Oglethorpe University – Mercer University College of Pharmacy Research Pipeline Internships

In fall 2014, the Natural Sciences Division at Oglethorpe University allied with Dr. Kevin Murnane of Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy to develop a biomedical research and training pipeline for Oglethorpe science students looking for authentic research experiences.

This collaboration has been formalized to provide research opportunities that compliment Oglethorpe’s liberal arts approach and this year we are happy to announce an expansion of this program. This year, Dr. Murnane is joined by his colleagues, Dr. Clinton Canal and Dr. Ajay Banga, in offering 5 research internship opportunities for qualified students.

Students accepted into this pipeline may be rewarded with course credit, authorship on papers, attendance at scientific meetings, competition for grants and awards, and letters of recommendation, contingent upon satisfactory performance.

MURNANE LAB – Behavioral Pharmacology

(2 Student Interns)
Dr. Murnane’s research program involves the use of behavior and neuropharmacology in live rodents to develop new treatments for disorders of the central nervous system, disorders such as drug dependence, Autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. We use operant and Pavlovian conditioning, receptor binding, drug self-administration, drug-elicited effects, brain neurotransmitter analysis, pharmacokinetics, brain imaging, cell culture, and molecular biology. Opportunities exist for enthusiastic students to develop independent research projects.

BANGA LAB – Transdermal Drug Development

(1 Student Intern)
Dr. Banga’sresearch program involves the use of human skin grafts in diffusion chambers, monitoring drug transport over time, and analyzing drug levels using advanced analytical chemistry techniques such as High Pressure Liquid Chromatography. For drugs that do not easily cross the skin, we use enhancement technologies such as chemicals, iontophoresis, lasers, or microneedles. Our graduates are working in many large pharmaceutical companies. We have received funding from pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies including AbbVie/Abbott, Bayer Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, L’Oreal, Skin Medica/Allergan, Merck KGaA and Pfizer.

CANAL LAB – Serotonin Receptor Pharmacology and Neurobiology

(2 Student Interns)
The serotonin neurotransmitter system powerfully modulates nearly all brain functions, including mood, cognition, and memory, yet the precise molecular, cellular, and behavioral functions of several serotonin receptors are unknown. Dr. Canal’s lab conducts molecular pharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, and neurobiology studies to advance understanding of the serotonin system. The purpose is to guide drug discovery for neuropsychiatric disorders. This work has led to the development of novel compounds for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (targeting serotonin 5-HT1A and 5-HT7 receptors), fragile X syndrome (targeting 5-HT7 receptors), psychotic disorders (targeting 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors) and substance use disorders (targeting 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors). The Department of Defense, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and FRAXA fragile X research organization (with support from the X Family Foundation) currently fund Dr. Canal’s lab, and he is seeking well-organized and eager students to join his team in their discovery efforts.

Applicants should:
• have sophomore or junior standing
• submit a copy of a transcript demonstrating that he/she has completed at least 3 Lab-based classes in Chemistry, Biology or Physics with a grade of C or better.
• submit a resume, that includes the name and email addresses of two Oglethorpe faculty willing to serve as references,
• submit a cover Letter (maximum 2 pages). The cover letter should explain, in detail, the applicant’s specific interest in engaging in biomedical research at Mercer and should explain the student’s preferred laboratory match of the three options listed above. Applicants with an expressed interest in graduate, medical, or pharmacy school will receive priority.

All materials should be submitted to Dr. Karen Schmeichel ([email protected]) by 5 PM, Tuesday, November 7. Please use “Mercer Pipeline” in the subject line. Final placements will be made following in-person interviews with the top candidates.

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