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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

  • Mary Kay Lobo was recently appointed a Reviewing Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience, the official journal for the Society for Neuroscience.
  • Adam 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.

Multiple Department Members Win Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) Awards 

  • Donna Calu, Assistant Professor wins the Alumnus of the Year Award, Natalie Zlebnik Assistant Professor, the Postdoctoral Fellow Excellence in Mentorship Award, and Carleigh Jenne, Graduate Student in the Master's Program in Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Science (Lab of Asaf Keller, Professor and Interim Chair), the MS Scholar Award. The awards will be presented at the annual GPILS and OPS Awards Ceremony on October 28, 2019.

Donna Calu

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

Mary Kay Lobo

  • 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.
  • 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.

Iris Lindberg

  • Dr. 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

  • Dr. Puche 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.
  • Dr. Puche 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.
  • 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.

Michael T. Shipley

  • Dr. Shipley was elected AAAS Fellow in recognition of his achievements in advancing science. He is being honored for his work on understanding the organization, function, and development of neural circuits using the mammalian olfactory bulb as a model cortical network. The announcement was made on November 7, 2019. The induction ceremony will be held at the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle Washington February 15, 2020.

Natalie Zlebnik

  • Dr. Zlebnik was selected to receive a Travel Fellowship to attend the 2020 Winter Conference on Brain Research in Big Sky, Montana.  As a Panel Travel Fellow Awardee she will receive complimentary registration and a travel reimbursement award of up to $1,000.


Grants

Mary Kay Lobo 

  • U01 grant from NIDA. This large Cooperative Agreement is titled "Heroin-Induced genomic regulation of Ventral Pallidum neuron subtypes".

Sam Bacharach, Graduate Student, Program in Neuroscience in the laboratory of Donna Calu

  • Mr. Bacharach 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, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology was co-sponsor.

Donna Calu

  • 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

  • Dr. Cheer was awarded 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.
  • Dr. Cheer was awarded a 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

  • Dr. 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).
  • Dr. Erzurumlu 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.
  • Dr. Erzurumlu along with Dr. Elizabeth Powell, received a 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 E. Fox
Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Mary Kay Lobo

  • Dr. Fox was the recipient of a two-year K99 $351,584 award from the National Institue on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for "Circuit-Specific Molecular Mechanisms in Fentanyl Use and Relapse."  The award is effective April 1, 2020.

Asaf Keller

  • Dr. 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.”  The award is 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.

Iris Lindberg

  • Dr. Lindberg was awarded a supplement to her 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.
  • Dr. Lindberg along with Dr. Nigel Maidment, Co-PI, (UCLA) was awarded a five-year $2.6 million (direct costs) grant, 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

  • Dr. Lobo received a $1,617,772 five-year RO1 award from the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) for "Cell Subtype Mechanisms Underlying Stress Susceptibility and Resilience." The award is effective April 1, 2020.
  • Dr. Lobo received a 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

  • Dr. 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.
  • 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

  • Was awarded a $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

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.