Dr. Amynah Pradhan - 2016

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Dr Amynah Pradhan is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada, for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She received her PhD in 2005 from the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; with a thesis entitled “Dissociation between behavioral and biochemical measures of mu and delta opioid receptors in rat central nervous system”. She subsequently joined AstraZeneca R&D Montreal for a 1 year postdoctoral fellowship, in which she studied the role of SNSR1 protein in pain perception. In 2006, she joined Dr Brigitte Kiefer’s laboratory at the IGBMC in Illkirch, France. There she developed projects to understand the role of ligand directed signaling at the delta opioid receptor. She established that in vivo, delta opioid receptor trafficking critically controlled behavioral outcomes; and that chronic treatment with high- and low-internalizing delta agonists produced different types of tolerance. She subsequently joined the laboratory of Christopher Evans at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA. In this fellowship, she studied the ligand-specific recruitment of arrestins to the delta opioid receptor. She also developed an interest in migraine, and her work has led to the development of delta opioid receptor agonists for the treatment of this disorder. In 2013, she joined the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago in a tenure-track faculty position. During her postdoctoral fellowships with Brigitte Kiefer and Chris Evans, Amynah Pradhan showed great promise as a young scientist, and she was highly recommended for her constructive attitude to scientific questions and her outstanding ability to move projects forward. These achievements gave her a strong and solid basis for her appointment to her present faculty position. Her current research is still focused on the neurobiology of opioid receptors. Her studies aim to elucidate the behavioral consequences of agonist-specific signaling and trafficking of delta opioid receptors. In addition, her lab is also interested in understanding the differing roles of opioid receptors in migraine and post-traumatic headache. Dr Pradhan has published around 30 full papers in high-ranked international journals. She has active grant support from NIH-NIDA, NIAAA, and the US Department of Defense. She has received several honors and awards, including The National Headache Foundation Lectureship Award, International Headache Society Trainee’s Excellence Award, and The INRC-NIDA International Travel Award. She has been attending INRC meetings since 2003, where she has contributed excellent oral and poster presentations on her opioid research; and has actively participated with her creative attitude in many discussions.

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