Mark M. Rasenick, Distinguished University Professor in physiology and biophysics and psychiatry and founding director of the Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, has been named a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.
Rasenick was cited for distinguished contributions advancing our understanding of neurotransmitter signaling and the biology of mood-disorders and for his and advocacy for science policy.
"Mark has been a leader in the neuroscience efforts of the department and was instrumental in obtaining a neuroscience-oriented training grant and in making neuroscience a degree granting program," said R. John Solaro, Distinguished University Professor and head of physiology and biophysics at UIC.
Dr. Rasenick pioneered the establishment of a role of cytoskeletal elements in G protein signaling, Solaro said, which is now widely recognized to be a significant element in signaling cascades.
In his study of G protein signaling and the interaction with structural proteins in the brain, Rasenick and his colleagues found evidence that a change in the location of this protein could serve as a biomarker for depression, suggesting molecular and cellular targets for antidepressant treatment. A biomarker could make it possible to identify patients with depression with a simple laboratory test and to determine whether therapy was providing a successful response.
Rasenick has worked to use science as a tool of diplomacy and outreach all over the world. During 1999 and 2000, Rasenick worked on the staff of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy as a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow. In addition he serves on the advocacy committees of several scientific societies - neuroscience, biochemistry and molecular biology, and neuropsychopharmacology.
Rasenick received his B.A. from Case Western Reserve University in biology and political science and a Ph.D. in developmental biology from Wesleyan University. After post-doctoral research at Yale Medical School, Rasenick joined the faculty of the UIC College of Medicine as an assistant professor in 1983. He was named Distinguished University Professor in 2006. In addition to his research and teaching, Rasenick worked to develop UIC's interdisciplinary graduate program in neuroscience, which he directs along with Simon Alford and Daniel Corcos.
The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. This year 503 Fellows were named for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. They will be honored Feb. 19 at the AAAS annual meeting in Washington.