Dr. Pamela Lein Honored with 2023 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award

Lein lab
Dr. Pam Lein (in center with red shirt and black vest) with her lab group.

Dr. Pamela Lein Honored with 2023 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award

The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) recently announced that Dr. Pamela Lein, professor of neurotoxicology, has been selected to receive the 2023 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award—one of the highest honors the AAVMC bestows. This award, established in 2011, recognizes outstanding research and scholarly achievements in the field of veterinary medicine and honors those who demonstrate excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and exceptional mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine.

Since Lein joined the UC Davis faculty in 2008, she has developed several exceptional, well-funded research programs that have addressed fundamental and translational gaps in our understanding of the emergence of neurological disorders and their influence across the lifespan. Lein also serves as the director for the second CounterACT Center of Excellence established at UC Davis.

In nominating her for this award, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education Isaac Pessah notes that: “Pam has made seminal scientific contributions that have informed public policy in several tangible ways. Her innovative approaches have gone well beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries of neuroscience, immunology and environmental health. A key intellectual concept that bridges Pam’s research programs is that susceptibility to complex disorders and their clinical severity are etiologically driven by the convergence of heritable and lifestyle factors.”

Research studies in Lein’s laboratory include identifying novel therapeutic approaches for preventing brain damage following exposure to chemicals that cause seizures; understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which environmental factors interact with genetic factors to increase risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and determining how pesticides alter communication between nerves and immune cells in the lung to cause airway hyperreactivity, which is a major symptom of asthma.

Her research involves diverse model systems ranging from primary neuronal cell culture to zebrafish to rodent models, and multiple techniques ranging from cellular and molecular techniques to in vivo imaging to behavioral studies. She has mentored numerous graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in her laboratory, many of whom have gone on to leadership positions in pharmacology and toxicology.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected for the AAVMC Excellence in Research Award,” Lein said. “It has been incredibly enriching to me personally to work with many fantastic colleagues and trainees at UC Davis and other schools and colleges of veterinary medicine who have provided me with interesting challenges, and enabled me to achieve much more than I would have been able to do on my own. This award belongs to them as much as it does to me.”

The selection for this AAVMC award is made by a committee of peers and designates Lein as the outstanding veterinary medical researcher of the year. Along with an honorarium and engraved award, Lein will be featured in a 3-minute tribute video during the AAVMC Annual Conference in March 2023.

Congratulations, Dr. Lein!

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