Wayne State University School of Medicine Names Sokol Todi, Ph.D., chair of Department of Pharmacology
· Filed In: Healthcare News
Sokol Todi, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology and of Neurology, has been named chair of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology.
The appointment, announced by Dean Wael Sakr, M.D., on Sept. 30, is effective Oct. 3.
Dr. Todi has been serving as interim chair of the department since Jan. 24, when he replaced Raymond Mattingly, Ph.D., who retired after serving as chair of the department since 2016.
“Dr. Todi’s leadership of the department has been exemplary and has earned the trust of his faculty and students,” Dean Sakr said. “Furthermore, during the last several months, I had the opportunity to have numerous interactions with him, including asking him to lead/participate in key initiatives for our School of Medicine. I have been consistently impressed with his commitment to serve, his innovative approaches and his talent.”
Dr. Todi joined the WSU faculty as an assistant professor of Pharmacology and of Neurology in 2010. He previously served briefly as an adjunct assistant professor of Biology at the University of Iowa and as a research assistant professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan, where he completed his post-doctoral studies.
He has been consistently funded through R00, R21 and R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as support from non-governmental organizations such as the National Ataxia Foundation, which recognized him two years in a row as a Young Investigator in Spinocerebellar Ataxias, and more recently with a Pioneer Award. His research has also been recognized with the WSU Career Development Chair Award.
His laboratory investigates mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases caused by misfolded proteins, with particular focus on polyglutamine disease proteins. A widely-published researcher, he is an associate editor of the Journal of Neuroscience Research and a member of the editorial board of Scientific Reports.
In 2020, Dr. Todi received the School of Medicine’s Excellence in Research Award, and in 2014 he received the Award for Excellence in Instruction and Teaching. He has mentored numerous graduate and doctoral students.
Dr. Todi received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1999 and his doctoral degree in Neuroscience from the University of Iowa in 2005. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Neurodegeneration at the University of Iowa and at the University of Michigan.
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About Sokol Todi, Ph.D.:
Dr. Sokol V. Todi is Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Neurology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Interim Chair of the Department of Pharmacology. Until recently, Dr. Todi served as the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs for the university. Dr. Todi opened the doors of his laboratory at Wayne State in December 2010, was awarded Tenure in 2015, and was promoted to full Professor in 2020.
During his time at Wayne State, Dr. Todi has been funded through R00 and R01 mechanisms from the NIH, as well as funds from non-governmental organizations, such as the National Ataxia Foundation, which recognized him two years in a row as a Young Investigator in Spinocerebellar Ataxias, and more recently with a Pioneer Award in SCAs. Dr. Todi’s work has also been recognized internally at Wayne (e.g. the Career Development Chair Award). Dr. Todi’s laboratory investigates mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases caused by misfolded proteins, with particular focus on polyglutamine disease proteins.
Age-related neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Polyglutamine Diseases (e.g. several Spinocerebellar Ataxias and Huntington's Disease), afflicts millions of people worldwide. General understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in each of these diseases is incomplete and no cures exist for them. By using a combination of in vitro biochemistry, mammalian cell biology and fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) genetics, the Todi laboratory is working to identify and characterize genes important for neuronal homeostasis during normal function and in disease. They have made great progress in recent years towards understanding mechanisms of disease as well as narrowing down on viable therapeutic approaches.
Another major focus of their work centers on the physiological functions of a large class of proteases known as deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs). DUBs are critical regulators of numerous cellular pathways and have recently emerged as potential therapeutic targets for various diseases, including neurodegenerative ones. The work that the Todi lab has been conducting with DUBs, some of which themselves cause degeneration when mutated, is shedding new light into basic cell biology and identifying novel therapeutic targets and strategies.
Lastly, the Todi lab recently expanded their work into novel processes important for protein quality control (proteostasis) during normal physiological activities as well as in diseases of the nervous system by centering on unconventional mechanisms involving the small protein modifier, ubiquitin.
Sokol Todi, Ph.D.: https://neurology.med.wayne.edu/profile/ej5561