A new article published in Neuropsychopharmacology announces the discovery of a new therapeutic target to block binge eating by researchers in the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders (LAD). The research of Drs. Pietro Cottone and Valentina Sabino, directors and co-principal investigators of the LAD, is focused on unraveling the neurobiological mechanisms of motivated behaviors, such as drug addiction, stress-related disorders, and depression. The study provides new hope to approximately 15 million people who suffer from binge eating, obesity, and other eating disorders.
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!
Dr. Laurie Glimcher, incoming President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, spoke to WBUR’s CommonHealth regarding the Future of Cancer Research.
Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, received the Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award for Alzheimer’s Research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Toronto, Ontario, July 24-28, 2016 and is one of two Boston University faculty members to receive a grant from the BrightFocus Foundation. Dr. Ikezu, whose research focuses on molecular therapeutic intervention of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, gave a plenary lecture at the conference.
The Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award for Alzheimer’s Research recognizes the senior author of the most impactful study on the biology of Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions published during the two calendar years preceding AAIC. The selected paper is “Depletion of microglia and inhibition of exosome synthesis halt tau propagation,” (Nature Neuroscience 2015 Nov;18(11):1584-93).
Dr. Inge Grundke-Iqbal, an internationally renowned neuroscientist, made a milestone discovery in the 1980’s: that abnormal hyperphosphorylation microtubule-associated protein tau is the building block in paired helical filaments (PHFs)/neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the Alzheimer’s brain. This seminal discovery has contributed greatly to our overall understanding of neurodegeneration and led to major advances in Alzheimer’s research.
The BrightFocus Foundation has awarded Dr. Ikezu $300,000 for his research on the TREM2 molecule to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The BrightFocus grant award and Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award both attest to the fact that Dr. Ikezu’s stellar work is pushing the boundaries of Alzheimer’s research.
We congratulate Dr. Ikezu on being selected for the prestigious Inge Grundke-Iqbal Award for Alzheimer’s Research and the BrightFocus grant award.
Dr. David Farb was the featured speaker at a sold-out Science on Screen presentation of “Embrace of the Serpent” at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. This stunning film is based on the real-life journals of Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes and their quest through the Columbian Amazon for the sacred and rare Yakruna plant. The film focuses on their encounter with Karamakate, a shaman and the last survivor of his people, with whom they forge a profound friendship over 40 years and learn ancient lessons in the sacred and medicinal powers of plants.
As a neuropharmacologist, Dr. Farb’s presentation focused on the use of plants, particularly hallucinogens, by shaman throughout history and how these “entheogens” were subsequently studied and at times even exploited following their discovery by western scientists in the 20th century.
Science on Screen is supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation with additional support from Gesmer Updegrove LLP, Rubin Anders Scientific, and Ken Loveday and Ellen Hoffman, Brookline, and co-presented by the Museum of Science.
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.
Congratulations to our 2016 Program in Bimolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. and M.D., Ph.D. graduating class. Well done!
Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D., Advisor
Richard D. Wainford, Ph.D., Advisor
Shelley J. Russek, Ph.D., Advisor
Rachel L. Flynn, Ph.D. Advisor
Howard Eichenbaum, Ph.D., Advisor
Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D.
Kristin Elizabeth Hokenson, Ph.D.
Shelley J. Russek, Ph.D., Advisor
Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D., Advisor
Kavitha Sugunan, Ph.D.
David H. Farb, Ph.D., Advisor
Richard D. Wainford, Ph.D., Advisor
Neema Yazdani, a Ph.D. graduate student in the Program in Bimolecular Pharmacology at Boston University, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health. The title of his proposal is “Functional mechanisms of Hnrnph1 in methamphetamine addictive behaviors.” His training under this award includes characterizing differences in methamphetamine (MA) reward and volitional administration in Hnrnph1+/- mice through behavioral assessments including conditioned place preference (CPP) and operant oral self-administration. He will also investigate the neurobiological mechanisms underlying reduced MA sensitivity and reward in my Hnrnph1+/- mice using brain tissue immunohistochemistry, RNA-seq, and in vivo micro dialysis.
Neema is co-sponsored for the award by Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry and Director of the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics and Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology and Director of the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration. Neema will spend the upcoming summer training in operant oral self-administration and in vivo microdialysis in the laboratory of Karen K. Szumlinski, Ph.D., at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Kudos to Neema on receiving this prestigious and highly competitive predoctoral fellowship award!
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!
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.