Jacobs School names new chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Release Date: January 27, 2020

Portrait of Mikhail V. Pletnikov, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB (effective July 1, 2020).
“On a personal note, Olga and I are excited to move to Buffalo. As for its weather, I am sure we will appreciate all four seasons there as, after all, we used to live in Moscow.”
Mikhail V. Pletnikov, MD, PhD, chair, Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mikhail V. Pletnikov, MD, PhD, has been named professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

The appointment was announced Jan. 21 by Michael Cain, MD, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School.

“Dr. Pletnikov rapidly emerged as our top candidate possessing the administrative, scientific, leadership and visionary skills needed to move the department forward and further align the department with the Jacobs School’s strategic plans,” Cain said in a statement.

Pletnikov, a native of Moscow, Russia, will relocate to Buffalo and join UB on July 1, 2020. He will be accompanied by his wife, Olga Pletnikova, MD.

“I feel honored to be appointed to this position,” Pletnikov said. “I am grateful to the members of the Search Committee, the faculty of the department and personally to Dr. Cain for placing their trust in me to lead the department. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students to support and promote education and biomedical research in the department and the school.”

“On a personal note, Olga and I are excited to move to Buffalo,” he said. “As for its weather, I am sure we will appreciate all four seasons there as, after all, we used to live in Moscow.”

Pletnikov will succeed Perry Hogan, PhD, who has served as chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics since 2015.

Pletnikov’s research focus is on understanding how neurons and non-neuronal cells (glial cells) interact with one another to support critical brain functions, including emotion and cognition. He also studies the mechanisms whereby the brain regulates functions of different organs in the body and itself is influenced by peripheral systems, particularly the immune system and the gut.

“A growing number of studies suggest that abnormalities in these complex interactions lead to the development of disorders of the brain and peripheral organs,” he said. “Targeting cells, processes and pathways involved in the brain-periphery interplay is emerging as a new promising direction in treatment of complex brain disorders.”

Pletnikov’s research has been published in numerous journals. He lectures nationally and internationally and serves on the editorial boards of leading scientific journals in his field, including Genes, Brains and Behavior, Biobehavioral Review and Biological Psychiatry.

He received his doctoral degree in medicine from the I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Institute and his PhD in normal physiology from the PK Anokhin Institute of Normal Physiology in Moscow. He completed his postdoctoral training in behavioral neuroscience and neurovirology at Johns Hopkins University.

In 2000, Pletnikov joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor and is currently a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; neuroscience; and molecular and comparative pathology.

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