The University of Vermont Graduate College is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2020-2021 Rodney L. Parsons Anatomy and Neurobiology Award is Patrick Mullen, a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Pat grew up in Potsdam NY and earned a BS in neuroscience from St. Lawrence University, where he worked on a research project investigating a novel treatment for multiple sclerosis. Following graduation, he worked as a research assistant at Boston University Medical School studying the role of amyloid precursor protein phosphorylation in Alzheimer’s disease.
To continue studying diseases of the nervous system, Pat joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UVM and began thesis work in the labs of Chris Francklyn and Alicia Ebert, where he uses cellular and organismal models to better understand the processes that link specific gene mutations to neurological diseases such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and developmental encephalopathies.

While at UVM, Pat also discovered his passion for teaching. He has taught undergraduate, physical therapy, and medical students at UVM and is currently pursuing teaching positions. Apart from science, Pat spends his time with his fiancée Aliza, loving their cats Didier and Chai, and taking in the world-class food, beer, and natural beauty that Vermont has to offer.

Dr. Rodney L. Parsons joined UVM as Assistant Professor of Physiology in 1967. In 1979, he became chair of the then Department of Anatomy and re-purposed it to establish one of the first Anatomy and Neurobiology departments in the country. He was the founding and only chair of that department, which merged with the Department of Neurology in 2012 to become the Department of Neurological Sciences, integrating basic and clinical science under one department. The goal of the Parsons Award is to support outstanding graduate students who demonstrate excellence in both neuroscience research and teaching in any broadly defined anatomical science, the disciplines which Dr. Parsons played a key role in the growth and evolution of at UVM.