Born in Damascus, Syria, Huda Akil came to the U.S. in the 1960s to get her Ph.D. at UCLA. After completing a post-doc at Stanford University, Dr. Akil began work as a professor at the University of Michigan in 1978 and has been there ever since. She is now a Professor of Psychiatry and co-director of the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at Michigan. She has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the neurobiology of emotions and affect, including pain, stress, depression, and addictive behavior. She began her research work at the time of the discovery of endorphins and participated in the development of that field through a combination of behavioral, anatomical, molecular, and translational studies. Throughout her career, she has developed new technologies for studying the function and regulation of neural circuits, as well as new paradigms and animal models of affective behavior. This includes the study of the neurobiology of temperament and its relevance to differences in mood and addictive disorders. She is currently engaged in large-scale studies to discover new genes and proteins that cause vulnerability to major depression and bipolar illness. The hallmark of her work is its multidimensional, collaborative, and integrative nature. Dr. Akil has received many awards and honors and has been recognized as one of the most cited researchers in neuroscience. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and served as President of the Society for Neuroscience in 2002.

Daisuke Nakada lecture

The Nakada Lecture was established to honor the life of Daisuke Nakada, inspirational teacher, researcher, mentor, and colleague.

Dr. Nakada received his formal academic education at Osaka University. He held positions at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and EI du Pon Nemours & Company before coming to Pitt in 1967. Dr. Nakada's major contributions included an analysis of catabolite repression of Lac Z gene expression and studies of the functional properties of ribosomal subunits. His laboratory described one of the earliest examples of a translational control mechanism in studies of MS2 virus gene expression. Dr. Nakada's laboratory was exploring the molecular mechanisms controlling bacteriophage development at the time his life ended prematurely following a prolonged struggle with oral cancer. Many of his students and fellows have gone on to positions of prominence in government and industrial laboratories as well as in academia.

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