Matthew Robson, PhD, joins the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy as an assistant professor in the division of pharmaceutical sciences at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, where he will start an independent research laboratory in the area of neuropharmacology.
Tell us about your educational background.
I grew up in a very rural area of New York and made my way to Buffalo where I received my undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Canisius College. I conducted my post-baccalaureate research at the DENT Neurologic Institute in clinical populations prior to attending West Virginia University for my graduate studies. I obtained my PhD in pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences from West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. While I was there I began working with rodent models of drug abuse, depression and traumatic brain injury. For my postdoctoral work, I went to the Vanderbilt University Department of Pharmacology to gain a better understanding of the use of genetics in animal models and neuroscience. While at Vanderbilt University, I had an opportunity to move with my postdoctoral mentor and aid in the formation of the Florida Atlantic University Brain Institute located in Jupiter, Florida.
How did you become interested in pharmacy?
My career goal as an undergraduate was to attend pharmacy school and obtain my PharmD, and as an undergraduate, I obtained an entry-level job in a retail pharmacy setting. Around the same time, I was granted a great, serendipitous, research opportunity with a faculty member at a pharmacy school and it was through this experience that I knew neuropharmacology research was what I truly wanted to do with my career. I still loved the concepts of pharmacology, drug discovery, development, etc. I just wanted to put it to use in a different way. This passion and interest has now led me to starting my independent research lab at a college of pharmacy.
Do you have any specific areas of interest…and any accomplishments in that area?
My primary area of interest, within the broad area of neuropharmacology, is understanding how trauma and inflammation effects behavior and neural signaling within the brain. It has become well established in recent years that inflammation and immune system changes alter signaling in the brain and these changes are associated with several different neuropsychiatric disorders. Patients who suffer traumatic brain injuries have a greater propensity for the development of neuropsychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety. The primary goal of my lab is to understand the language the brain uses to alter neuronal signaling ultimately changing behavior and through this understanding develop new drugs to treat individuals suffering from these ailments.
I have been lucky to be the recipient of many awards including research fellowships from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in the form of a NARSAD Young Investigator Award. I also have a vested interest in science policy measures and have been awarded science policy fellowships from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and Society for Neuroscience.
Why choose UC?
The University of Cincinnati is a large university with both the research infrastructure and scientific experts that will allow me to accomplish my research objectives. It has world-renowned hospitals, research centers and cores all on one medical campus that will allow me to accomplish my research objectives. UC is also investing in the future of neuroscience research in many ways on the medical center campus, including the building of the new Gardner Neuroscience Institute currently under construction. Neuroscience and neuropharmacology are at an exciting precipice right now as there are many tools being developed and utilized that give researchers newfound insights into the basis of neurologic disorders. I believe that the coming years will be an exciting time for neuroscience and neuropharmacology research everywhere, but especially in places such as here, and I wanted to be an integral part of the research community that they are building.
Have you lived in the area before?
I have not lived in the Cincinnati area prior to this. I hear great things about the city and can’t wait to try some of the local foods and beers. The city and the surrounding area seems packed with lots of local bike trails, parks and other various activities. I hear great things about all the museums and of course the Cincinnati Zoo. I do not currently have a favorite baseball team so I have decided I am going to have to be a Reds fan and attend some games at Great American Ball Park.
Tell us a little about youself.
I am moving to Cincinnati with my wife Catherine, our daughter Kayleigh and our rescue dog Emily. I enjoy doing lot of outdoor activities such as riding my bike, motorcycle and enjoying various parks. My favorite vacation spot, like many from the Cincinnati area, is Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.