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Eagle Gets MSU Postdoctoral Excellence in Research Award

Andrew Eagle

Andrew L. Eagle, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology, was recently given an MSU Postdoctoral Excellence in Research Award, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies (OVPRGS) and the MSU Postdoctoral Office to recognize exceptional postdoctoral fellows and research associates for their contributions.

His current research on the neurobiology of psychiatric disease takes a multi-faceted approach to examine the physiological and molecular mechanisms that underlie behavior, using animal models of psychiatric disease. Treatments that target activity changes in individual neurons, or groups of neurons, within a brain network can be transformative for the development of therapies for psychiatric disease, and possibly provide cures to lifelong diseases such as addiction and depression.

“I have both personal and professional interest in psychiatric disease,” Eagle said. “These disorders are serious problems and share many things in common, most notably we tend to see overlapping brain regions and circuits involved in these diseases. I find it fascinating that perturbation of similar brain networks can lead to very different outcomes.  For example, susceptibility to depression in one case and addiction in another. I want to know why these diseases develop in certain individuals and the brain mechanisms that become dysfunctional after drugs and stress, both as an interested scientist and as a concerned citizen who sees a real problem in our society.”

Eagle began his academic career at Delta College and Central Michigan University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology, followed by a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology, and a doctorate in Applied Experimental Psychology with Justin Oh-Lee in 2010. After completing his doctoral work, Eagle began his postdoctoral training at Wayne State University, studying behavioral neuroscience in the lab of Shane Perrine. He came to MSU in 2013, joining the lab of A.J. Robison in the Physiology Department, where he studies the role of the transcription factor delta FosB in learning and memory.

Eagle has published 11 peer-reviewed articles, including eight during his time at MSU. He was awarded a position on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Training Grant through the MSU Institute for Integrative Toxicology, and is currently competing for funding through K01 and R21 grants. Notably, Eagle won the prestigious National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, in total, receiving enough awards to completely cover his time at MSU.

“You would be hard-pressed to find a person in the U.S. who doesn’t know someone close to them, such as a family member, friend, or co-worker, that is struggling with addiction or depression,” Eagle said. “I have family members and friends who struggle with these diseases and some of my closest friends have died from their drug addiction. I think we can attribute this growing problem to the stigma associated with mental illnesses such as depression and addiction. Therefore, it is my wish that my contribution to understanding the mechanism for these diseases can lead to more efficacious treatments.  While we are still far from a cure for these diseases, this research is critical to paving the way for future treatments.”

Eagle is actively involved in the MSU neuroscience program, presenting research and educational outreach both within the MSU community and the broader East Lansing area.  He regularly teaches undergraduate courses in neuroscience and psychology, and has independently mentored four students at MSU.

“Receiving this award means that my research is respected and valued by my collegial peers, namely other postdocs at MSU,” Eagle said. “Postdocs keenly understand the hard work and determination to complete high-impact research, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn my peers value my work. Additionally, in research we often tend to become very secluded from other areas outside our field. Although I find my own work fascinating, it felt great to hear that others thought it was interesting as well. Finally, receiving this award from the MSU Postdoctoral Association and the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies reinforces the idea that the university is committed to supporting their postdocs who make a substantial, but often underrepresented contribution to the success of the university.”

  • Stepheni Schlinker  via The Graduate School

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