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Odilia Lu receives inaugural Alper Fellowship in the Neurosciences

Odilia Lu

The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute is pleased to announce that Berkeley Neuroscience PhD student Odilia Lu was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Mark and Christine Alper Fellowship in the Neurosciences. The fellowship was created in 2022 to recognize the 55th anniversary of Mark Alper joining the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB; known then as the Department of Biochemistry) and his teaching in MCB until his retirement. It provides a one-year stipend to graduate students in the Neuroscience and MCB PhD Programs whose proposed research project involves basic research related to the causes and/or treatment of mental health conditions including major depression, anxiety, or closely related illnesses.

Lu is a member of the Lammel lab, and she received the 2023 Alper Fellowship in the Neurosciences for her proposal, “Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the antidepressant effects of psilocybin”. The psychedelic compound psilocybin is a promising potential treatment for depression, but much remains to be discovered about how its antidepressant effects are mediated on the cellular and molecular levels. Lu will investigate a brain area and serotonin receptor subtype that may be important for producing psilocybin’s antidepressant effects — without its hallucinogenic effects — in mice, which could lead to the development of novel drugs to treat depression. The Alper Fellowship will provide Lu with a $48,000 stipend for her third year in the Neuroscience PhD Program, which begins in fall 2023.

For more about The Alper Fellowship in the Neurosciences and how to apply, please visit the fellowship page.