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Michal Vascak

Michal VascakEducation:

Boston University, Concentration in Chemistry (2006); Ramapo College of New Jersey, B.S. in Biochemistry (2008)
Hometown: Valley Cottage, NY
PhD Advisor: John Povlishock, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience

 

Research Interests:

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Concussion), Diffuse Axonal Injury, Neocortex, Circuit / Network Disruption, GABAergic Interneurons, Axon initial Segment, Plasticity, Excitation / Inhibition

Personal Bio:

Michal was born in the Republic of Slovakia (former Czechoslovakia) and raised in the Lower Hudson Valley, just north of New York City. He shares his life with his lovely wife and their dog, living in the Museum District of Richmond. Outside of his academic pursuits, Michal’s passions involve surfing and traveling – taking him from the East Coast to California, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In fact, he only applied to training programs within a 100-mile radius of the ocean (Outer Banks, NC was a bonus!). Michal likes Richmond because it offers a lot of outdoor activities in close proximity and because it is centrally located between mountains and the ocean. Prior to starting the MD-PhD program at VCU, he spent two years as a Post-Baccalaureate Cancer Research Training Award Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. However, for his graduate training he shifted his focus toward the neurosciences, specifically, mild traumatic brain injury. Clinically, Michal is gaining interest in anesthesiology and (un)consciousness.

Honors, Awards, and Grants:

Trainee poster competition finalist at the 34rd Annual Symposium of the National Neurotrauma Society in Lexington, KY (2016).
VCU Neuroscience Student Travel Award for the 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, IL (2015).

Professional, Leadership, and Service Activities:

Teaching Activity:
-Oversight of a visiting post-doc research fellow, Yasuaki Ogino, MD/PhD (Japan).
-Project titled “The Burden of Traumatically Induced Axonal Injury following Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury”
-Resulted in a poster in the 35rd Annual Symposium of the National Neurotrauma Society

Committees:
-Served on committee evaluating Rory McQuiston PhD for promotion to tenure and the rank of Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Publications:

Vascak M, Sun J, Baer M, Jacobs KM and Povlishock JT (2017). Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Evokes Pyramidal Neuron Axon Initial Segment Plasticity and Diffuse Presynaptic Inhibitory Terminal Loss. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 11:157.
doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00157

Vascak M, Jin X, Jacobs KM, and Povlishock JT (2017). Mild traumatic brain injury induces structural and functional disconnection of local neocortical inhibitory networks via parvalbumin interneuron diffuse axonal injury. Cereb. Cortex 4, 1–20.
doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx058

Abstracts, Posters, and Presentations:

Jacobs KM, Sun J, Lee D, Baer M, Vascak M. Decreased Effectiveness of the Axon Initial Segment in Generating an Action Potential after Mild Central Fluid Percussion Injury [Poster]. In: 35rd Annual Symposium of the National Neurotrauma Society. Snowbird, UT (2017).

Vascak M, Jin X, Jacobs KM, Povlishock JT. Parvalbumin Interneuron Axonal Damage after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Structural and Functional Evidence Implicating GABAergic Input Loss in Neocortical Circuit Disruption. [Poster]. In: 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience [Poster]. San Diego, CA (2016).

Vascak M, Jin X, Jacobs KM, Povlishock JT. Mild traumatic brain injury alters neocortical GABAergic interneuron structure and function via axonal injury [Poster]. In: 34rd Annual Symposium of the National Neurotrauma Society. Lexington, KY (2016).

Vascak M, Baer M, Povlishock JT. The Effect of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on the Structural Plasticity of the Axon Initial Segment [Nanosymposium]. In: 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Chicago, IL (2015).

Vascak M, Baer M, Povlishock JT. The Effect of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on the Structural Plasticity of the Axon Initial Segment [Poster]. In: 30th Annual National MD/PhD Student Conference. Keystone, CO (2015).

Vascak M, Baer M, Povlishock JT. The Effect of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on the Structural Plasticity of the Axon Initial Segment [Poster]. In: 33rd Annual Symposium of the National Neurotrauma Society. Santa Fe, NM (2015).

Vascak M, Hånell A, Greer JE, Jacobs KM, Povlishock JT. The Effect of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on the Structural Plasticity of the Axon Initial Segment [Poster & Plenary Lecture*]. In: The 11th Symposium of the International Neurotrauma Society. Budapest, HU (2014).
*Plenary lecture invitation for having submitted one of the 25 best (top 20%) abstracts.

Vascak M, Hånell A, Greer JE, Jacobs KM, Povlishock JT. Traumatically Induced Cortical Network Disruption: The Role of the Interneuron [Lecture]. In: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine MD/PhD Seminar Series, Richmond, VA (2013).