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:

2016 Awards

The Annual Pharmacology Research Retreat was held on October 12, 2016, once again at Morven Farms. One of the exciting parts of the day is the presentation of various awards. This year’s winners include:

  • Peter C. Isakson Mentoring Award – Bimal Desai
  • Ted W. Rall Award (outstanding paper) – Samantha Adamson (Leitinger lab)
  • Best Predoctoral Presentation – Michael Schappe (Desai lab)
  • Best Postdoctoral Presentation – Vidisha Raje (Harris lab)
  • Best Poster Presentation – Nigel Muhammad (Bland lab) and Suresh Mendu (Desai lab)

Be sure to congratulate everyone as you see them around!

2016 Larner Lecture – Alan Cherrington – Thursday, October 6 @ 9:30 AM

The 2016 Joseph Larner Memorial Lecture in Pharmacology will be presented by Alan D. Cherrington, PhD (Vanderbilt) this Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 9:30 AM in the Pinn (formerly Jordan) Hall Conference Center Auditorium. He will be speaking on “Control of Hepatic Glucose Uptake and Storage in the Postprandial State.”

The lecture is free and open to all – please also plan to join us for a Welcome Reception with Dr. Cherrington at 8:30 AM in Pinn 2ABC.

Dr. Cherrington is the Jacquelyn A. Turner and Dr. Dorothy J. Turner Chair in Diabetes Research and Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Learn more about his research in diabetes, glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, physiology by visiting his online profile.

Joseph LarnerDr. Joseph Larner (January 9, 1921 – January 28, 2014) served as Chairman of the Pharmacology Department from 1969-1990. He led a distinguished career, garnering numerous scientific awards including the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement in Diabetes Research, the Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award in Science, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Larner’s notable research was focused on the study of insulin activity with the goal of improving diabetes treatments and, in 1974, he founded the UVa Diabetes Center for Research. The Larner family—wife Frances and sons Andrew, James, and Paul—endowed the Joseph Larner Annual Memorial Lecture in Pharmacology to explore the pervasive role of metabolism/cell signaling in human disease. Gifts from the family, as well as Dr. Larner’s UVa colleagues and other scientists who respected his work, provide support for this annual lecture and continue Dr. Larner’s legacy at the School of Medicine.

Jordan Hall Renamed Pinn Hall

On September 15, 2016 the Board of Visitors voted to rename Jordan Hall (where our department is located) in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn, a graduate of the UVA SOM Class of 1967. In an email to SOM Employees, Dr. Richard Shannon explained:

Having recognized the service of Dean Harvey Jordan for more than 45 years – and as we refurbish our central research facility – this is an opportune time to create a new representation of UVA’s inspiring medical education and research. Along with the renaming of Jordan Hall, we will also commission a Nobel Atrium to honor the Nobel laureates in medicine who did pioneering work at UVA.

Our goal is to provide a shining light into our bright future, reflecting the accomplishments of modern day luminaries who provide us with stellar examples of what persistence, diligence, teamwork and creativity can achieve. As a group of School of Medicine leaders discussed for whom Jordan Hall should be renamed as part of this effort, Dr. Pinn was the consensus choice.

Honored for her work as a physician, scientist, researcher and scholar, Dr. Pinn embodies the values, character and skills of a leader whom  we want our students and faculty to emulate as we strive to improve the human condition. She was the sole female and minority member of the Class of 1967 at the UVA School of Medicine. She had an illustrious career at both Tufts Medical School and at Howard University College of Medicine, where she became the first African-American woman to chair Howard’s Department of Pathology. Dr. Pinn served as the first director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, and during her time at NIH instituted a national project to re-examine priorities for the women’s health research agenda in the U.S.

She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1995 and received special recognition from the American Association of Medical Colleges in 2011 for her exceptional leadership to improve health and career opportunities for women and minorities. In 2012, she earned the first Bernadine Healy Award for Visionary Leadership in Women’s Health from the Congress on Women’s Health. Earlier this year, she was named to Modern Healthcare’s Health Care Hall of Fame.

Dr. Pinn has been honored on multiple occasions by UVA. In 2005 she became the first African-American woman to give the University’s Commencement Address, and in 2010 the School of Medicine named one of its advisory colleges for medical students in her honor.

Her impact on American healthcare has been significant and groundbreaking. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Pinn.


Richard P. Shannon, MD
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
UVA Health System