Allie Vaiana (Sharp) received a Society for Neuroscience Trainee Professional Development Award.
According to the Society of Neuroscience website, the Trainee Professional Development Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who demonstrate scientific merit and excellence in research. Recipients were reimbursed for their registration to the Society of Neuroscience Global Connectome: A Virtual Event which occurred on Jan 11 to 13 and will participate in career development opportunities throughout the upcoming year.
At the conference, Vaiana presented an abstract and networked with other scientists.
Allie is investigating the mechanisms which underly cognitive impairment associated with androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. Clinical studies have shown that men who undergo this treatment have significant deficits in a number of cognitive domains, particularly spatial memory and executive function. She is also investigating a novel antidepressant which improves cognition in a rodent model of androgen deprivation therapy, as a possible therapeutic option for patients that experience cognitive deficits after cancer treatment.
Her abstract title was “Investigating the underlying mechanisms by which vortioxetine reverses cognitive impairment mediated by the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus after androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer treatment.”
She explained that androgen deprivation has a significant effect on gene expression within the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, two regions that show impairments in cognition after androgen deprivation therapy.
“The antidepressant, vortioxetine, which has been shown to improve cognition in depression, has also been shown to increase gene expression of factors implicated in neuroplasticity,” she said. “In our current study, we hypothesized that vortioxetine would rescue changes in gene expression compromised by androgen deprivation therapy. The results of this study will identify potential therapeutic targets that underly improvement in cognition after androgen deprivation therapy.”
Allie is currently a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. David Morilak. She is in the Neuroscience discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program. After graduation, she would like to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship within the field of neuroscience.