behaviors. The research conducted in the LAD provides important new insights in addictive behavior, especially in overeating and drug addiction. Their work holds great promise in developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of addictive behaviors. Please visit the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders website for more information.
Congratulations, Cassie and Mariel!
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.
Congratulations to Sanghee Lim on being awarded a 2015 Medical Student Research Grant from the Melanoma Research Foundation for his proposal, “Defining Novel Mechanisms of Genome Instability in Melanoma.” The Medical Student Research Grant is awarded for a one-year period in order “to provide opportunities and funding for medical students to engage in short clinical or laboratory-based research projects focused on better understanding the biology and treatment of melanoma.” Sanghee is one of six medical students who received the nationally competitive award this year.
An MD/PhD student Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology, Sanghee is working under the guidance of Dr. Neil Ganem, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine, in the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology at the Shamim and Ashraf Dahod Breast Cancer Research Laboratories. His work is aimed at defining the mechanisms that give rise to chromosome instability in human melanoma. In particular, Sanghee is testing whether activating mutations in the oncogene BRAF, which occur in ~80% of all melanomas, directly promote mitotic defects.
Great job, Sanghee! Keep up the great work.
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.