The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy would like to introduce new faculty member Timothy Phoenix, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences. His position is supported in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Phoenix hopes to build a strong collaborative bond between the two organizations.
What is your background?
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Syracuse University, and then spent two years as a lab technician at the University of Rochester (New York) before starting graduate school at Albany Medical College (New York). There I trained in central nervous system development and neural stem cell biology with Sally Temple, PhD, a world-renowned stem cell biologist who actually discovered neural stem cells in the developing mammalian brain. After finishing my PhD I moved to Memphis, TN for my postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Working with Richard Gilbertson, MD, PhD, a leading figure in the pediatric brain tumor field who utilized genomics to better understand tumor heterogeneity, I discovered a unique tumor-vascular interaction that may partially explain the exceptional clinical response identified in a subset of patients. Applying this combination of developmental biology and cancer genomics to study pediatric brain tumors will be my primary research focus as an assistant professor at UC.
Why did you choose UC?
When looking to start up my own research program there were a number of factors to consider, relating to both work and family. The strong neuroscience, developmental biology, and cancer research programs at UC and Cincinnati Children’s provide a great environment for junior faculty to thrive. On top of that, I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about the city of Cincinnati in general. This combination was a perfect match for everyone.
When did you decide pharmacy was your career path?
I’ve always been interested in science and medicine, and was introduced to research as an undergraduate in the honors thesis program. Now, years later, I still love coming up with new ideas to investigate in the lab. I’ve been lucky to have very supportive and encouraging mentors who have fostered my scientific growth, which is something I will strive to do at UC as a mentor and teacher.
Is there any area of research that you specialize in?
My research will focus on pediatric brain tumors, from tumor development to identifying new treatments. Having trained in neural stem cell biology as a PhD candidate and tumor genomics/microenvironment interactions as a postdoctoral fellow provides me with a specialized viewpoint to interrogate these questions. Malignant brain tumors are a devastating set of diseases, and compared to other cancers little progress has been made in developing new effective treatments or improving overall long term survival. The ultimate goal of my research will translate laboratory findings into improved treatments and quality of life for patients.
Are you bringing family with you?
Yes! My wife Jennifer and two young children Josephine and Nicholas are all excited to cheer for the Bearcats now (as long as they are not playing the Syracuse Orange!)
You can usually find me playing with my kids—from Star Wars to Disney Princesses! In my free time I enjoy running and working on my golf game.