June 16, 2020

Pharmacology Student Spotlight

Josh Lott

Ph.D. Student, Puthenveedu lab
Hometown: Atlana, Georgia
Undergraduate: Neuroscience, Georgia State University



Tell me a little bit about yourself:
I have a background is in neuroscience, and I think the field as a whole is really fascinating. I wanted to narrow my focus a bit as a started applying for graduate schools, and that’s what led me Michigan’s department of Pharmacology. It was the top link when I googled neuropharmacology graduate programs, so I figured why not apply. Since I’ve joined the department, I’ve been able to develop my research interests in a great lab (Puthenveedu lab). I’ll be a 4th year PhD student starting this fall, and I can certainly say that things are going by faster than anticipated

How would you describe your discipline if you were at a party?
Neuropharmacology is always interesting to describe. I start off by saying it’s about understanding what drugs do to the brain. After that, I let the conversation go based off of the questions that I get.

What do you wish your colleagues/friends/family knew about your work?
There really isn’t a simple answer to most of the questions that they have. My research is just a very tiny piece of a very large picture.

Have you learned/discovered anything during your research that’s surprised you? If so, what?
Yea, of course! It’s hard to narrow this down to one specific example, but it’s always surprising to see how variable drug effects are for any given class of drugs.

What do you consider your biggest challenge?
Graduate school comes with many challenges for sure! I would say finding balance as a graduate student is probably the most challenging.

What drives you?
One of my biggest driving factors would probably be the ways in which I could use my degree to help foster discussions about substance use. There are many misconceptions about this topic, and these misconceptions can have significant impacts in healthcare and policy settings.

What are you most proud of?
The work that I’ve done with Scientist for Outreach on Addiction Research (SOAR) is one of the things I’m most proud of about my time here at Michigan. It’s been great having the opportunity to lead the organization and watch it grow to become what it is today.

What do you plan to do with your degree?
I think it’s very important to communicate basic scientific research in venues outside of academia. Many of my career interests involve doing just that in the context of either healthcare or policy.

A fun or interesting fact about yourself.
I really like photography. I’ve posted some of my pictures on social media before, but it’s probably less than 5% of all the pictures I have.