Dr. Nicolas Senese is the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for the August 2021 issue. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at University of Illinois at Chicago under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Rasenick. Dr. Senese earned his PhD in pharmacology under Dr. John Traynor’s mentorship at the University of Michigan. The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned his selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Antidepressants Produce Persistent Gαs Associated Signaling Changes in Lipid Rafts Following Drug Withdrawal” and is available at https://doi.org/10.1124/molpharm.120.000226.
Dr. Senese’s research explores how antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs affect signaling, and protein translocation, between distinct subcellular domains. The current emphasis of his work is on signaling pathways downstream of Gαs and Gαq coupled receptors. He utilizes techniques to analyze signaling in living cells with localized biosensors, as well as ex vivo signaling assays to measure signaling from biochemically extracted subcellular fractions.
The anticipated impact of Dr. Senese’s doctoral research is that he hopes it will improve our understanding of the subcellular domains that contribute to the therapeutic effects of antidepressants and other drugs. By comparing acute drug effects to effects after drug withdrawal, he expects this work will help to uncover cellular adaptations to drug treatment that persist after the drug has cleared the body. Dr. Senese hopes his research will improve upon the currently available techniques to study subcellular signaling processes and lead to a fuller understanding of how drugs affect the brain at a molecular level.
Outside of the lab, Nicolas enjoys spending time with his wife Karalena and newborn son Elliott. He also enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and exploring Chicago’s restaurants with his friends and family.