Doctor of Philosophy - Pharmacology (2013 - 2018)

  • Doctor of Philosophy-Pharmacology
  • Georgetown University
  • Advisor: Stefano Vicini

Bachelor of Science - Biochemistry (2006 - 2010)

  • University of Maryland, College Park


October 2019 - Present: Yale University (New Haven, CT), Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Project: The role L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) in regulating dopaminergic activity during cocaine abstinence

July 2013 - June 2018: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), PhD Candidate

Physiological, Behavioral, and Histological Studies of Neuronal Dysfunction

  • Utilized electrophysiological measurements obtained via whole-cell patch clamp recordings
  • Analyzed excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic current properties (frequency, amplitude, rise time, decay time)
  • Examined neuronal passive and active properties obtained using current-clamp recordings
  • Probed source of altered synaptic transmission employing pharmacology
  • Determined morphological complexity utilizing confocal imaging of reconstructed immunostained biocytin filled neurons
  • Identified D1 and D2 spiny projection neurons (SPNs) via genetic expression of fluorescent markers
  • Classified the physiological and morphological characteristics of D1 and D2 SPNs in mouse nucleus accumbens (NuAcc)
  • Determined the role of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) on motor behavior and neuronal physiology in mouse NuAcc
  • Confirmed MMP-1 overexpression using western blot
  • Tested striatal activity and drug induced motor activity via i.p. injection of amphetamine
  • Utilized optogenetic activation of genetically identified neurons and pharmacology to determine GABAergic subunit composition at distinct synapses in the striatum
  • Tested the effect of neonatal phenobarbital exposure on GABAergic synaptic maturation in rat hippocampal CA1 neurons
  • Facilitated a skills group focused on electrophysiological techniques
  • Trained and supervised 1 undergraduate and 6 graduate students
  • Authored/co-authored 3 publications

Neuropathology and Assessment of Biomarkers

  • Evaluated the role of immunoglobulins as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in apolipoprotein (APOE) knock-in mice by examining brain, plasma, and spleen samples
  • Investigated the consequences of lipopolysaccharide treatment in rats on inflammatory marker protein and gene expression utilizing ELISA, immunohistochemistry, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Co-authored 1 publication

September 2010 - June 2013: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), Research Assistant

Design, Implementation, and Analysis: Drug Screening, Pharmacodynamic Assays

  • Developed and conducted drug binding and functional assays to determine affinity, potency, selectivity and efficacy
  • Developed and maintained (50) stable human embryonic kidney cell lines (HEK293) which express distinct neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR)
  • Maintained (14) transfected cell lines and harvested tissue for binding experiments
  • Collaborated with drug discovery lab to characterize the properties of a new class of nAChR drugs
  • Screened 16 drugs for binding affinity in 8 cell lines and rat forebrain tissue
  • Determined antibody potency using immunoprecipitation following protein purification
  • Tested drug side effects in a ferret model organism
  • Screened 90+ drugs for the National Institute of Mental Health Psychoactive Drug Screening Program
  • Examined nAChR subunit composition utilizing immunoprecipitation
  • Co-authored 6 publications


  • Nour Al-muhtasib, P. Forcelli, S. Vicini. (2018). Differential electrophysiological properties of D1 and D2 spiny projection neurons in the mouse nucleus accumbens core. Physiological Reports. Full article.
  • Fitch RW, Snider BB, Zhou Q, Foxman BM, Pandya AA, Yakel JL, Olson TT, Al-Muhtasib N, Xiao Y, Welch KD, Panter KE. Absolute configuration and pharmacology of the poison frog alkaloid phantasmidine. Journal of natural products, 81(4):1029-1035. Full article.
  • Nour Al-muhtasib, A. Sepulveda-Rodriguez, S. Vicini, and P. Forcelli. (2018). Neonatal phenobarbital exposure disrupts GABAergic synaptic maturation in rat CA1 neurons. Epilepsia,59(2):333-344. Full article.
  • Tuan EW, Horti AG, Olson TT, GAO Y, Stockmeier CA, Al-muhtasib N, Bowman Dalley C, Lewin AE, Wolfe BB, Sahibzada N, Xiao Y, Kellar KJ. (2015) AT-1001 is a partial agonist with high affinity and selectivity at human and rat alpha3beta4 nicotinic cholinergic receptors. Molecular pharmacology. 88(4):640-9. Full article.
  • Y. Zhou, W. Zhao, N. Al-muhtasib, GW. Rebeck. (2015) APOE genotype: alters immunoglobulin subtypes in knock-in mice. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Full article.
  • Y. Liu, M. Paige, T. Olson, N. Al-muhtasib, T. Xie, S. Hou, M. White, A. Cordova, J. Guo, K. Kellar, Y. Xiao, M. Brown. (2014) Synthesis and pharmacological characterization of new neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligands derived from Sazetidine-A. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters, 24(13):2954-6. Full article.
  • V. Yenogonda, Y. Xiao, E. Levin, A. Rezvani, T. Tran, N. Al-muhtasib, N. Sahibzada, T. Xie, C. Wells, S. Slade, J. Johnson, S. Dakshanamurthy, H. Kong, Y. Tomita, Y. Lieu, M. Paige, K. Kellar, M. Brown. (2013) Design, synthesis and discovery of picmolar selective alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligands. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 52(21):8404-21. Full article.
  • Y. Liu, J. Richardson, T. Tran, N. Al-muhtasib, T. Xie, V. Yenugonda, H. Sexton, A. Rezvani, E. Levin, N. Sahibzada, K. Kellar, M. Brown, Y. Xiao, M. Paige. (2013) Chemistry and pharmacological studies of 3-alkoxy02,5-substituded-pyridyl compounds, novel selective alpha4beta2 nAChRs ligands that reduces alcohol Intake in Rats. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 56(7):3000-11. Full article.
  • C. Beinat, SD. Banister, S. van Prehn, D. MR. Doddareddy, D. Hibbs, M. Sako, M. Chebib, T. Tran, N. Al-muhtasib, Y. Xiao, M. Kassiou. (2012). Consequences of linker length alteration of the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist, SEN12333. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters, 22(7):2380-4. Full article.


Lecturer, Oxford Royale Academy at Yale (Summer 2019)

  • Workshop - Neurons and the Brain
  • Led and facilitated a hands on workshop for middle and high school aged visiting students
  • Presented and conveyed basic neuroscience ideas

Lecturer, Georgetown University (Spring 2017 - Summer 2017)

  • Course - Introduction to Neurophysiology
  • Lecture - The Cerebellum and the Basal Ganglia

Small Group Leader, Georgetown University School of Medicine (Fall 2016 - Fall 2017)

  • Course - Molecular and Cellular Physiology
  • Led and facilitated group discussion on nerve muscle physiology
  • Students were presented with four case studies and were required to answer the related questions and present the information to the group
  • Responsible for shaping the discussion and guided students in answering the questions
  • Received excellent student evaluation scores

Course Director, Georgetown University (Spring 2015 - Fall 2016)

  • Course - Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior
  • Collaborated with faculty to design curriculum and syllabus
  • Translated complex ideas using multimedia sources, including course-specific website
  • Mentored students on individual projects and assignments
  • Lectures: Addiction and Drugs of Abuse, Introduction to Neuroscience, Huntington’s Disease, Psychopathy, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Received excellent student evaluation scores

Lecturer, Georgetown University (Spring 2014 - Spring 2015)

  • Course - Graduate Pharmacology
  • Lecture- Antifungals

Writing and Oratory Experience

  • Guest speaker on PhD Balance YouTube Channel (Summer 2020)
  • Guest on The Science Pawdcast (Spring 2019)
  • Guest on HerSTEMStory Podcast (Fall 2018)
  • Authored a science communication articles in Scientifica NeuroWire blog detailing electrophysiology techniques and grant writing tips
  • Journal of Neuroscience Collaborating Reviewer (Fall 2018)
  • Collaborated with STEM media site and authored an article detailing factors to consider when choosing a graduate school mentor (Spring 2019)
  • Presented data at local (4) and inter/national conferences (3)
  • Panelist: Life After College, Spring Career Night (Spring 2018)

Awards and Honors

  • Awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Nominated and received Graduate Student Teaching Award from the Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Spring 2017)
  • Awarded Graduate School of Arts and Sciences travel grant
  • Awarded Medical Center Graduate Student Organization travel grants (3) and a course grant (1)
  • Recognized and awarded for exemplary poster presentation at American Physiological Society DMV Chapter Annual meeting
  • Journal of Neuroscience Review Mentoring Program (Spring 2018)

Service Work

Search Committee Member, Seminars at Yale Neuroscience (SYNAPSES)

  • Fall 2018 - Spring 2020
  • Developed application and related questions
  • Reviewed and selected applicants
  • Hosted and coordinated visit of speaker

Board Member, Woman in Science at Yale (WISAY)

  • Summer 2018 - Fall 2019
  • Coordinated Distinguished Woman in Science Luncheon
  • Mentored two graduate students

Treasurer, Medical Center Graduate Student Organization

  • Fall 2015 - Spring 2017
  • Developed and managed budget
  • Coordinated with school officials to process reimbursements
  • Managed 4 officers
  • Implemented new program that provides PhD candidates with business cards