I received my B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles where I studied the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in Dr. Jay Gralla’s lab. I then joined the laboratory of Dr. Richard Kramer at the University of California, Berkeley where I obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology. As part of my doctoral thesis, I developed novel photochemical methods for controlling neuronal activity. This work led to the discovery and characterization of potential small molecule therapies for restoring visual function to blind patients suffering from degenerative retinal diseases. I joined Dr. Clifford Woolf’s group in the fall of 2014 as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.
As a pharmacologist and neurophysiologist, I am interested in the study of the molecular mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain and other neurodegenerative diseases with the goal of identifying novel targets for therapeutic development. In particular, I would like to develop treatments selectively targeting diseased neurons by exploiting changes in neuronal function that occur due to injury and neurodegeneration.
Tochitsky I., Polosukhina A., Degtyar V., Gallerani N., Smith C., Friedman A., Van Gelder R., Trauner D., Kaufer D., Kramer R.H. Restoring visual function to blind mice with a photoswitch that exploits electrophysiological remodeling of retinal ganglion cells. (2014). Neuron 81, 800-813.