André White, Biological Sciences

Name: André White

Title: Assistant Professor

Departments: Biological Sciences, Neuroscience and Behavior

Areas of study: neurobiology, specifically drugs of abuse

Research focus: André White’s research explores the neurobiological changes that underlie persistent cocaine-seeking behaviors in mice. As a graduate student, he determined that a little-known epigenetic mechanism, nucleosome remodeling, was critical for the formation and maintenance of cocaine-associated memories and synaptic plasticity. This research was published in Nature Communications. White seeks to harness students’ curiosity about addiction through his teaching, and direct it toward a better understanding of the nervous system. He strives to get students to think critically about neurobiology by utilizing primary research literature, active learning and experimentation.

What drew you to your area of study: As an undergraduate, I became fascinated with experiences that made a life-long impact on people. This led me to memory research. Interestingly, there appears to be an overlap between memory systems in the brain and addiction systems. Therefore, my work centers on understanding how the memory pathways in the brain support drug addiction.

What appeals to you about being a professor at Mount Holyoke: The opportunity to teach a diverse student body is very appealing. I was a student of color at a liberal arts institution (Dickinson College) as an undergraduate, and supportive faculty were integral to my development as a scientist and academic. I relish contributing to the culture and history of Mount Holyoke.

What do you like about teaching: I enjoy seeing students develop technical and critical thinking skills in neurobiology. It is even more rewarding when students recognize an improvement in their own ability at the end of the semester.

What do you look forward to at Mount Holyoke: I look forward to meeting each new student in my class.

What are your proudest accomplishments, academic or other: Seeing my student mentees flourish after graduation.

Favorite previous work/volunteer/research/teaching experiences: My favorite volunteer project was helping to build a house in Springfield, Massachusetts, through Habitat for Humanity this summer.

Favorite things about the campus and region so far: I am very fond of Upper and Lower lake. I enjoy the delicious and diverse food in the region.

What was your favorite class as an undergraduate: My favorite class as an undergraduate was sociology, Race, Class and Gender.

What do you like to do when you are not working: I enjoy reading when I am not working.

Favorite book, author, music, movie/TV: My favorite book is “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. My favorite music is reggae. My favorite TV viewing is English Premier League soccer.

Read more about André White.

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