Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Anthony Filiano, Ph.D.

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Anthony FilianoFrom eating lunch with a Nobel laureate (Penn State alum Paul Berg), to making yogurt with live bacterial cultures, the opportunities I encountered in the BMB department at Penn State have undoubtedly contributed to my successful training as a scientist.

I graduated from the Microbiology program in 2001. During my tenure at Penn State, I most enjoyed how hands-on research experience is stressed in the lab curriculum, in addition to the ample research opportunities available to undergraduates. I worked in 2 labs, one isolating cold-active lipases (lab of Dr. Jean Brenchly) and another looking at the role of a novel receptor in substance abuse (lab of Dr. Kyung-An Han). These exposures not only sparked my interest in molecular biology and neuroscience, but gave me an edge when applying for summer internships.

In the summers after my sophomore and junior years, I worked in labs at the University of Pittsburgh, which resulted in my first peer-reviewed publication and a fellowship award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  Following graduation at Penn State, I furthered my studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Rochester, where I received a Ph.D. in Cell Biology. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Neurology at UAB.  We use a variety of biochemical and electrophysiology techniques to study neuronal dysfunction in mouse models of dementia.

Even in my first year of graduate school, it became evident that my scientific training at Penn State had really equipped me for a successful graduate experience. While others were learning basic scientific fundamentals, my first laboratory rotation culminated in a publication. My thesis work, which investigated gene regulation during a stroke, was funded through individual fellowships from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health.

Matriculation through the microbiology program at Penn State, not only was a wonderful experience inside and outside the classroom and lab, but I still reap the benefits as a Penn State alumni. Attending graduate school over 800 miles from State College, I was surprised to see the familiar faces of fellow Penn State alums the first day of class. It wasn’t long before many of us would gather together to watch Penn State sporting events. Also, getting in touch with the local Alumni Association has been a great resource and networking tool.

As a whole, the education I received from the BMB department at Penn State positioned me as a highly competitive applicant for summer internships and graduate schools. As a postdoctoral fellow, I am still benefiting from my Penn State education and expect the same as I continue in my career as a principal investigator.