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Appointments

Joseph Cheer, PhD
Associate Professor,
Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Dr. Cheer has been appointed as a Visiting Professor for 2015 at the University of Cagliari in Cagliari, Italy where he will study the effects of dopamine and addictive disorders.

Adam C. Puche, PhD
Professor
Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Dr. Puche was appointed Chair of the Maryland State Anatomy Board, effective May 25, 2018.  The State Anatomy Board is an arm of the Maryland Department of Health and serves as the governing body for the statewide anatomic donor program.

Grants

Donna Calu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Five-year $1,931,250 (total costs) R01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine the “Role of basolateral amygdala projections in mediating individual differences in motivation and flexibility.” 
  • Three-year, $300,000 McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award for her investigation of “Individual Differences in Attention Signaling in Amygdala Circuits.”
  • Two-year $70,000 2016 Young Investigator Grant from The Brain and Behavior Research Fund, for her investigation of the “Role of amygdala projections in incubation of fear and drug craving.”

Ramesh Chandra, PhD
Research Associate, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Two-year, $70,000 2015 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant titled "Cell Subtype Molecular Mechanisms of Mitochondria Dynamics in Depression."

Joseph Cheer, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Five-year $2,200,000 R01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine the long-term consequences of Ritalin and marijuana exposure in adolescence.
  • Edith Hernandez, STAR PREP scholar was awarded an additional year of STAR-PREP funding to work in the lab of Dr. Cheer. “The Science Training for Advancing Biomedical Research Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (STAR-PREP), is a 1-year mentored research training program designed to encourage and prepare recent baccalaureate graduates coming from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences for successful entry into top-notch graduate programs.

Daniel Covey, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Joseph Cheer, PhD,
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Three-year, $183,234, National Research Service Award (NRSA) for his project titled: Endocannabinoid regulation of dopamine function and reinforcement, start date 2/13/17.

Reha S. Erzurumlu, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and
Elizabeth M. Powell, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Five-year $2,475,313 R01 grant from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for “Thalamocortical circuit defects in developmental brain disorders.”  The goal of the project is to define sensory thalamocortical synaptic defects in mouse models of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Megan Fox, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Mary Kay Lobo, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Received a three-year $172,926 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health for "Molecular mechanisms of dendritic remodeling in depression" effective 2/13/18.

Asaf, Keller, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

MPowering The State, a collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), has recently funded a comprehensive initiative to address the opioid emergency that is ravaging families and communities in the State of Maryland, an emergency that has culminated in a recent declaration by the Governor of a statewide epidemic. Unparalleled rates of widespread opioid prescription have caused this nationwide surge in individuals afflicted with opioid use disorder, but the epidemic has also been fueled by other factors, including a lack of available alternatives for pain management, and the advent of new and cheaper street opioids.

The initiative, "Opioid Use Disorders", is headed by Asaf Keller, PhD (UMB) and Eric Wish, PhD (UMCP). It capitalizes on unique strengths within the sister campuses: Preclinical expertise unique to each campus—developmental biology, cellular imaging at UMCP and advanced electrophysiology and neurochemistry at UMB—will be complemented with clinical expertise at UMB (in neonatology, addiction, and pain treatment) with drug policy, addiction, and epidemiology expertise at UMCP. A pivotal component of this initiative is the development and implementation of education programs for health and community professionals and students. Research efforts will focus on novel approaches to reduce addiction in chronic pain patients; Studying the consequences of exposure to opioids in early life, and developing approaches to reduce such exposure; Developing epidemiological tools for real-time monitoring of opioid use across the State; Developing policy recommendations based on this research. This program aims to establish lasting collaborative relationships that will mature into a cross-campus organized research for the study, prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders. August 2017.

Iris Lindberg, PhD,
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Five-year R01 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) entitled “Opioid Peptide Synthesizing Enzymes” for 2.1 million dollars (total costs), Start date: July 2017.
  • Two-year, $456,663 grant from NIH and the National Institute on Aging for "The Secretory Chaperone 7B2 as Endogenous Regulator of Amyloid Pathology.”

Shaolin Liu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Five-year $1,304,750 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders for “Functional Mechanisms Underlying the Intrabulbar Associational Circuit in the Olfactory System.”

Mary Kay Lobo, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Two-year $60,000 start-up research grant from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation for "Genetics and physiology of ventral pallidum microcircuits."
  • Tree-year $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation on "Focused electrical stimulator for targeted neuromodulation.”
  • Three-year $250,000IMHRO Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award for “Stabilizing neuronal architecture for Depression therapeutics.”
  • Five-year, $1,918,750 R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for "The Neurocircuitry of Depression: Molecular and Cell Subtype Mechanisms”.
  • Five-year, $1,918,750 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for "Cell Subtype Transcriptional Mechanisms in Cocaine Addition.”
  • Two-year, $401,428 Cutting Edge Basic Research Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for "Light activated CRISPR epigenome editing in cocaine abuse," March 1, 2018.

Dennis Sparta, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Three-year, $736,215 continuation award for a K99 grant from the NIH and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for "The Role of the BNST to VTA Neural Circuit in Binge Alcohol Consumption."

Jennifer Wenzel, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Joseph Cheer, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Two-year, $115,542, National Research Service Award (NRSA) for her project titled “Neural Regulation of Cocaine Valuation By Adolescent Cannabinoid Exposure,” start date 3/9/2016.

Natalie Zlebnik, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Joseph Cheer, PhD,
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Three-year, $183,234, National Research Service Award (NRSA) for her project titled: Endocannabinoid regulation of corticostriatal network activity in an animal model of cocaine relapse," start date 1/25/18.

Events & Lectures

Reha Erzurumlu, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Dr. Erzurumlu has been selected to give the 2015 EFEM (European Federation for Experimental Morphology) lecture at the XXIV International Symposium on Morphological Sciences (ISMS), to be held September 2nd-6th, 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Presented a plenary lecture on "Neocortical Excitation/Inhibition Balance in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Potential Pharmacological Intervention" at the 24th National Pharmacology Congress, October 17-20, 2017 in Trabzon Turkey.

Mary Kay Lobo, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Dr. Lobo was selected as one of ten early career investigators from across the world to represent the U.S. and participate in a Future Leaders group at the 11th Annual Science and Technology in Society forum, held in Kyoto, Japan in October.

Iris Lindberg, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Dr. Lindberg gave a talk at the Protein Processing, Trafficking and Secretion Gordon Conference entitled “PCSK1 and proSAAS in Human Disease" in July 2018.  At this same meeting she ran the Power Hour, designed to help address the challenges women face in science and support the professional growth of women.

Honors & Awards

Donna Calu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • 2016 Outstanding Young Scientist Award by the Maryland Academy of Sciences and the Maryland Science Center.

Joseph Cheer, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Received the "Postdoctoral Mentor Award" at the 2017 Graduate Program in Life Sciences & Office of Postdoctoral Scholars Annual Awards Ceremony.

Mary Kay Lobo, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Honored by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
  • Will present on her IMHRO/ Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award proposal at the 22nd IMHRO Music Festival for Brain Health in Napa Valley, CA on September 17, 2016.

Adam C. Puche, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Received the Student Council Award for Best Pre-clinical Faculty from the University of Maryland School of Medicine Class of 2018, presented at the University of Maryland School of Medicine graduation ceremony at the Hippodrome Theatre, May 17, 2018.
  • Received the 2018 Pass and Susel Medical Education Tool Chest Award from the Pass and Susel Academy of Educational Excellence, presented at the Twelfth Annual Medical Student Awards Ceremony and Dinner, May 16, 2018.
  • Student Council Award for Pre-Clinical Faculty from the University of Maryland School of Medicine Class of 2017. Dr. Puche is course director of Structure and Development, the 1st year medical course instructing anatomy, histology and embryology to the medical class. The award was received at the University of Maryland School of Medicine graduation ceremony at the Hippodrome Theatre.
  • Pre-clinical Golden Apple award by the University of Maryland School of Medicine Class of 2016 and was also selected to be one of the Hooding faculty members at the class’s graduation ceremony held at the Hippodrome. Dr. Puche is Course Director of Structure and Development, the 1st year medical course instructing anatomy, histology and embryology to the medical class.
  • Featured in the cover story Anatomy: Crossroad in Medical Education in the spring 2016 issue of Medicine Bulletin. The article discusses the significant ways in which anatomical instruction has changed in the last few years – from classical lists of structures to training that is more interactive and clinically oriented.  As the focus has changed so have the teaching modalities. Anatomy now uses “smart dissection tables” each equipped with a touch panel computer containing a wealth information all of which can be accessed with a touch of a finger.

Publications

Ilia V. Baskakov, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and Center for Biomedical Engineering and Technology

  • Senior author on "Reversible off and on switching of prion infectivity via removing and reinstalling prion sialylation" in Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 33119 (2016).
  • Last author, along with Iris Lindberg, PhD, Professor and Mervin J. Monteiro, PhD, Professor, all from the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology were among the co-authors on "Cross-seeding of prions by aggregated alpha-synuclein leads to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy," PLoS Pathog. 2017, Aug 10; 13(8):PMID 28797122, PMCID: PMC5567908.

Donna Calu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Senior author on, “Disconnection of basolateral amygdala and insular cortex disrupts conditioned approach in Pavlovian lever autoshaping.” In Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2017 Nov 21;147:35-45.

Joseph F. Cheer, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • Senior author on “Compromised Dopaminergic Encoding of Reward Accompanying Suppressed Willingness to Overcome High Effort Costs is a Prominent Prodromal Characteristic of the Q175 Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease” which was chosen for the featured comment "Dopamine Reduction May Underlie Apathy in Huntington’s” in the Journal of Neuroscience, May 4, 2016; Vol. 36, No. 18.
  • Was the Corresponding Author on "Endocannabinoid Actions on Cortical Terminals Orchestrate Local Modulation of Dopamine Release in the Nucleus Accumbens." The data, a result of collaborative work with the NIH, expands our understanding of the neurotransmitter dopamine, implicated in addiction and schizophrenia, and proposes a novel target for the effects of marijuana. It was published in one of the top neuroscience journals Neuron, 96: 1112-1126, December 6, 2017.
  • Was the senior author and Daniel Covey, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Cheer, was the first author on the coauthored publication “Inhibition of endocannabinoid degradation rectifies motivational and dopaminergic deficits in the Q175 mouse model of Huntington’s disease,” in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, June 01, 2018. 

Reha Erzurumlu, PhD
Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Co-authored a research paper on “A mutant with bilateral whisker to barrel inputs unveils somatosensory mapping rules in the cerebral cortex” published in Elife March 28, 2017.
  • Edited a special issue of Experimental Neurology on “CNS Consequences of Neonatal Peripheral Injury.” January 2016, Vol 275, Part 2

Reha Erzurumlu, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and
Yu Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, UMCP

  • Co-senior authors on “In Vivo Mesoscopic Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging of Brain Activation” in Nature-Scientific Reports, 2016, April 29, 6:25269.  Their studies were partly funded by the UMB-UMCP seed grant.
  • Co-senior authors on “In Vivo Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging of Subcortical Function” in Nature-Scientific Reports, 2015, November 27, 5:17325. The studies were funded by the UMB-UMCP seed grant.

Iris Lindberg, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Senior author on “The neural chaperone proSAAS blocks α-synuclein fibrillation and neurotoxicity.” Proc Natl. Acad Sci., 2016 Aug 9;113(32):E4708-15.
  • Senior author and Timothy S. Jarvela, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, both in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology were among the co-authors on "Functional analysis of PCSK2 coding variants: a founder effect in the Old Order Amish population,"  Diabetes Res. and Clinical Practice, (2017) 131,82-90. PMID:28719828.
  • And Timothy S Jarvela, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Lindberg's lab, were the lead authors on “7B2 chaperone knockout in APP model mice results in reduced plaque burden.” In Scientific Reports, 2018 Jun 28;8(1):9813. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-28031-7. PMID: 29955078.

Mary Kay Lobo, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • along with members of her lab - Ramesh Chandra, PhD, Research Associate and Michel Engeln, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, were among the coauthors of “Drp1 Mitochondrial Fission in D1 Neurons Mediates Behavioral and Cellular Plasticity during Early Cocaine Abstinence” in Neuron on December 20, 2017.

Frank Margolis, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

  • was among the co-authors on "The Spatio-Temporal Segregation of GAD Forms Defines Distinct GABA Signaling Functions in the Developing Mouse” in Developmental Neurobiology, 2014 Aug 14 [Epub ahead of print].

Michael T. Shipley, Ph.D
Donald E. Wilson Distinguished Professor and Chairman, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Senior author on “The Interglomerular Circuit Potently Inhibits Olfactory Bulb Output Neurons by Both Direct and Indirect Pathways” in the Journal of Neuroscience, 2016 36(37):9604-9617.
  • Among the co-authors on “Cell type-specific modulation of sensory responses in olfactory bulb circuits by serotonergic projections from the raphe nuclei” in The Journal of Neuroscience, 2016 36:6820-6835.

Michael Shipley, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and
Adam Puche, PhD, Associate Professors, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

  • Co-authors on "Cholinergic Inputs From Basal Forebrain Add an Excitatory Bias to Odor Coding in the Olfactory Bulb" in Journal of Neuroscience, 2014;34(14):4654-64. They were also co-authors on Chapter 27, "The Olfactory System," in The Rat Nervous System, Edition 4 (G. Paxinos, Ed), 2014, and were among the co-authors on "Role of Intraglomerular Circuits in Shaping Temporally Structured Responses to Naturalistic Inhalation-Driven Sensory Input to the Olfactory Bulb" in Journal of Neurophysiology, 2015 February 25.

Vassiliy Tsytsarev, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and
Reha Erzurumlu, PhD, Professors, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

New Faculty

Meredith McHugh, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

Dr. McHugh joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology as an Assistant Professor in May 2018. Dr McHugh received her PhD in Psychology from Griffith University, Australia in 2010. Later that year she moved to Baltimore where she completed a 4.5-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program (NIDA-IRP).  During her time at NIDA-IRP Dr McHugh identified several neural circuits and large-scale brain networks involved in relapse to drug use following treatment. Dr McHugh returned to Australia in 2015 to pursue a Masters in Social Work. During this time, she completed clinical training and held a postdoctoral appointment at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. Her training and research focused on young people at Ultra-High-Risk for psychosis. In her current appointment Dr McHugh will support and develop an ongoing research program addressing the prevention and management of Opioid Use Disorders.

Hiroyuki Arakawa, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

Dr. Arakawa, an expert in rodent behavior, joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in March 2018 as an Assistant Professor.  Dr. Arakawa was the Director of the Rodent Behavioral Core at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine since 2014.  He completed his Ph.D. at Nagoya University, Japan, in 2006, and postdoctoral training at several institutions including the University of Hawaii at Manoa (2005-2007), Binghamton University (2007-2010), and the University of Maryland School of Medicine(2010-2013).

Fuwen Zhou, BM, MM, Dr. rer. nat. 
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Dr. Zhou joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology as an Assistant Professor in May 2017.  Dr. Zhou received his Dr. rer. nat. (in Cell Biology) from the University of Rostock, Germany in 2005. From 2005-2008, he was a post-doctoral fellow and research associate at the University of Tennessee.  Dr. Zhou studies basal ganglia, cortex and olfactory bulb neural circuits mainly using patch clamp electrophysiological, optogenetical, chemogenetical, immunohistological and stereotaxic techniques to investigate the neuroelectrophysiology of different neuronal types in different brain regions (mainly olfactory bulb and cortex), and the pathophysiology of these neurons in neurological disorders. 

Donna Calu, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Dr. Calu received her BS in Biology from University of Maryland, College Park in 2004. In 2010, she received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. After her postdoctoral fellowship with the National Institute on Drug Abuse under an Intramural Research Training Award from 2010–2011, she served as NIH’s first Early Independent Scientist from 2011–2015.

Dennis Sparta, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Dr. Sparta received his BA from Rutgers University in 2002. In 2004, he received his MA in Biological Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience there in 2007. He has held fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco from 2008-2010 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2010-2014.

Other Achievements

Mary Kay Lobo, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and colleagues’ investigation into the role that the Slc6a15 gene plays in depression was featured in the Sunday July 30, 2017 issue of The Baltimore Sun, Medicine & Science Section, pg.8.

"Anatomy  Education in 3D – Dr. Adam Puche, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Course Director for Structure and Development, in collaboration with the Health and Human Services Library is piloting access for students to 3D print anatomic models and to use 3D virtual reality in the teaching of anatomy. The ability to 3D print anatomically accurate models, along with 3D virtual reality, is opening the door to new ways to enrich the learning experience of studying anatomy in the School of Medicine.  For more detail see the HS/HSL Innovation Space News Bulletin, August, 2017.