New Research from the Zhu Lab May Lead to Medications Without Side Effects

Exciting new research from Julius Zhu’s lab reveals a way to manipulate molecules that may lead to medications without side effects! These findings were published in Neuron:

Zhang L, Zhang P, Wang G, Zhang H, Zhang Y, Yu Y, Zhang M, Xiao J, Crespo, Hell JW, Lin L, Huganir RL and Zhu JJ (2018). Ras and Rap signal bidirectional synaptic plasticity via distinct subcellular microdomains. Neuron 98:783-800.

Check out the full story on NBC 29 News and CBS 19 News.

Kudos to Antoinette Reid – November 2017 Uteam Member of the Month!

Please join us in congratulating Antoinette Reid, who was selected as the November 2017 Uteam Member of the Month recipient! The Uteam Member of the Month program recognizes outstanding service that exemplifies a team member’s commitment to our ASPIRE values. Antoinette’s nomination highlighted several of her great qualities, among them:

  • Her commitment to helping others, regardless of the cost to herself, and the way she is known by colleagues across the Health System as someone who can be counted on. (Accountability)
  • Antoinette carefully manages the resources falling under her purview, which includes the costs of not only money being spent, but also the time, effort, and people required to accomplish a task. (Stewardship)
  • She treats people courteously and extends great patience, even when they are not treating her that way, and she leaves a lasting, positive impression with her colleagues. (Professionalism)
  • Antoinette handles confidential information with the utmost respect and care and she demonstrates her core values of honesty, transparency, and fairness in her daily activities. (Integrity)
  • She collaborates well in the face of divergent viewpoints and works diligently to contribute to an equitable, inclusive, and respectful environment. (Respect)
  • Antoinette gives the very best she has to offer in all things, starting with a positive attitude and a genuine desire to help others. From there, she is able to anticipate what others need and then she focuses on providing them with the best possible outcome. (Excellence)

Her supervisor described Antoinette as, “…a dedicated, hardworking employee who never shies away from a task; she approaches her duties with care, and she is a pleasure to have in the office.” One of her colleagues noted that, “Antoinette’s helpful, positive attitude makes my day brighter and reminds me to also be courteous and respectful to others.”  Antoinette was also commended for being “a remarkable listener” who “absorbs[s] all of the facts before formulating a response,” as well as for her ability “to see beyond herself, finding ways to serve the greater good by offering quality solutions that benefit the whole.”

Antoinette lives the ASPIRE values day in and day out. She is mindful of what she says, how she responds to situations, and the impact her presence has on others. Her demeanor is kind and respectful. She strives for excellence, promotes fairness, and is an accountable, trusted team member. She is a true joy to have in the workplace and we are excited to celebrate her contributions to the Pharm Team! Join us on Friday, December 2 at 2 PM in the Pharm Library for cake and kudos!

Way to go, Antoinette!!

GBS Sponsored Faculty Chat: 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Grad Student

Calling all Grad Students! The first GBS Faculty Chat of the year will be taking place this Friday, July 21st from 12-1 in the BEC. Faculty chats are an excellent opportunity to meet faculty in an informal setting and learn what made them successful scientists. This week Dr. Chris Deppmann will give a talk titled “7 Habits of a Highly Effective Grad Student.” Lunch will be provided, so take a break from lab and come learn how you can be a more effective graduate student.

Speaker: Dr. Chris Deppmann
Topic: 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Grad Student
Time: 12-1pm
Location: BEC

Contact Pharmacology Grad Student and GBS Academic Committee Co-Chair Clint Upchurch for more info!

Huskey Research Exhibition Abstracts are due on February 24, 2017!

The Huskey Organizing Committee is still accepting abstracts for the 2017 Huskey Research Exhibition. Time is limited: the call for abstracts will close on February 24th. Funding is available for poster printing, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible.  Don’t miss this opportunity to compete for cash prizes! More information about the exhibition is located on the Graduate Student Council website. A direct link to the abstract submission/application page is located here.

If you have any questions, please email


Member Spotlight: Irina Bochkis

We’re excited to introduce a new Member Spotlight Series, where we’ll highlight members of the department so you can get to know them better. We’re (mostly) scrapping the CVs and science and getting down to the things you really care about. Last month, the Pharmacology Department welcomed a new Assistant Professor, Irina Bochkis. She “volunteered” to be our debut spotlight. So, without further ado, we present: Irina Bochkis (whose web page is currently under construction…she’s that new)!

Irina Bochkis, PhDQuickly, what does your research focus on?

My lab employs both experimental and computational methods to understand regulation of metabolism. We investigate genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying metabolic disease.

Do you have any open positions in your lab?

I’m looking for a lab technician and a postdoc with computational skills for analysis of next-generation sequencing data.

Are you accepting grad students for rotations?

Yes, I am interested in getting students


College Basketball (big UNC fan, happy to be back in ACC country), SciFi (Star Trek, X-files)


Zumba, Yoga


Still miss my parents’/family dog.

Dark or Milk Chocolate?

Dark, most definintely!

Crunchy or Soft Tacos?

No preference…actually, fajitas over tacos.

Cake or Pie?

Depends on if chocolate is involved…

Walk, Bike, or Run?


What kind of music do you like?

I listen to Russian Pop a lot.

Are you a bigger prankster than Bimal and/or Mark?

Not sure, probably not.

Favorite thing to do in C’ville?

Still settling in — walking around the lake in my neighborhood.

Something fun and personable you wish I asked but didn’t?

This stumps people: I can say that my mom is Asian, and I am half-Asian. That is actually a technicality. She was born in Siberia, so in Asia. But obviously she’s European 🙂

Concerned About the Executive Order on Immigration?

Earlier this week, UVA President Teresa Sullivan and Executive Vice President and Provost Tom Katsouleas issued a statement addressing immigration issues. The statement came as a response to an executive order issued last week by the White House; the order prohibits people from seven countries from entering the United States. The statement by Sullivan and Katsouleas informed the University community that the University has “…communicated individually with UVA’s students and scholars who are from the seven countries affected by the executive order and advised them not to travel abroad until we know more about the specific practices that will be implemented as a result of the executive order.” The statement also directed international students, scholars, or other community members with concerns to consult UVA’s International Studies Office.

Senior Associate Dean for Education and Wilford W. Spradlin Professor Randy Canterbury issued an invitation to students in the School of Medicine and BIMS to attend a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 12 noon in the Learning Studio of the Claude Moore Medical Education Building to discuss the impact of the executive order. SOM is providing pizza and drinks.

2017 GBS Career Panel: March 9

The Graduate Biosciences Society (GBS) invites graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to attend the 2017 Graduate Biosciences Society Career Panel  on Thursday, March 9th in the Claude Moore Medical Education Building Auditorium (MEB Room 3110). The event will take place in the late afternoon and will be followed by an informal reception where you can meet the panelists.

Many of the featured panelists are UVA BIMS alumni, and they come from a range of career paths. This is a great opportunity to have your questions answered and explore how you can apply your PhD! Please RSVP to secure a spot and refreshments using this google form. GBS will release more details soon — stay tuned to the GBS list-serve.

Questions? Contact Alex Keller, ASK3MFGBS Professional Committee Chair

Wahoo Fitness Challenge Reminder

The 2017 Wahoo Fitness Challenge began on January 17 and runs through April 28. Log your steps to earn $200 in your July 2017 paycheck! If you created an account last year in My Active Health Portal, your login credentials still work. If you haven’t set up an account with My Active Health yet, you need to do that first. Then, you can either sync one of the approved fitness devices to your account or log your workouts manually. Log 52 workouts between now and April 28, and receive $200 — easy!

All active UVA employees and their spouses covered under the UVA Health Plan are eligible to participate and earn $200 each for completing 52 workouts during the challenge time frame.

See the Wahoo Fitness Challenge FAQ for more info — and sign up today to get started on earning your 2017 HoosWell Rewards! HoosWell just released the 2017 HoosWell Class Offerings …if you’re looking for ideas on easy ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, check it out!


PSTG Preceptors Brant Isakson and Shayn Peirce-Cottler Receive Inaugural Pinn Scholars Award!

Congratulations to PSTG Preceptors Brant Isakson, PhD and Shayn Peirce-Cottler, PhD on being named among the recipients of the Inaugural Pinn Scholars Award. The Pinn Scholars program was designed to support and recognize mid-level faculty in the School of Medicine and is named in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn, the only woman and only African American graduate of the UVA School of Medicine Class of 1967.
Award recipients were chosen on the basis of their past research accomplishments and a proposed research project, to take their work in novel directions. The winners are:

Brant Isakson, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
Project: Identification and characterization of Zika virus interaction with host endothelial cells using intravital microscopy

Shayn Pierce-Cottler, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Project: The role of vascular pericytes in the regulation of inflammation, vascularization, and fibrosis

Gordon W. Laurie, PhD
Professor, Cell Biology
Project: Development of a structural model of ocular homeostasis to support the development of candidate drugs for dry eye disease

Jochen Zimmer, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
Project: Characterization of how microbial pathogens and symbionts produce capsular polysaccharides

PSTG Preceptor David Brautigan Elected AAAS Fellow

Congratulations to Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant (PSTG) Preceptor David Brautigan, PhD on his recent election to the rank of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Brautigan is the F. Palmer Weber Medical Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology and he serves as the Director of the Center for Cell Signaling. Many will remember Dr. Brautigan’s talk on Unexpected Functions of an Ancient Protein Phosphatase at the Inaugural Joseph Larner Lecture in Pharmacology. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Brautigan and George S. Bloom, PhD, Professor of Biology, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Director, Neuroscience Undergraduate Program, on this significant accomplishment. Read more here: