PHTO Graduate Program News
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE AWARDEES OF THE 2023 PHTO ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM
Overall Excellence: Emma Pfortmiller
Excellence Among Senior-Level Students: Jonathan Lin
Excellence Among Year 01 Students: Julia Granchi
Excellence Among Year 02 Students: Danielle Jamison
Excellence Among M.S.-Level Students: Leandra Koff
Excellence in Rationale and Approach: Joshua Zamora
Excellence in Analyses/Interpretation/Style: Nolan Dvorak
Congratulations to the new PTSO Officers for 2023-2024
President - Danielle Jamison
Vice President - Emma Pfortmiller
Secretary - Julia Granchi
Treasurer - Katherine Araya
Congratulations to Mr. Nana Goode for completing his Master's in Pharmacology & Toxicology!!
Congratulations to Mr. Mark Sowers for having his paper listed by the JBC editors.
Please follow the link below to read the paper:
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE AWARDEES OF THE 2022 PHTO ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM
|Overall Excellence:||Mark Sowers|
|Excellence Among Senior-Level Students:||Kenya Moore|
|Excellence Among Year 01 Students:||Jerricho Tipo|
|Excellence Among Year 02 Students:||Leah Salinsky|
|Excellence in Rationale and Approach:||Jonathan Lin|
|Excellence in Rationale and Approach:||Madison Tanner|
|Excellence in Analyses/Interpretation/Style:||Jacqueline Silva|
Congratulations to Ms. Justine Ortega Mendez for being featured in the June 2022 ConTex spotlight
Congratulations to Mr. Ryan Murphy
2022 recipient of the Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation (PhRMA Foundation).
Dear students and colleagues,
Please join me in congratulating Ryan Murphy, who has been awarded a 2022 Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation (PhRMA Foundation).
The PhRMA fellowship provides support for students in advanced stages of training for thesis research in drug discovery, and it will support Ryan’s research project and training over a two-year period.
Ryan is a third-year PhD graduate student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Program and the Center for Addiction Research. His mentor is Dr. John Allen, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and co-mentorship is provided by Dr. Jia Zhou, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Ryan’s research focuses on investigating molecular signaling and the therapeutic potential of GPR52 activation in the context of psychostimulant use disorder. His future career aspirations include continued pharmacological research with neuromodulatory G protein-coupled receptors, with the hope of developing improved therapeutics for neurological and psychiatric disorders
Dr. Fernanda Laezza
Director, Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program
Congratulations to our 2021 GSBS Scholarship Awardees
Josh Zamora - The George Palmer Saunders II Memorial Graduate Student Scholarship
Congratulations to Mr. Nolan Dvorak
2021 recipient of the prestigious Jess Hay Endowment for Chancellor’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship
Dear students and colleagues,
It is a great honor to announce Mr. Nolan Dvorak, 3rd year PHTO PhD student and UTMB Presidential Scholar, as the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Jess Hay Endowment for Chancellor’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship. This fellowship, consisting of a $15,000 award, is a UT system award recognizing timely and high-quality research benefiting the State of Texas.
Nolan was awarded in recognition of his scholastic excellence and research productivity. As a 2nd year student at time of nomination, Nolan had already contributed to science with five peer-reviewed published research articles, including two as first author and one as co-first author. Additionally, Nolan is a recipient of a highly competitive T32 predoctoral fellowship slot, under the Houston Area Molecular Biophysics Program (HAMBP), and recently received the prestigious Ambassador in Pharmacology & Toxicology Award and the George Sealy Research Award in Neurology.
The Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program is extremely proud of Nolan’s contributions to science. We know he will continue to make a powerful impact through his academic and research activities.
Congratulations, Mr. Dvorak for this tremendously deserved award and recognition!
Dr. Fernanda Laezza
Director, Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program
Congratulations to Kenya Moore
Kenya Moore is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and recently completed her third year in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Program. Kenya received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in May 2018 from Dillard University, a historically black college/university, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She participated in undergraduate research at Dillard as a MARC scholar and at LSU Health Science Center in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department. These experiences developed Kenya’s interest in pursuing graduate education that ultimately led her to UTMB. Kenya joined the laboratory of Dr. Rakez Kayed, professor in the Department of Neurology and the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, in the summer of 2019. Her dissertation project investigates neurotoxic polymorphic aggregates of Alpha Synuclein, the pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. Investigating the immunotherapeutic targeting of alpha synuclein oligomeric polymorphisms can reveal their role in the pathological implications and behavioral phenotypes observed in neurodegenerative diseases exhibiting alpha synuclein aggregation.
CONCEPT TO CLINIC: COMMERCIALIZING INNOVATION (EC3I) PROGRAM
During the Summer 2021 academic term, the following students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) were invited to participate in the NIH program called Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation (eC3i). This 10-week program is designed to teach scientists and startup owners the skills needed to succeed in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
During the course, the students created a business plan for developing novel, highly specific anti-depressant medications for multiple neuropsychiatric disorders. The team met with physicians, pharmacists, stakeholders, business advisors, administrators, and other key players in potential product market integration to identify key weaknesses with current products, common patient complaints, and specific benefits that their novel compound could have over other therapeutics. This program gave the students the opportunity to explore careers in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as develop skills in presenting, teamwork, and communication.
Parsa Arman is currently a second-year master’s student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Program. He received his bachelor’s in neuroscience from The University of Texas at Austin in August 2016. During his time in Austin, he completed pre-medical studies and worked for MediaScience Panel, a marketing research facility. Before joining the Pharmacology and Toxicology program, Parsa completed two years of medical school and the USMLE Step 1 exam at UTMB.
In Winter 2020, Parsa joined the laboratory of Dr. Fernanda Laezza in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and has been pursuing his interest in healthcare, particularly in neurodegeneration. His research project involves investigation of neuroinflammation, Alzheimer-associated seizures, and CNS voltage-gated sodium channels. He hopes that his efforts will provide insight into the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s Disease and support the use of new medications for neurodegenerative patients.
Tim Baumgartner is currently a second-year PhD student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Program. Tim completed his bachelor’s in biochemistry at Baylor University in May 2020. During his time at Baylor, he participated in undergraduate research involving identification and evaluation of small-molecule inhibitors of cell proliferation and migration in non-small cell lung cancer. This experience contributed heavily to his interest in pharmacology and led him to UTMB.
Tim joined the lab of Dr. Fernanda Laezza at the start of Summer 2021 and has been pursuing his interest in pharmacology, particularly in neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatric disorders. His dissertation project involves investigation of voltage-gated sodium channel Nav 1.6 and its interactions with key regulatory proteins to decrease hippocampal hyperexcitability observed in early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease and prevent the onset and progression of memory loss and cognitive decline.
Congratulations to the new PTSO Officers for 2021-2022
President - Jacqueline Silva
Vice President - Madison Tanner
Secretary - Leah Salinsky
Treasurer - Joshua Zamora
Best Candidacy Student Oral Presentation: Amy Cooper
Congratulations to Dr. Wenbo Zhang for being selected for the UT System STARs Award.
Congratulations to Dr. George Golovko for being selected by the Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program students as the recipient of the 2019 Teaching in Excellence Award.
New PTSO Officers 2019-2020
President - Luke Bourner
Vice President - Victoria Dobbie Brehm
Secretary - Amy Cooper
Treasurer - Dolores Quiroz
Congratulations to our student winners of the The Kenneth M. Johnson Pharmacology/Toxicology Graduate Program Endowment Fund Award for the Third Annual Pharmacology & Toxicology Summer Symposium!
Mark Sowers - Best Student Poster
Dennis Sholler - Best Student Presentation
GSBS Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program Alumni Spotlight
Martin Wasserman, PhD, MA
Congratulations to our Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program students who won GSBS Awards for 2018-2019!
Amy Cooper won the Sharon Nelson, PhD and Off Steinsland Endowed Scholarship.
Luke Bourner won The George Palmer Saunders II Memorial Graduate Student Scholarship.
Victoria Brehm won the Jason E. Perlman Memorial Fund.
Christina Merritt won the Ann Anderson Scholarship Fund.
Catherine Sampson and Dennis Sholler won The Arthur V. Simmang Scholarship Fund GSBS.
Cynthia Tapia and Dianne Yap won the Zhou-Geng Endowment Fund.
Eric Wold won the Edith and Robert Zinn Presidential Scholarship and the Elferink Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
Congratulations to Dennis Sholler for winning Trainee Professional Development Award for the 2018 SfN meeting.
Congratulations to Kenya Moore for winning the 2018 SfN NIDA Diversity Scholars Travel Award.
Congratulations to Cynthia Tapia for winning the 2018 SfN Cashen Almstead Professional Development Associate Award. Cynthia, also won the 1st place prize for her poster presentation at the 2018 Lone Star Society of Toxicology Conference.
Congratulations to Amy Cooper for winning the 3rd place prize for her oral/platform presentation at the 2018 Lone Star Society of Toxicology Conference.
Congratulations to our symposium award winners!
June 14, 2018
Best Graduate Student Presentation
Best Graduate Student Poster
Best Post-Doctoral Fellow Poster
Dr. James Kasper