News and Updates | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center


Dr. Khalid Benamar received funding for a R21 grant from National Institute on Drug Abuse for his project titled, "Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) and cannabidiol (CBD) combination: HIV-1 chronic neuropathic pain". This is a 2 year project which is expected to recieve a total of $420,750.00. 

We are delighted to welcome Christian Bustamante Toro to the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience! Christian is an International employee whom has joined Dr. Igor Ponomarev's lab. 
Christian earned his M.Sc., in Basic Biomedical Sciences from University of Antioquia, in the city of Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia. We welcome him to the team and department!

Congratulations to Peyton Presto, M.D./Ph.D. student and Henry Blanton, Ph.D.! Peyton received an award for her presentation titled, "CGRP1 receptor blockade in the amygdala in neuropathic pain: cellular and behavioral effects", at this year's CTNT Symposium poster presentation. Henry Blanton, Ph.D. also received an award for his presentation titled, Combination of cannabidiol and beta-caryphyllene synergistically mitigate inflammatory pain, in the Basic Science/Post-graduate category.

Congratulations to Mariacristina Mazzitelli in successfully defending her Ph.D. Dissertation! Mariacristina presented her defense on March, 30th, titled, Role of amygdala neurons in the modulation of pain with particular focus on CRF neuron. 

Congratulations to Peyton Presto for receiving 1st place in the Basic/Translational Years 3+ category, during this year's Student Research Week Poster presentations. 

Congratulations to Dr. Khalid Benamar on being awarded the Douglas M. Stocco Scholarship/Research Award! 

Congratulations to Dr. John Lawrence on receiving tenure! With his skills and experience, we are sure he will continue to excel in his role!

Congratulations to Peyton Presto, for passing her Qualifying Exam (EQ)! Peyton presented her QE on Monday, September 27th titled, "Role of neuroimmune signaling in the amygdala in neuropathic pain".

Congratulations to Valeria Jaramillo-Martinez, for passing her Qualifying Exam (QE)! Valeria presented her QE on Tuesday, August 10th titled, "Function of sodium-coupled citrate transporter NaCT and dysfunction in early infantile epileptic encephalopathy".

Congratulations to Xiaobo Liu for passing her Qualifying Exam (QE)! Xiaobo presented her QE on Tuesday, August 24th titled, "Development of a DSM-V model of Alcohol Use Disorder in miniature swine and evaluation of novel treatment methods". 

The Center of Excellence for Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics (CTNT)  and Garrison Institute on Aging (GIA) hosted the 6th Annual Symposium titled "Neuroplasticity in Clinical Disorders From chronic Pain to Neurodegenerative Diseases".  This event was held on the TTUHSC Lubbock campus, April 19, 2022 and featured Distinguished Keynote Speaker and ADK Lecturer, Walter Koroshetz, M.D., DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF Neurological DISORDERS AND STROKE (NINDS) | NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
Additional talks by CTNT members and a poster session took place at this event. There were 6 awards for poster presentations by trainees/students.  Congratulations to the winners listed below:
Basic Science Category:

  • Undergraduate/Medical Student:  Yuma Ortiz
  • Graduate Student:  Peyto Presto
  • Post-Graduate:  Henry Blanton, Ph.D.

Clinical Category:

  • Undergraduate/Medical Student:  Rebecca Hall
  • Graduate Student:  Daniel De Simon
  • Post-Graduate:  Hatice Kurt, Ph.D.

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in this year's event.  We greatly appreciate all CTNT collaborative research presenters, poster presenters and judges who made this event exceptional.  A special thank you to Dr. Walter Koroshetz, our Keynote Speaker for his wonderful talk and taking time to come and visit our campus, students, trainees and faculty! 

Click here to view program
Click here to view event schedule.

The Reid L. Norman and Cynthia A Jumper Excellence in Pharmacology and Neuroscience Graduate Student Scholarship

This two-year scholarship serves to recognize the accomplishments in academia, research, leadership and community involvement of a graduate student in the Translational Neuroscience and Pharmacology (TNP) graduate concentration. This scholarship will be awarded biennially to a Ph.D student in the TNP concentration. 
Dr. Reid L. Norman is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, School of Medicine, TTUHSC. Dr. Cynthia A. Jumper is Vice President for Government Relations and Managed Care, and former Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, TTUHSC. The couple has been dedicating their careers to advancing health care through academics, research and patient care.

Photo Mariacristina Mazzitelli
Mariacristina Mazzitelli has be selected as the 1st recipient of the scholarship. Mariacristina currently works in the lab of Dr. Volker Neugebauer.

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Faculty receives awards

Dr. Khalid Benamar was awarded the Douglas M. Stocco Scholarship/Research award.  This award will be presented during the Dean's Faculty Appreciation Dinner, to be held on May 5th, 2022.