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School of Medicine Columbia

Wood wins behavioral pharmacology award

The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Division for Behavioral Pharmacology is honoring Susan Wood, Ph.D., of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia, with the 2020 J.H. Woods Early Career Award in Behavioral Pharmacology. This award recognizes outstanding original research by early career investigators in the area of behavioral pharmacology.

Wood will receive the award for her innovative and interdisciplinary research program linking stress-related behavior and neuroinflammation to mood disorders and comorbid cardiovascular risk.

Rita Valentino, Ph.D., from the National Institute on Drug Abuse nominated Wood.  “Susan exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, mentorship and leadership in scientific societies that Dr. James Woods tried to develop in all of his trainees,” she said.

Wood, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience at the School of Medicine, completed her doctorate in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on using behavioral models to identify novel neurobiological substrates that underlie individual differences in susceptibility to stress-related disorders in both males and females. Given that stress exposure has been linked to diverse medical and psychiatric illnesses, her work has direct implications for public health and the development of personalized medicine for stress-related diseases.

Additionally, her lab investigates how stress exposure can lead to comorbidity between psychiatric disorders and cardiovascular disease risk. An ASPET member since 2005, Wood has been an active member of the Division for Behavioral Pharmacology most recently serving the division as secretary/treasurer. She also is currently is an associate editor for the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. In 2018, Wood was named a Breakthrough Star by the UofSC Office of Research.

Wood will be presented the award at the ASPET Division for Behavioral Pharmacology Annual Division Meeting during the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2020 in San Diego, Calif., this April.

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