Distinguished Scientist: Anna Dunaevsky, Ph.D.

January 28, 2016

Image with caption: Anna Dunaevsky, Ph.D.

Anna Dunaevsky, Ph.D.

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC's 2015 Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

The Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award -- which is sponsored by the chancellor -- recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists in the country during the past five years.

  • Name: Anna Dunaevsky, Ph.D.
  • Title: Associate professor
  • Joined UNMC: 2010
  • Hometown: Jerusalem

Research focus:
Synaptic mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders

Describe your research briefly in layman's terms.
My research program focuses on the synaptic and circuit mechanisms that underlie learning and memory. We use a variety of techniques but specialize in structural and functional in vivo multiphoton imaging to determine how synapses and surrounding non neuronal cells, astrocytes, change with learning in mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?
Because learning impairments are associated with many neurocognitive disorders we are interested in understanding how synaptic and circuit mechanisms are disrupted in autism and schizophrenia. To that end, we study genetic and environmental mouse models of these disorders.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?
At different occasions people have asked me to predict what I would be doing five years from now, but looking back I find that my answers were often wrong. My research took unexpected directions. So my advice is follow the data, but don't be scared to try new things.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I was born in the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union but grew up in Jerusalem.
  • I served two years in the Israeli military, I was an antitank missile instructor.
  • I like to run and practice Iyengar yoga.