Meet this month’s Member Spotlight, Christi L. Kolarcik, PhD, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Pittsburgh, PA). Dr. Kolarcik has been an ASIP member since 2007 and serves as Co-chair of the ASIP Neuropathology Scientific Interest Group.
Dr. Kolarcik completed her undergraduate work in biology and chemistry at the Schreyer Honors College of the Pennsylvania State University (State College, PA), and her PhD with Honors in cellular and molecular pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2020, Dr. Kolarcik received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award and was a Leadership Academy for Early Career Faculty Fellow, both from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2022 she received the Fred Sanfilippo-ASIP Visiting Lectureship Award and will serve as a session chair for the ASIP 2023 Annual Meeting.
Currently, Dr. Kolarcik’s research program aims to define the circuit-level organization of the motor system and to identify specific circuit- and cellular-level features underlying neuronal vulnerability in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Her goal is to make a positive impact on those living with ALS, however big or small that may be. Through research, advocacy, and connection to the people affected by this devastating, incurable disease, she aspires to improve our understanding of ALS and to contribute to the design and development of effective treatments.
What is your favorite part about being a member of the ASIP?
I love that the ASIP recognizes and invites the input of trainees. My involvement in the Society has been such an integral part of my training—beginning as a graduate student when I was able to serve on the Committee for Career Development and Diversity. That experience expanded to include working with the amazing Dr. Cecelia Yates, as well as two senior members of the Society to create a Trainee Newsletter. This inviting and engaging atmosphere is one of the reasons I remain involved to this day.
Where is the next place on your travel bucket list?
My family is planning a special vacation to the Caribbean later this year. This will not be the next place I travel, but it is on our family bucket list!
Who is someone who's made a big impact on your life?
Wow, I am fortunate to have a number of people come to mind for this, including some fellow ASIP members! However, I am going to go more personal for this one and say my five children (Jared, Reanna, Layla, Barrett, and Emmett). Each of them has taught me so much, they inspire me to be better, and their belief in me keeps me going!