J. Peyton Bohnsack Receives Thomas Collum Butler Award!

J. Peyton Bohnsack Receives Thomas Collum Butler Award! click to enlarge J. Peyton Bohnsack receives the Thomas Collum Butler Award from Henrik Dohlman

Congratulations to J.Peyton Bohnsack, a graduate student in the Morrow Lab, who received the Thomas Collum Butler Award at the Pharmacology annual award ceremony and holiday celebration at the Kenan Center on December 8, 2016!

Peyton's work in the Morrow Lab focuses on the underlying mechanisms that drive the development of alcohol use disorders.  Alcohol use disorders account for one in ten preventable deaths and 240 billion dollars in lost economic costs yearly in the United States alone. Despite this considerable socioeconomic burden there exists very few effective treatment options available for treating alcohol use disorders, largely due to a lack of understanding of the molecular underpinnings that drive alcohol dependence.  Peyton found that there is a novel epigenetic mechanism that controls ethanol-induced decrease of the most prominent α1 subunit that is mediated by deacetylation of the Gabra1 promoter by histone deacetylase 2 and 3. Decreases in the α1 subunit is linked to many of the withdrawal and dependence symptoms that are observed during alcohol use disorders.  Importantly, he found that these changes can be prevented pharmacologically, genetically, and epigenetically. This work may inform the development of novel interventions for the treatment of alcohol use disorders. 

Peyton has also published one first author paper, two second author papers this year, and serves as a senator for the Department of Pharmacology in the GPSF. 

The Thomas Collum Butler Award was created to support an outstanding advanced graduate student that is undertaking research training in areas broadly related to understanding developmental disabilities, which includes work in neurobiology, neuropharmacology or developmental biology.  Students apply for the annual award with an application letter.  Award recipients receive a check for $1000 plus a stipend.