Lynn Wecker elected next president of national pharmacology group

Already known internationally for her ground-breaking work in defining brain chemistry, Lynn Wecker, PhD, has been elected President Elect for the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), one of this country’s oldest and largest scientific societies.

Dr. Wecker, USF Distinguished Research Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychiatry and Neurosciences, will begin her term July 1, 2010, and will assume the office of president in July 2011, replacing current ASPET President James R. Halpert. Following a one-year term as president, she will serve as past president for one year.

Dr. Lynn Wecker is working to further define brain chemistry.

“Dr. Wecker is most definitely worthy of this post and continues to put USF in the national spotlight with her scientific work,” said Francisco Fernandez, MD, chair of the USF Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences. Dr. Wecker directs the Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory in the Institute for Research in Psychiatry and Neurosciences, which examines how brain chemistry affects or determines behaviors with an emphasis on the etiology and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression and addictive behaviors.

“Dr. Wecker most definitely has the leadership, talent, enthusiasm, and energy to expertly lead ASPET.”

Dr. Wecker joined USF in 1990 as professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Therapeutics. She went on to chair that department from 1991 to 2006, has served as associate dean for Research for the USF College of Medicine, and has served as course director for courses that reach graduate students, medical students and medical residents. In 2009, she joined the multidisciplinary research team of the USF Ataxia Research Center, a national model aimed at finding and testing promising treatments for ataxia. She is also active at the national level in several neuroscience and pharmacology organizations, including the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, the National Institutes of Health Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse Training and Career Development Review Group, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Dr. Wecker’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and seeks to understand how brain chemistry affects or determines behaviors. Her studies involve multidisciplinary approaches to elucidate how age, drugs, environmental and genetic factors affect brain chemistry and behavior.

Currently, she is an associate editor for xPHARM, a web-based Pharmacology resource, and she is co-editor of the 4th edition of Brody’s Human Pharmacology: From Molecular to Clinical. In 2005, Dr. Wecker was elected as secretary/treasurer of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Her professional career includes faculty roles in Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology/Neuroscience from the University of Florida in 1972 and pursued post-doctoral training in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

ASPET, which was formed in 1908, includes nearly 5,000 scientists, researchers and teachers from academia, industry and the government.

Story by Sarah A. Worth, photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications