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Neuroscience Graduate Student Elizabeth Fucich Passionate About Mental Health Research

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Author: Department of Pharmacology | Category: Around Campus | Meet The Researcher | Neuroscience | July 14, 2015

Neuroscience graduate student Elizabeth Fucich was recently selected along with Huynh (Nancy) Nga, Mariam Ishaque, and Travis Block for the prestigious Translational Science Training (TST) TL1 Scholar Award, from the UTHSCSA’s Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS).

Her research proposal is titled: 'Medial prefrontal cortical mechanisms of behavioral therapy', and was selected for funding from among several outstanding proposals in a highly competitive review process. 

"I am passionate about mental health research since psychiatric disorders are poorly understood in society as well as in science," Fucich said. "My proposed research specifically interests me in that I can investigate how stress impairs the way you think and how behavioral therapy fixes that, using cutting edge techniques to determine what changes are occurring at the molecular, cellular, and regional level in the brain."

This fellowship supports a portion of her stipend, tuition and fees, research support along with funds for travel to present at scientific meetings such as this year's American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) meeting.

"I anticipate the award will help me develop as a translational scientist so that I may continue to contribute to my field in years to come," Fucich said. "I will have the unique opportunity as a trainee to network with more advanced scientists outside the classroom while learning about the latest mental health research."

Elizabeth conducts research in the lab of Pharmacology Professor and Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) Director David Morilak, Ph.D..

She hopes to propose a new way to study the brain changes induced by behavioral therapy and find new neural targets for improving therapy for patients with mood and anxiety disorders.

 "Ultimately, I hope my research will lead to better patient outcomes for a population that currently has very poor treatment options," Fucich said. 

This article is part of the "Meet The Researcher" series which showcases researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

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