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 Ben, Mitch and Adam: 2018 WFA Recipients!

The Pharmacology Department would like to send out huge congratulations to Ben Holloway (Neuroscience Grad Student in Patrice Guyenet’s Lab),  Mitch Granade (Pharmacology Grad Student in Thurl Harris’s Lab) and Adam Borne (Pharmacology Grad Student in Ku-Lung “Ken” Hsu’s Lab) for being one of the 14 BIMS students to receive this year’s Wagner Fellowship Award. Thanks to the incredible generousity of  Dr. Robert Wagner and his wife Mary Wagner, this award provides fellowships to graduate students in the School of Medicine.  Dr. Wagner served as Professor and Chair of Microbiology from 1967-1994 and contributed in so many ways to the School of Medicine, UVA, and the scientific community at large.  These fellowships are a lasting tribute to his dedication to student training, his encouragement of young scientists, and his love of UVA.  Students are selected from a highly competitive pool of students based on their outstanding performance in graduate school.

The Wagner Fellowship comes with a one-time $1K stipend supplement and up to $1K in support for professional development.

Please see below the a full list of all 14 BIMS  students that are 2018 recipients:

Rising 3rd year students:

  • Adam Borne (Pharmacology: Ken Hsu)
  • Robbie Cornelilson (Experimental Pathology: Dr. Chip Landen)
  • Mitch Granade (Pharmacology: Dr. Thurl Harris)
  • Saad Hussain (Microbiology: Dr. Dave Kashatus)
  • Michaela Rikard (BME: Dr. Shayn Peirce-Cottler)
  • Dr. Erin Weddle (Microbiology: Dr. Herve Agaisse)
  • Dr. Eric Wengert (Neuroscience Graduate Program: Dr. Manoj Patel)

Rising 4th/5th year students:

  • Laura Dunphy (BME; Dr. Jason Papin)
  • Ben Holloway (Neuroscience Graduate Program; Dr. Patrice Guyenet)
  • Katrine McNeely (Neuroscience Graduate Program; Dr. Noelle Dwyer)
  • Greg Medlock (BME; Dr. Jason Papin)
  • Olivia Sabik (BMG; Dr. Charles Farber)
  • Brooke Sauder (Microbiology; Dr. Melissa Kendall)
  • Becky Stanhope (Microbiology; Dr. Isabelle Derre)

Pharmers, please take the time to acknowledge Ben, Mitch, and Adam for this great achievement when you see them around!

Attention GTAs: Day-long Workshop on Thursday, August 23

Teaching as a Graduate Student is a day-long workshop series for new graduate teaching assistants, hosted by the Center for Teaching Excellence. These practical and interactive sessions address teaching across disciplines and are designed to help graduate students teach more efficiently and effectively. This year’s workshop will be held Thursday, August 23, 2018, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, in Nau and Gibson Halls. Thank you for encouraging your new GTAs to participate.

Interested GTAs wanting to attend Teaching as a Graduate Student should register at the link below by no later than August 9, 2018:

The Teaching as a Graduate Student website will be kept up to date with the most current details regarding the day’s events. Workshop sessions focus on GTAs’ immediate needs. Topics include:

  • Getting to know your students
  • Teaching the first day
  • Understanding the principles of learning-centered teaching
  • Negotiating potential pitfalls and difficulties
  • Grading effectively
  • Learning discipline-specific pedagogies such as facilitating discussions, leading labs, and teaching foreign languages

Please direct questions to

Dr. Irina Bochkis Makes Headlines for a New Discovery in the Reversal of Aging

Irina Bochkis, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Bochkis and her colleagues recently found a new discovery about the affects of aging in our cells. It was found that wrinkles in the nuclear membrane can prevent DNA from being expressed properly. The new discovery is groundbreaking because it could allow doctors to cure or prevent diabetes, fatty liver disease and other metabolic disease, and make it possible to turn back the clock on aging itself. Please read the full article and watch the interview by following the links below:

UVA Connect:

UVA Today:

NBC 29 News:

Way to go, Dr. Bochkis! The Pharmacology Department would like to extend a huge congrats to you for your hard work!  Everyone, please join us in taking the time to congratulate and thank her for these new possibilities in science when you see her around.


2018 BIMS Graduates: Congratulations Peter, Kelley and Vlad!

The Pharmacology Department would like to congratulate all of the 2018 BIMS Graduates! We would like to give a special congrats to our very own, Peter Klein (Neuroscience, Beenhakker Lab), Kelley McQueeney (Pharmacology, Lazo Lab) and Vlad Serbulea (Pharmacology, Leitinger Lab) as they take the walk of pride and achievement in celebration of all of their hard work and perseverance to see this very special moment come to fruition……go Drs. Klein, McQueeney and Serbulea! Everyone that can, please go out and support them on their special day at the:

    BIMS Graduation

Sunday, May 20th at 12:30pm

      Pinn Hall Auditorium

Reception will follow immediately after the ceremony


Peter, Kelley, and Vlad, The Pharmacology Department is very proud of you!

We wish you all the best!


REMINDER: Early Dismissal this Friday, 5/18/18-Pharm Admin Office Closing @ Noon!

Message from UVA Human Resources:

To decrease traffic and parking disruptions this Friday, May 18, the University reminds staff and faculty* to leave Grounds at 12 noon.

To that end, we have granted four hours of “comp special” leave to all salaried staff. Those not involved in Final Exercise preparation or related activities should use their leave on the afternoon of May 18, while staff supporting Valedictory and Final Exercises can use it at a future date.

Below is some specific information about the comp special leave and how to use it:

  • Leave is available even though you will not see it in your leave balances. Select “Comp Special Leave” on your timecard and enter four hours on May 18.
  • For those working, do nothing at this time. Your comp special leave balance will update in the next pay period, and the leave will be available to use within a year.

Questions regarding leave use? Contact the HR Solution Center at or 434-243-3344.

*School of Medicine employees involved in clinical operations should consult with their manager as they also may be required to remain on Grounds and use the leave at a future date. Leave for part-time staff will be pro-rated. Medical Center employees are not included in this closure.  


Kudos to Dr. Kevin Lynch: Renewal of the PSTG!

The Pharmacology Department would like to send out a  special thanks to Dr. Kevin Lynch, Vice Chair for Research of Pharmacology and Chair of the PSTG Steering Committee, for his leadership and hard work in successfully securing another competitive renewal of the Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant — for years 44-48, with 7 slots again!

This continues an impressive run of funding for the longest standing training grant at UVA.  Way to go, Dr. Lynch!

Please give Dr. Lynch a huge congrats when you see him around.



SOM Diversity Dialogues will be starting on Friday, April 27, 2018

SOM Office of Diversity and Inclusion will start launching Diversity Dialogues this month! Wondering what Diversity Dialogues are? Please see below info from Dr. Greg Townsend, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion:


There is a saying: “Nothing great ever comes from comfort zones.” The Diversity Dialogues are designed to encourage honest discussions in a safe environment with people who are in some way, different from us, about the ways that we are different and the ways that we are similar. These facilitated dialogues may feel uncomfortable, but are essential to building understanding and empathy so we can leverage our strengths and differences at work and in our communities.

The Diversity Dialogues are a series of facilitated conversations around specific topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. The same topic will be explored each month by members of different groups – students, house staff, faculty, or staff.  We will invite one group each month. The topic will rotate every 4 months.

The first topic is “privilege.” What is privilege? Privilege is power, access, opportunity, authority, wealth or advantage granted to some persons, and denied others, based simply on the groups to which they belong, rather than on what they have done. Privilege may be based on any number of personal attributes, such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and others. In this dialogue, we will examine with each other how privilege in its many domains has impacted all of our lives.

Come out and join the conversation on:

Friday, April 27, 2018
BIMS 1023
Lunch will be provided– please RSVP to if you plan to attend!

Kudos to Alex Keller for his recent success in his research!

Alex Keller, a Pharmacology Student in Brant Isakson’s Lab, is making headlines for being the recipient of several awards recently. Alex will attend the 2018 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego from April 21-25, where as one of 10 recipients of the Zweifach Student Travel Award, he will give a poster presentation at the Microcirculatory Society’s meeting, in addition to his conference-wide poster session.  These awards consist of a certificate and $750 travel award to encourage recipients’ participation at Experimental Bio. One other UVA graduate student, Michaela Rikard, in Shayn Peirce-Cottler’s Lab (BME), also received the award.

Alex is also one of three finalists for the 2018 American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section Outstanding Predoctoral Trainee Award. This recognition highlights outstanding graduate trainees who are on a trajectory to make meritorious contributions to the scientific areas represented by the Cardiovascular Section of the APS, and also comes with travel support for Experimental Bio participation. While there, Alex will be giving an oral presentation of his research in the Cardiovascular Section’s Young Investigator Symposium and will compete with the other finalists for the award and a cash prize.

Lastly, Alex won second place in the GBS Symposium Poster Competition that was held on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Chris Medina, a trainee of the Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant in Kodi Ravichandran’s Lab, also won a poster award with first place at the symposium – a strong showing by our Pharmacology graduate students!

Please give Alex a huge congrats when you see him for all of his hard work and recent success in his research! Way to go, Alex!



Congrats to Vlad Serbulea: Peach Award Recipient!

Vlad Serbulea makes headlines again! Just last month he was the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Pharmacology Graduate Student Award. As part of receiving this award,  Vlad was also entered to be the department’s nominee for the Michael J. Peach Outstanding Graduate Student Award and Jill E. Hungerford Prize in Biomedical Sciences. These prestigious awards recognize the accomplishments of our most talented and creative senior students across the School of Medicine.

The GBS Symposium was held on Tuesday, April 12, 2018 and Vlad was named the recipient of the Micheal J. Peach Outstanding Graduate Student Award. This achievement really speaks to Vlad’s commitment to embody enthusiasm for research and the principles of sharing and collaboration that where central to Dr. Peach’s approach to science and medicine. The Pharmacology Department is very proud of his hard work and dedication to research that this award was intended to recognize.

Excellent job, Vlad! Please give him a huge congrats when you see him around the Pharmacology Department.