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Margarita                      Dubocovich

Margarita L. Dubocovich PhD

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Senior Associate Dean for Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement; Professor and Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Specialty/Research Focus

Behavioral pharmacology; Circadian Rhythm/Chronobiology; Drug abuse; Neuropharmacology; Signal Transduction

 
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Professional Summary:

My lab‘s research seeks to understand the mechanism of action of the hormone melatonin at the MT1 and MT2 G-protein coupled receptors. We study these receptors in the brain and through the body with the goal of identifying ligands that exhibit useful binding affinity and therapeutic potential. Our team of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians and senior scientists work with each other and with expert co-investigators in medicinal chemistry to discover and develop novel molecules that can mimic or counteract the actions of melatonin. These molecules may help treat a variety of diseases and conditions including insomnia, circadian sleep disorders, depression, seasonal affective disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

Our laboratory pursues these investigations from several angles. We assess the localization of the melatonin receptors, examine their cellular and molecular signaling mechanisms,and investigate receptor fate following prolonged exposure to melatonin. We study the distinct roles of selective MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptor ligands in modulating circadian rhythms, methamphetamine‘s ability to induce both sensitization to prolonged exposure, and stimulation of the reward system. We also study cell proliferation, survival, and neurogenesis in the brain, and the changes in gene expression underlying all these processes.

Our research ultimately aims to discover novel drugs with differential actions at the MT1 and MT2 receptors. We use molecular-based drug design, computer modeling and medicinal chemistry to design and synthesize small molecules that target these receptors as agonists, inverse agonists and/or antagonists. We then pharmacologically and functionally characterize these molecules using cell-based assays and bioassays and test them in circadian and behavioral animal models.

Education and Training:
  • PhD, Biological Chemistry, University of Buenos Aires School of Chemistry and Natural Sciences (1976)
  • BS, Biological Chemistry, University of Buenos Aires School of Chemistry and Natural Sciences (1971)
Employment:
  • Co-Director, Institute for Strategic Enhancement of Eduicational Diversity (iSEED) (2013-present)
  • Education and Diversity Director, National Science Foundation BioXFEL Science and Technology Center (2013-present)
  • Senior Associate Dean, Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement, University at Buffalo (2012-present)
  • Program Director, The Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences Program at UB (2009-present)
  • Program Director, The CLIMB UP (Undergraduate Program) for Summer Research at UB (2009-present)
  • Program Director, The CLIMB NS (Next Step) for Postdoctoral Fellows at UB (2009-present)
  • Professor and Chair, University at Buffalo (2008-present)
  • Professor Emeritus, Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Northwestern University, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (2008-present)
  • Program Director, The Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences Program at Northwestern (2007–2008)
  • Adjunct Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine (1999–2008)
  • Professor, Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine (1991–2008)
  • Associate Professor, Pharmacology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine (1986–1991)
  • Professor, Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Northwestern University, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (1982–1986)
  • Visiting Professor, Pharmacology, Universidad del Pais Vasco, Spain (1983)
  • Research Associate Professor, Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Science Center (1980–1982)
  • Project Leader, Biology, Synthelabo, France (1977–1980)
  • Pharmacologist, Pharmacology, Wellcome Research Laboratories, United Kingdom (1976–1977)
  • Instructor, Pharmacology, Buenos Aires University, School of Medicine, Argentina (1973–1976)
  • Research Fellow, National Research Council, Instituto de Investigaciones Farmacologicas, Argentina (1972–1976)
  • Instructor, Buenos Aires University, School of Chemistry and Natural Sciences, Argentina (1971–1972)
  • Teaching Assistant, Organic Chemistry, Buenos Aires University, School of Chemistry and Natural Sciences, Argentina (1970–1971)
See All (21 Total) >
Awards and Honors:
  • School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Dean's Award (2013)
  • 2012 PhRMA Foundation Award in Excellence in Pharmacology/Toxicology (2012)
  • Mayor Byron W Brown Hispanic Heritage Award in Medical and Health Fields (2011)
  • Aaron B Lerner Award for Outstanding Contributions to Melatonin Research (2011)
  • University at Buffalo Distinguished Postdoctoral Mentor Award (2011)
  • PhRMA Foundation Starter Research Grant Award (1983)
  • APS Travel Award to attend XXXI International Congress of Physiology- 1989
  • Advance Research Fellow, National Research Council of Argentina (1974-1976)
  • ASPET Travel Awards to attend IUPHAR Congresses (1981-1984-1987-1990-1998)
  • Research Fellow of the National Research Council of Argentina (1971-1974)
  • Invited speaker at 88 National and International Symposia (1979-present)

Research Expertise:
  • Circadian Rhythms: Melatonin (MT1 and MT2) receptors as targets for the modulation of circadian rhythms
  • Drug Discovery: Discovery of receptor-selective melatonin ligands for the treatment of circadian sleep disorders, depression, and cancer
  • Metabolism: Metabolism, methamphetamine-induced sensitization, cell proliferation neurogenesis
  • Neuropharmacology: Cellular, molecular and behavioral neuropharmacology of G protein-coupled receptors
Grants and Sponsored Research:
  • September 2013–August 2018
    National Science Foundation – Science and Technology Center (STC) Biology with X-ray Free Electron Lasers (BioXFEL)
    National Science Foundation
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • March 2012–December 2016
    Enabling Access To Cutting-Edge Biomedical And Behavioral Science
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,900,000
  • June 2013–May 2016
    iSEED – Institute of Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity
    UB Office of the Provost-3E Fund
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • June 2013–August 2015
    Zannoni Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award
    American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $27,000
  • July 2007–September 2013
    Modulation of Methamphetamine Action in the CNS
    NIH/NIDA
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,000,000
  • June 2010–August 2012
    Zannoni Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award
    American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $27,000
  • April 2009–March 2012
    Discovery Of Selective MT1 Melatonin Receptor Ligands For Sleep Disorders
    NINDS
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $275,000
  • April 2004–March 2011
    Modulatory Role of Melatonin in CNS Function
    NIH/NIMH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,000,000
  • December 2001–November 2008
    Melatonin Receptors as Therapeutic Targets in Primates
    NIH/NIMH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,125,000
  • August 2006–August 2008
    Regulation of MT1 and MT2 Melatonin Receptor Functional Sensitivity By Therapeutic Concentrations Of Rozerem
    Takeda Pharmaceuticals
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $221,000
See All (10 Total) >

Journal Articles:
See All (90 Total) >

Professional Memberships:
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology- Fellow (2012)
  • European Circadian Rhythms Society (2009)
  • American Association of Pharmacology Chairs (2009)
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) (2002)
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology- Member (1998–2012)
  • Catecholamine Club (1990)
  • Serotonin Club (1987)
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (1983)
  • Society of Neuroscience (1981)
  • French Association of Pharmacology (1979–1989)
  • British Pharmacological Society (1978)
Service Activities:
  • Western New York ASPET Chapter; President (2010)
  • Professional Development Committee, Society for Neuroscience.; Committee Member (2009)
  • Diversity In Neuroscience (DIN) Committee, Society for Neuroscience; Committee Member (2008–2009)
  • Division for Neuropharmacology of ASPET; Secretary/Treasurer (2006–2010)
  • ASPET Committee on Minorities Affairs; Past President (2005–2006)
  • Great Lakes Chapter ASPET; Committee Member (2005–2007)
  • Biological Rhythms and Sleep Study Section; Member (2003–2004)
  • ASPET Committee on Minorities Affairs; Chair (2002–2005)
  • Division of Pharmacology Education of ASPET; Executive Board (2001–2005)
  • Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience 3 (IFCN-3) Study Section; Member (2000–2003)
  • IUPHAR Subcommittee for Melatonin Receptor Nomenclature and Classification; Chair (1995)
  • NIMH Neurochemistry and Neuropharmacology Review Committee (NIH); Member (1992–1996)
  • Various Insitutes; Northwestern University Neuroscience Institute, Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, The Asher Center for the Study & Treatment of Depressive Disorders, Center for Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology, Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology; Participant (1989–2008)
  • Doctoral Fellowships in Biol. Science, Review Panel, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Reviewer (1989–1992)
  • Grants-In-Aid Review Committee, American Heart Association, Chicago; Member (1988)
  • Chicago Chapter Society for Neuroscience; Councilor, Secretary Treasurer, Treasurer, President Elect, President, Past President (1985–1996)

Clinical Specialties:
Clinical Offices:
Insurance Accepted:

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Contact Information

102 Farber Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 829-3048
Email: mdubo@buffalo.edu


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