Kudos to Adi Narahari- 2020 Recipient of the Whitfield Randolph Scholarship

April 3, 2020 by adw2n@virginia.edu

Please join the Pharmacology department in congratulating one of our graduate and MSTP students (Adi Narahari G5  in Doug Bayliss Lab) for being one of two students who won this year’s Whitfield Randolph Scholarship. The Whitfield Randolph Scholarship was established in 1986 by Randolph Whitfield of Atlanta, Georgia. The award was established in memory of Mr. Whitfield’s parents, James Bryan Whitfield and Margaret Hayward Randolph. Dr. Randolph Whitfield, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, received his medical and graduate degrees from the University in 1965 under a similar dual degree program. Further, it is Mr. Whitfield’s preference that recipients be enrolled in the Medical School doing research on the human nervous system. This year, the two awardees will share the $5,000 prize.

Summary of Adi’s project:

Inflammation is a key contributor to neurodegeneration evident in Alzheimer’s disease and after ischemic insults (strokes). Pannexin 1 (Panx1) channels are widely expressed, including in numerous cell types within the central nervous system (CNS). Activation of Panx1 in neurons causes neuronal injury and cell death while deletion of Panx1 channels in endothelial cells leads to enhanced recovery after stroke. Activated Panx1 channels support release of metabolic signals that can modulate inflammatory processes. My work seeks to characterize the intrinsic permeation and selectivity properties of Panx1 channels that allow this metabolite efflux. To this end, I have devised a biochemically reduced proteoliposome system, using purified Panx1 protein incorporated into lipids of defined composition, that provides unprecedented experimental control for assays of metabolite permeation. By understanding these fundamental Panx1 properties, we expect it will be possible to design strategies and therapeutics to intervene in Panx1-mediated metabolite permeation that will be useful in treating these life-threatening diseases.

Way to go, Adi! Pharm is very proud of you!