Academic Program Coordinator
c/o Department of Pharmacology, UTHSCSA
7703 Floyd Curl Dr.
Mail Code: 7764
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
The following faculty members are qualified training faculty in the START-UP program. After review of your application, you may be selected to provide the names of three possible faculty members you would like to serve as your mentor, while you work in their lab. The Program Coordinator will work to secure you an interview with at least two of your preferred mentors.
Note: Please take into consideration not all faculty members may be accepting students at this time.
* Indicates those faculty already mentoring a START-UP student. It is unlikely that a faculty will mentor more than one student at a time.
Michael Beckstead, Ph.D.
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Our lab uses operant self-administration of methamphetamine in rodents to model human drug use, then combines it with patch clamp electrophysiology of dopamine neurons to investigate hypotheses concerning synaptic regulation of drug-related behaviors. Other projects in the lab focus on chronic regulation of synaptic transmission by aging and changes in feeding state.
Manzoor Bhat, M.S., Ph.D.
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Those in Dr. Bhat’s lab use a combination of genetic, cell biological and biochemical methods to define the mechanisms that organize bidirectional interactions between neurons and glial cells, and how disruption of these mechanisms affects conduction of nerve impulses and synaptic development and function.
Robert Brenner, Ph.D.
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Understanding how Ion channels modulate excitability of cells, biophysical properties of these channels by expression and patch clamp studies in cultured cells.
Rochelle Buffenstein, Ph.D.
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Dr. Buffenstein is a comparative biologist whose research focuses on those unusual species that are not only able to live considerably longer than expected on the basis of their body size but also maintain good health until very late in life. A key focus of the research undertaken in the Buffenstein lab addresses the cellular and molecular mechanisms that the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole-rat uses to thwart the aging process and alleviate the translation of high levels of oxidative stress into age-related declines and age-associated diseases. Our lab focuses on the mechanisms employed by naked mole-rats to effectively remove damaged proteins and thereby maintain protein quality and homeostasis well into old age. Naked mole-rats maintain neuronal integrity and neuron number, despite evidence of high levels of beta amyloid and current studies focus on the potential use of this long-lived mouse-sized rodent as a new model for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease.
William Clarke, Ph.D.
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New models of receptor function, often using serotonin receptors as a model system. Study the capacity of individual drugs to promote distinct receptor conformations.
Lynette C. Daws, Ph.D.*
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How biogenic amine transporters are involved in disease states, such as depression and addiction, and how they are modulated by drugs used to treat them.
Timothy Duong, Ph.D.
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Development of in-vivo MRI and optical imaging technologies for studying the brain and retina.
Benjamin A. Eaton, Ph.D.*
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Signaling systems that regulate the growth, stabilization, and elimination of synaptic contacts using the Drosophila model system.
Paul Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.
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Catalytic and regulatory mechanisms of the aromatic amino acid hydroxylases phenylketonuria, tyrosine hydroxylase, and tryptophan hydroxylase.
Charles France, Ph.D.
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Investigation of drug combinations that appear to provide clinically useful treatments with reduced abuse and dependence liability as compared to single drug treatments.
Alan Frazer, Ph.D.
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The mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs, with a focus on how treatment with such drugs affects the functioning of noradrenergic and serotonergic systems that are important targets for their clinical effects.
Veronica Galvan, Ph.D.*
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Dr. Galvan focuses on the molecular processes that drive the pathogenesis Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the neurobiology of aging, the role of the nervous system in organismal aging, and the potential for modulation of neurogenesis or the use of stem cell-derived neuronal precursor cells as therapies for brain injury, including AD.
Lisa Gerak, Ph.D.
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Use behavioral procedures to investigate the consequences of chronic drug treatment, particularly drugs acting at GABAA receptors.
Georgianna Gould, Ph.D.*
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Social behaviors, anxiety, impulsivity, repetitive behaviors and the role serotonin and other biogenic amines play in shaping them throughout postnatal brain development.
Kenneth Hargreaves, D.DS, Ph.D.*
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Pharmacology of inflammation and pain, pharmacological regulation of unmyelinated “C” fiber nociceptors, and plasticity in the response to inflammation or nerve injury.
Julie Hensler, Ph.D.
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Mechanisms of brain serotonergic involvement in affective disorders, alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.
Peter Hornsby, Ph.D.
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Dr. Hornsby’s research concerns regenerative medicine. The main focus is on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from a nonhuman primate, the marmoset. Research is aimed at understanding the effect of aging on generation of iPS cells. iPS cells are used to derive differentiated cells that can be used in cell transplantation therapies, particularly neural cells.
Nathan Jeske, Ph.D.
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Signaling pathways that cause peripheral inflammatory hyperalgesia.
Jean X. Jiang, Ph.D.
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Intercellular communication and intracellular signaling by gap junctions, hemichannels and connexins in growth control, cell cycle and cell differentiation.
Jun Hee Kim, Ph.D.
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Research interest is to understand regulatory mechanisms of presynaptic excitability and synaptic transmission in the central nervous system (CNS) in physiological or pathological conditions (e.g. central demyelination or brain hypoxia-ischemia), using immunohistochemistry, electrophysiology and live cell imaging. It is very difficult to study presynaptic excitability and vesicular glutamate release directly at the CNS nerve terminals, because the sub-micron size of CNS nerve terminals has precluded direct recordings. To study presynaptic properties directly, he takes advantage of the calyx of Held, a large glutamatergic nerve terminal that allows direct presynaptic recordings. Using the calyx of Held synapse, he has studied 1) Fundamental role of CNS myelination in synaptic functions in the auditory nervous system, 2) Cellular mechanisms of neuronal injury during brain hypoxia-ischemia and 3) Cellular mechanisms of auditory processing disorder in premature newborn.
Wouter Koek, Ph.D.
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The use of animal models to examine how genetic and developmental factors interact to influence vulnerability to drugs of abuse.
Erzsebet Kokovay, Ph.D.
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Research is on the molecular and cellular regulation of adult neural stem cells with a particular focus on the role of the microenvironment in regulating neural stem cell homeostasis and dysfunction. Projects in the laboratory include investigating how aging changes the microenvironment and how this leads to reduced neurogenesis and neural stem cell function. She is also investigating strategies to prevent age-related reductions in neurogenesis and rejuvenate the neural stem cell microenvironment. Techniques in the laboratory include primary cell culture, immunohistochemistry, microscopy as well as techniques to quantitate and manipulate gene expression.
Eileen M. Lafer, Ph.D.
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Fundamental mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission, focusing on the molecular machinery involved in synaptic vesicle trafficking.
Richard Lamb, Ph.D.
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Conducts translational research on addiction.
James E. Lechleiter, Ph.D.
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Molecular and cellular mechanisms of protection during ischemic stress, acute brain injury and aging.
Daniel J. Lodge, Ph.D.*
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Research is focused on increasing our understanding of the neural circuits associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. By combining in vivo electrophysiology with animal model of psychiatric disease, Dr. Lodge has identified a potential novel therapeutic target that may lead to better antipsychotic drugs with less side effects than conventional medications.
Xin-Yun Lu, Ph.D.
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Neural mechanisms influencing underlying metabolic and mood disorders.
Lance McMahon, Ph.D.
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Combination of behavioral and pharmacologic approaches to establish mechanisms underlying changes in drug sensitivity after chronic administration.
David Morilak, Ph.D.
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Stress as a risk factor in depression and other mood disorders.
Bruce Nicholson, Ph.D.
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Understanding how the intercellular channels of gap junctions affect cellular functions in a variety of systems.
Jason O’Connor, Ph.D.
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Neuroimmunity, Neuroinflammation, Anxiety, Depression, Behavior, Kynurenine, Cytokines, Glia.
Qitao Ran, Ph.D.
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The main research interest of Dr. Ran’s lab is to illustrate the mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction in disease and aging, with a goal of preventing/ameliorating disease and aging through enhanced protection of mitochondria.
Mark Shapiro, Ph.D.
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Physiology, modulation and functional role of ion channels in excitable cells.
Randy Strong, Ph.D.
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Interventions hypothesized to slow again and prevent age-related diseases.
Glenn Toney, Ph.D.
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Mechanisms of altered discharge of sympathetic regulatory neurons in the brain that contribute to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
David Weiss, Ph.D.
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The structure/function relation of y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. To explore the biophysics, physiology, modulation, and development of inhibitory synaptic transmission.
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