Kenny J. Simansky, Ph.D., is vice dean for research at Drexel University College of Medicine. Previously, he served as director of the graduate programs in pharmacology and in neuroscience and as associate dean for Biomedical Graduate Studies.
Dr. Simansky received his B.A. degree in psychology from Queens College of CUNY in 1972 and his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1979) in psychology (biopsychology) from the University of Iowa. In 1982, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral neurosciences at the Cornell University College of Medicine, he was appointed assistant professor of pharmacology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, a predecessor of Drexel University College of Medicine, and achieved the rank of tenured professor, which he currently holds in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology.
Dr. Simansky received an individual fellowship from the National Institutes of Health for his postdoctoral research and has been funded by the NIH as a principal investigator throughout his academic career at the College of Medicine. His research focuses on the cellular mechanisms involved in the regulation of eating. These brain mechanisms are known to be relevant for understanding obesity, drug addiction, and some behavioral disorders. Much of Dr. Simansky’s work contributed to understanding how serotonin in the brain and gut promotes satiation during eating. His current work also focuses on the mechanisms by which cannabinoids and opioids in the brain influence dietary selection, based upon the sensory properties of food.
He has been invited to present his work at numerous universities and conferences, and has organized international symposia, including the prestigious Fuller Symposium of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics on “Obesity: Targets and Tools for the 21st Century.” The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Drug Abuse, Mental Health, and Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism awarded him a multiyear conference grant to bring international authorities together to discuss the roles of brain mechanisms of reward in obesity, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders. He has chaired peer review panels at NIH for investigator-initiated research and for fellowship training in the neurosciences. He was elected president of the International Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior.
Dr. Simansky has mentored graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, who have begun careers in the academy, in the pharmaceutical industry, and in education. He received the Basic Scientist Award and the Graduate Student Association Teaching Award from Drexel University College of Medicine.
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