Garrett Sheehan

Garrett Sheehan researches MAGI-2, a scaffolding protein found in the spinal cord, under the direction of his mentor, Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD.

Garrett Sheehan is a doctoral candidate in the neuroscience program.

He studies in the laboratory of his mentor, Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Sheehan, a native of Lockport, New York, earned dual undergraduate degrees at UB — a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

Could you describe your research?

I’m working on MAGI-2 (membrane-associated guanylate kinase inverted 2), a scaffolding protein that we found to be present in the spinal cord. We’re interested in how that protein not only leads to the development of spinal cord synapses, but also to the changes in the spinal cord synapses that occur in injuries like an inflammatory pain model or neuropathic pain.

What excites you most about your research?

I am particularly interested in synaptic physiology. I have the opportunity to really look and see how synaptic properties are altered, just by individual molecules, proteins and especially in the model we’re using. It’s a fairly pertinent project now, especially with the opioid crisis. We hope to identify novel therapeutic targets.

What stands out about the Jacobs School?

I came in through the PhD program in biomedical sciences (PPBS). The first semester for me was a broad survey of all areas of biochemistry, cell biology and genetics. People come here from different backgrounds, with varied fields of study from their undergraduate years. It was an interesting time with everybody getting on the same page and getting that cell biology background focused. I really enjoyed that. Also, the class sizes were optimal. The interactions I had with the professors were always very positive.

Do you see a lot of collaboration here?

Yes. It’s nice to be able to reach out to people in other labs who have different types of expertise than me. It’s great to get their help and bounce ideas off them.

What are your impressions of the Jacobs School building?

I think it’s great. I still get excited coming into this building — just the grandeur of it all. But there’s also the commitment that UB is dedicating toward its medical community, not only for medical students and the medical school, but also the research side of things. It’s important to the school and the city at large with this building being a major part of the medical campus.

What do you like about Buffalo?

It’s a medium-sized city that still has that small-town feel. With the medical campus being downtown now, there are lots of opportunities to go out and experience Buffalo.

What are your future plans?

I hope to go on and do an academic postdoctorate in a large lab. I’m unsure if I want to stay in the pain field or explore another field within neuroscience.

Learn more about our PhD Programs

The University at Buffalo is internationally recognized as a leader in education and research. Whether you’re focused on a specific question or field of research, or you’re looking to explore multiple disciplines, we have a program that will cater to your curiosity.

Our PhD Programs offer outstanding opportunities to learn from researchers who are among the best in their fields.