What do antithrombotic drugs, humor and reading programs have in common? Biology alumnus Dr. Dana Abendschein, ’74.
Dana Abendschein, Ph.D., a 1974 SUNY Fredonia graduate affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in research or teaching capacities for more than two decades, returned to his alma mater as keynote speaker for Department of Biology activities during Homecoming 2010.
Dr. Abendschein serves as an associate professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Cell Biology and Physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. His translational physiology and pharmacology laboratory focuses primarily on development of new and safe approaches to inhibit thrombosis during heart attacks and strokes where injury to arteries is an underlying cause.
Dr. Abendschein offered a seminar to the SUNY Fredonia community entitled, “On the Road to Developing Targeted and Safe Antithrombotic Drugs” on Friday, October 1, 2010. He described some of the research progress in the development and preclinical testing in animal models of novel antithrombotic therapeutics. Over the last 27 years, Dr. Abendschein’s lab has been part of the development of therapeutics derived from naturally occurring animal or plant proteins. More recent studies have focused on an apyrase protein, originally found in potatoes and also on the inside of blood vessels, that degrades ATP leading to inhibition of platelet activation much like the drug known as Plavix, but without the risk of bleeding.
Dr. Abendschein’s presentation included his description of the twisted and somewhat serendipitous path from Biology major at SUNY Fredonia to scientist who can also take on the role of an absent-minded professor who entertains the patient while the drugs developed in the lab take their desired effect. Dr. Abendschein has seen firsthand the importance of using humor during the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and shared stories of his own adventures in ‘clowning’ and the dramatic and positive effect these activities have on patients.
Dr. Abendschein also shared information about Story Link, a reading program that he and his wife, Jane, developed to help incarcerated parents stay connected with their children. He was on campus in May 2010 to announce plans to launch Story Link in Chautauqua County.
Seminar attendees were impressed with Dr. Abendschein’s accomplishments as a research scientist, an instructor, a humorist and a humanitarian. We are proud to call him a Fredonia Biology alumnus!
After earning his bachelor’s degree in Biology at SUNY Fredonia in 1974, Dr. Abendschein was awarded a doctorate in Physiology from Purdue University in 1978. He was a postdoctoral trainee at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, 1979 to 1981, before accepting teaching positions at University of California at San Francisco and then University of California at Berkley. He was an assistant professor of Physiology at Indiana University School of Medicine for two years before beginning his tenure at Washington University School of Medicine in 1983.Highly recognized by peers and students, Dr. Abendschein has earned 11 Distinguished Service Teacher Awards, was named Professor of the Year three times, and earned separate Lecturer of the Year awards, among other distinguished honors.