I got ink … Science Ink!

I got ink today! 😁

Honestly, I do not know if this is a mid-life crisis thing. If it is, well…

*It is way cheaper than a sports car…

*Way safer than a motorcycle…

*And waaaaaaaaaaay safer than other, well, “activities”, that according to my dear wife, will result in the loss of a few body parts that I am quite fond of… (Y’all know this is a joke, right?).

At any rate,  I am very excited for my first tattoo!

The best part of this adventure is that I shared it with my little girl, Giselle Vanessa… She got her first one too. We planned this together!


Yours truly with my little girl

I want to give a shoutout to Jen (my tattoo artist), Aubrey, and all the other good people of Addictive Expressions at Gap, PA. They’re great!


Baldscientist with Jen

Here’s what I got:


This is parthenolide, one of the compounds on which I have built (and I’m still building), my research career. This compound has a few well-known pharmacological properties, including some evidence as an anti-migraine agent, and some lesser known properties, including the one we research in my laboratory, namely its ability to alleviate the behavioral and physiological effects of a certain abused drug (only in animals so far). Below are some of the relevant papers (and the story of how I got to work with this compound is in one of the chapters of my first book, The First Brain: The Neuroscience of Planarians). Most of the papers are behind a paywall (from which I don’t get a cent, by the way; this is a story for another day), but I am working on posting them on my university’s website. I’ll let you know!

Here they are:

Pagán OR. Planaria: an animal model that integrates development, regeneration and pharmacology. Int J Dev Biol. 2017;61(8-9):519-529.

Pagán OR, Baker D, Deats S, Montgomery E, Tenaglia M, Randolph C, Kotturu D, Tallarida C, Bach D, Wilk G, Rawls S, Raffa RB. Planarians in pharmacology: parthenolide is a specific behavioral antagonist of cocaine in the planarian Girardia tigrina. Int J Dev Biol. 2012;56(1-3):193-6.

Baker D, Deats S, Boor P, Pruitt J, Pagán OR. Minimal structural requirements of alkyl γ-lactones capable of antagonizing the cocaine-induced motility decrease in planarians. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011 Nov;100(1):174-9.

Schwarz D, Bloom D, Castro R, Pagán OR, Jiménez-Rivera CA. Parthenolide Blocks Cocaine’s Effect on Spontaneous Firing Activity of Dopaminergic Neurons in the Ventral Tegmental Area. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2011 Mar;9(1):17-20.

Pagán OR, Rowlands AL, Azam M, Urban KR, Bidja AH, Roy DM, Feeney RB, Afshari L. Reversal of cocaine-induced planarian behavior by parthenolide and related sesquiterpene lactones. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Apr;89(2):160-70.

Rowlands AL, Pagán OR. Parthenolide prevents the expression of cocaine-induced withdrawal behavior in planarians. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Mar 31;583(1):170-2.

And more papers are in the works!

Got ink?



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