Dr. Sylvia Fitting, an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, is a recipient of the UNC Junior Faculty Development Award.
The Junior Faculty Development Award is paid from the IBM and R.J. Reynolds Industries Funds and awarded to assistant and associate professors.
Dr. Fitting won for her project examining how synthetic cannabinoids and endocannabinoids differentially affect neuronal and synaptic activity within the context of HIV-1 infection. HIV-1 is a chronic disease and individuals with HIV-1 exhibit problems in exectuive function, memory consolidation, and attention. Cannabnoids have been used medicinally with HIV-1 positive patients to provide an increase in appetite, analgesia, and decrease movement disorders. However, cannabinoids can suppress immune function and may have an additional negative effect with an already immune-compromised system. Dr. Fitting aims, with this award, to identify the effect of synthetic cannabinoids and endocannabinoids, allowing for more effective treatment of the disorder.