Patrick Houlihan Defends Thesis

Patrick Houlihan successfully passed his Ph.D. examination on Wednesday, November 1, 2012. His thesis title was “The Role of Mitochondrial Restructuring in Neuronal Ca2+ Homeostasis and Excitotoxicity”. Members of his thesis committee were chair, Yuriy Usachev from the Departments of Pharmacology and Anesthesia; D.P. Mohapatra from the Departments of Pharmacology and Anesthesia; Stefan Strack from the Departments of Pharmacology and Pathology; Gloria Lee from the Department of Internal Medicine; and Steven Green from the Department of Biology.

>Dr. Houlihan’s research focused on the regulation of mitochondrial architecture and its effects on neuronal calcium signaling and excitotoxicity. This characterization included the functional analysis of novel mitochondrial calcium transporters using various electrophysiological, biochemical and molecular biology techniques. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV and joined the Pharmacology Ph.D. Program at Iowa in 2006. During research in Dr. Usachev’s laboratory, Dr. Houlihan received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship Award.

His plans in the coming months will be to start a postdoctoral position in Dr. David Clapham’s lab at Harvard University, where he will study the function and regulation of novel mitochondrial ion transporters using electrophysiological recording of isolated mitochondria.

Congratulations to Dr. Houlihan!