Dr. Rasenick’s work has focused on G protein signaling in the nervous system and the relationship of neurotransmitter activation to rapid modification of the cytoskeleton. He has been particularly interested in how G proteins and the cytoskeleton work in concert to modify synaptic shape and to form a molecular basis for depression and the action of antidepressant drugs. The most recent work from his group suggests the possibility of a simple blood test indicating depression and therapeutic response to antidepressant therapy. This has led to the creation of Pax Neuroscience, which recently received SBIR funding from NIMH. Dr. Rasenick’s research continues to be funded by the NIH, the Veterans Administration, as well as by other government, philanthropic and industry sources. He is principal investigator of an NIMH training grant, “Training in the Neuroscience of Mental Health”, which supports graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the neurosciences. He is also the co-founder of UIC’s Graduate Program in Neuroscience. He has served on many scientific review panels (NIH, NSF, DOD), and editorial boards and is the author of numerous publications. Dr. Rasenick has received honors both for teaching and research, including the Searle Young Faculty Award from the Chicago Community Trust, the University Scholar Award and Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Illinois, a Research Scientist Award from the NIMH, and a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship from the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences. He is an elected fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Research and the Cuban Academy of Science.
In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Rasenick is active in public policy. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Brain Coalition and the National Association for Biomedical Research. He served as a member of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and the Chapters committee, Government and Public Affairs Committee and International Affairs Committee of the Society for Neuroscience. He also serves or has served on the Public Affairs/Outreach committees of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and chaired that Committee for ACNP. He currently chairs the Advocacy Committees for the American Brain Coalition and for the National Network of Depression Centers. He was a member of the Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Links Committee for the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) and was appointed a Global Health Research Ambassador by the Paul Rogers Society—Research!America. While a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow (1999-2000), he was a staff member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions with the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, (D Mass.). During this time, he worked on legislation concerning Cancer screening, Medicare Prescription Drugs, Organ Transplantation Policy and Mental Health Policy. He is also involved in international outreach for neuroscience and has organized programs designed to foster international cooperation in the basic and clinical neurosciences in Vietnam, Cuba and throughout Latin America. He has testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations concerning outreach to Cuban biomedical scientists.