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Department Buzz

Cover of SOMnewsWhat's the Buzz at the UMSOM?

SOMnews, the official newsletter of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, features stories about the outstanding achievements of School of Medicine faculty in the clinical, education and research arenas.

Part of SOMnewsThe Buzz is a self reported publication highlighting important grants and contracts, journal publications and awards by our faculty. Delivered by hard copy and email, The Buzz features "What's on My Mind," a monthly message from Dean Reece.

SOMnews and Buzz Archives


Honors & Awards

Sara Keefer, Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Donna Calu

  • Received the 2021 Michael Shipley Postdoctoral Award. The award recognizes Dr. Keefer’s critical thinking and passion for continued learning in neuroscience as well as her outstanding research and accomplishments. This award memorializes Dr. Michael Shipley, former chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and founder of the Program in Neuroscience at UMB. The award, which includes an engraved award and $1,000 honorarium, is given by the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Office of Postdoctoral Scholars and will be presented at the annual Program in Neuroscience retreat on August 27, 2021.

Donna Calu

  • Joined the editorial board, in May 2020, as review editor, for Decision Neuroscience, including Frontiers in Neuroscience and Frontiers in Psychology.
  • Was honored by President Trump, in July 2019, 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.

Mary Kay Lobo

  • Was recently appointed a Reviewing Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience, the official journal for the Society for Neuroscience.
  • Was 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.

Iris Lindberg

  • Was elected an AAAS Fellow in recognition of her achievements in advancing science.  The announcement was made on November 27, 2018.  The induction ceremony will be held at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. on February 16, 2019.

Adam C. Puche

  • Received a $600,000 award for 2020, from the Maryland Department of Health. The award is titled “COVID-19 Temporary Mortuary Affairs Center (TMAC) Operational Support”. Adam is the Director of Operations under the Maryland Mass Fatality Plan, whose task is to manage unexpected fatality levels. The goal is to prevent events and images that we saw from New York City, of bodies in trailer trucks and laying on the street. This operation ensures that none of this occurs in Maryland.
  • Was a recipient of the 2020 University of Maryland Golden Apple from the graduating medical Class of 2020 and was inducted into the Pass and Susel Academy of Teaching Excellence.
  • Was a recipient of the 2019 University of Maryland System Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is the highest honor that the Board of Regents bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. Dr. Puche was presented the award at the Board of Regents meeting on April 19, 2019.

Marco Venniro

  • Was selected as a Travel Awardee for the 2021 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Annual Meeting. He was selected by the ACNP Education and Training Committee to receive this award for the ACNP’s 60th annual meeting which will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 5-8, 2021.

Grants

Asaf Keller

  • Was among the recipients of a $200,000/year UMCP & UMB - Artificial Intelligence + Medicine for High Impact (AIM-HI) Challenge Award for “Precision Therapy for Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome,” effective February 15, 2020.
  • Received a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH NINDS), titled "Serotonin and Pain Modulation," effective June 1, 2019.

Adam Puche

  • Received a 5 year, mPI R01 grant “Brain-selective estrogen therapy for menopausal hot flushes in an advanced translational animal model,” with Istvan Merchenthaler.

Donna Calu

  • Sam Bacharach, Graduate Student, Program in Neuroscience, in the laboratory of Donna Calu received a three-year, $38,376 Predoctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) for "The Role of Cannabinoid Receptor-1 in Modulating Addiction Vulnerability." Joseph Cheer, Professor, was co-sponsor.
  • 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 the incubation of fear and drug craving.”

Ramesh Chandra

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

Joseph Cheer

  • Received a five-year, $2,213,950, competing continuation R01 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for “Endogenous Cannabinoid Control of Reward Substrates.” Start date: 7/1/2021.
  • Received a five-year, $1,738,125 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) for “Cannabinoid Receptor Control of a DRN to VTA Pathway and its Role in the Affective States,” effective March 1, 2019.  Also within Dr. Cheer's lab, Dan Covey, Assistant Professor, was awarded a $1,051,544 K99/R00 award from the NIDA/NIH for “Neural Circuit Control of Mesolimbic Dopamine and Reward,” effective February 2019.
  • 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.

Reha S. Erzurumlu

  • Received a five-year, $2,500,000 renewal of his existing R01 grant “Consequences of developmental defects in somatosensory map formation” from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS/NIH).
  • Received a one-year $381,304 supplement to his existing R01 grant, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for “Thalamocortical circuit defects in developmental brain disorders,” effective September 1, 2019.
  • Received a five-year $2,475,313 R01 grant, along with Dr. Elizabeth Powell, 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 E. FoxPostdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Mary Kay Lobo

  • Received a two-year K99 $351,584 award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for "Circuit-Specific Molecular Mechanisms in Fentanyl Use and Relapse," effective April 1, 2020.

Iris Lindberg

  • Supplement for NIH grant from the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative funds  The parent grant is titled: Cyto-ProSAAS Chaperone Action in Alzheimer's Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia.
  • Five-year $2.6 million (direct costs) grant, along with Dr. Nigel Maidment, Co-PI, (UCLA), effective February 1, 2019, from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) for “ProSAAS-mediated neuroprotective mechanisms in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases: The role of secretory chaperones in neurodegeneration.”
  • Five-year R01 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) entitled “Opioid Peptide Synthesizing Enzymes” for 2.1 million dollars (total costs).
  • 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

  • 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

  • Cali Calarco, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Mary Kay Lobo, PhD, received a partial year, $44,260, Postdoctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) to study “The Influence of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator - 1 Alpha (PGC-1a) on the Nucleus Accumbens During Cocaine-Self-Administration.” Joseph Cheer, PhD, is co-sponsor.
  • Eric Choi, PhD Student in the Graduate Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, currently working in the laboratory of Mary Kay Lobo, PhD, received a three-year, $114,849 F31 Predoctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) to study “Cell Subtype Transcriptional Role of Nab2 in Cocaine Self Administration."
  • U01 grant from NIDA. This large Cooperative Agreement is titled "Heroin-Induced genomic regulation of Ventral Pallidum neuron subtypes".
  • Five-year $1,617,772 RO1 award from the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) for "Cell Subtype Mechanisms Underlying Stress Susceptibility and Resilience," effective April 1, 2020.
  • Five-year $2,171,420 grant, effective February 1, 2019, from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for “Ventral pallidum molecular mediators in cocaine addiction.”
  • 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.”

Dennis Sparta

  • Received a five-year $1,125,000 (direct costs) grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for the project “CRF Neural Circuits of Binge Drinking,” effective, April 12, 2019.
  • Received a 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."

Natalie Zlebnik

  • $1,061,248 K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Grant, effective August 1, 2019, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) for “Effects of exercise on dopaminergic mechanisms of cocaine relapse.”

Publications

Michy P. Kelly, PhD, Associate Professor, was senior author of “Aging Triggers an Upregulation of a Multitude of Cytokines in the Male and Especially the Female Rodent Hippocampus but More Discrete Changes in Other Brain Regions,” which published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation on September 22, 2021.

Michy P. Kelly, PhD, Associate Professor, was senior author of “A Genetic Basis for Friendship? Homophily for Membrane-Associated PDE11A-cAMP-CREB Signaling in CA1 of Hippocampus Dictates Mutual Social Preference in Male and Female Mice,” which was published in Molecular Psychiatry on July 28, 2021.

Olga Bocharova, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Kara Molesworth, Laboratory Specialist, Narayan Pandit, Aidan Fisher, and Olga Mychko, Laboratory Technicians, Natallia Makarava, Research Associate and Ilia Baskakov, PhD, Professor, were the authors of “Alzheimer’s Disease-Associated β-Amyloid does not Protect Against Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Infection in the Mouse Brain,” which was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) in July 2021. The publication was selected for the JBC Editors' Pick and covered by ALZFORUM.ORG

Dan Covey, PhD, former Assistant Professor, Edith Hernandez, former Medical Scientist Training Program student, Miguel Lujan, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, all in the laboratory of Joseph Cheer, PhD, Professor,  were the authors of “Chronic Augmentation of Endocannabinoid Levels Persistently Increases Dopaminergic Encoding of Reward Cost and Motivation,” which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience on July 6, 2021.

Manita Shakya, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow and Iris Lindberg, PhD, Professor, were respective first and senior authors on “Mice Lacking PC1/3 Expression in POMC-Expressing Cells Do Not Develop Obesity,” which was published in Endocrinology on March 10, 2021. The paper was selected as a featured article and the authors were invited to submit a mini-review on “Obesity, POMC, and POMC-processing enzymes” on the basis of the article.

Shannon Cole, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Ramesh Chandra, PhD, Assistant Professor, and Mary Kay Lobo, PhD, Professor, were respective co-first and senior authors on “Cocaine-Induced Neuron Subtype Mitochondrial Dynamics through Egr3 Transcriptional Regulation,” which was published in Molecular Brain on June 29, 2021.

Sheila Engi, PhD, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, first author, and Natalie Zlebnik, PhD, Assistant Professor, senior author, both in the laboratory of Joseph Cheer, PhD, Professor, were among the co-authors of “Cocaine-induced Increases in Motivation Require 2-arachidonoylglycerol Mobilization and CB1 Receptor Activation in the Ventral Tegmental Area,” which will appear in the August 1, 2021 issue of Neuropharmacology Special Issue on Cannabinoids.

A highly informative review by Donna Calu and her trainees, Keefer & Gyawali, on projections between BLA and its cortical and striatal targets central to decision-making, and their role in substance use disorder.  

The Packard Center highlighted Mervyn Monteiro's recent work, showing that increasing the expression of the UBQLN1 gene in a UBQLN2 mouse model of ALS/FTD helped to alleviate some of the behavioral and molecular signs of disease

Iris Lindberg and Manita Shakya were the authors of “Mouse Models of Human Proprotein Convertase Insufficiency,” which was published in Endocrine Reviews on December 31, 2020.

Vassiliy Tsytsarev and Reha Erzurumlu were among the co-authors of “In Vivo Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging of Mouse Cortical Activity with Mesoscopic Optical Tomography,” which was published in Neurophotonics on December 2, 2020. 

Megan Fox, Antonio Figueiredo, Miriam S Menken and Mary Kay Lobo new manuscript: "Dendritic spine density is increased on nucleus accumbens D2 neurons after chronic social defeat". Sci Rep 10: 12393, 2020. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-69339-7

Schneider KN, Sciarillo XA, Nudelman JL, Cheer JF, Roesch MR. Anterior Cingulate Cortex Signals Attention in a Social Paradigm that Manipulates Reward and Shock]. Curr Biol. 2020;S0960-9822(20)31031-9. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.07.039

Donna Calu, and her team of talented trainees, published a paper showing that inputs from the amygdala to accumbens differentially regulate behaviors in sign- and goal-tracking rats. The paper appeared in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

A review article by Reha Erzurumlu and Patricia Gaspar “How the barrel cortex became a working model for developmental plasticity. A historical perspective,” commemorating 50 years of the first publication on the barrel cortex in 1970 is in the press, in a special issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Society for Neuroscience.

A review article, "Secreted Chaperones in Neurodegeneration", by Kriti Chaplot, Tim Jarvela, and Iris Lindberg, was just accepted in Frontiers in Aging Neuros

Donna Calu and her student, Utsav Gyawali, were senior and lead authors, respectively, together with others from the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and collaborators at NIDA, on a study entitled “Role of BNST CRFR1 receptors in the incubation of fentanyl seeking” that will be published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Natallia Makarava, Jennifer Chen-Yu Chang, Kara Molesworth, and Ilia V. Baskakov were authors of “Posttranslational modifications define the course of prion strain adaptation and disease phenotype,” which was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 2, 2020, 10.1172/JCI138677.

Donna Calu and David Martin, along with others, were senior and lead authors, respectively on “Effects of 5-HT 2A Receptor Stimulation on Economic Demand for Fentanyl After Intermittent and Continuous Access Self-Administration in Male Rats,” in Addiction Biology, 2020 May 26; e12926. doi: 10.1111/adb.12926. Online ahead of print.

Michel Engeln and Mary Kay Lobo, along with Ronna Hertzano were among the authors of “Individual Differences in Stereotypy and Neuron Subtype Translatome With TrkB Deletion,” published in Molecular Psychiatry on May 4, 2020.