Joshua Garcia, PhD receives University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Graduate School Outstanding Dissertation AwardKristine M. Sikora, PhD | Graduate School May 22, 2023
Aurora, Colorado – Joshua D. Garcia, PhD, 2022 graduate of the Pharmacology PhD program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz), is the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award.
The Graduate School honors the recent graduate who produced the best dissertation and dissertation defense out of all graduates from the preceding three semesters. Nominations were submitted by faculty mentors and/or any members of a student's thesis committee and highlighted elements of the dissertation and defense that were truly outstanding.
Dr. Garcia’s dissertation, entitled “Understanding mechanisms of inhibitory synapse down-regulation in vulnerable cell-types during OGD”, focused on understanding how synapses change in ischemic injury, a process that leads to significant impairments in memory, cognition and behavior. Utilizing a wide variety of cutting-edge techniques such as super-resolution light microscopy, Dr. Garcia’s work has provided novel insight into the structure of synapses during pathogenesis, resulting in a number of new projects, publications, and collaborations.
Dr. Garcia was nominated by Katharine R. Smith, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at CU Anschutz and Mark Dell’Acqua, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at CU Anschutz.
In their nomination, they highlighted that “[Dr. Garcia’s] publications deepen our understanding of how synapses are lost during ischemia, and provide crucial mechanisms for this process.” They add “[Dr. Garcia] has presented his work in poster form at meetings all over the U.S. and Canada, underlining how far reaching and significant his thesis work is.”
“It is an honor to be the recipient of this distinguished award, and for the recognition of my graduate work highlighted in my thesis dissertation.” Dr. Garcia stated when asked what this award means to him. “Obtaining my doctorate through the Pharmacology Graduate Program was a milestone in my professional career and receiving this award underscores the hard work and dedication I put forth in my thesis lab.”
Dr. Garcia goes on to acknowledge members of his support system. “Of course, this achievement was made possible by the outstanding mentorship I received through both my thesis committee and my thesis advisor, Dr. Kate Smith. Dr. Smith provided an environment that allowed me to learn, grow and flourish as a budding neuroscientist!”
He concludes, “As a whole, the countless resources at Anschutz, specifically within the graduate school, Pharmacology Department and Pharm Grad Program, made me into the scientist I am today, and I will forever be appreciative for my time at CU Anschutz.”
Dr. Garcia is the 2023 award recipient. Previous award recipients are listed below.
2022: Tiffany Callahan, PhD, Computational Bioscience PhD Program
2021: Alexandria Hughes, PhD, Neuroscience PhD Program; and Sarah Gibson Cook, PhD, Pharmacology PhD Program
2020: Hengbo Zhou, PhD, Cancer Biology PhD Program; Rani Powers, PhD, Computational Bioscience PhD Program; and Matthew Becker, PhD, Neuroscience PhD Program
2019: Jayne Aiken, PhD, Cell Biology, Stem Cells & Development PhD Program
2018: Dayton Goodell, PhD, Neuroscience PhD Program
2017: Jovylyn Gatchalian, PhD, Pharmacology PhD Program; and Marybeth Sechler Lupo, PhD, Cancer Biology PhD Program
About The Graduate School | The Graduate School at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) oversees, facilitates, and enhances graduate education and postdoctoral training, while encouraging excellence in research, creative and scholarly work. We offer master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, graduate certificates, and non-degree options in a wide variety of programs.