Search Close Search
Page Menu

Nick Bolden, MD/PhD student

One of the things I love most about UMass Chan is the closeness of everyone. Even though there are three different schools, you never really feel like you're isolated—you get to know people who are in the different schools. It really helps to diversify your friends and your colleagues.”

As an MD/PhD student, Nick Bolden researches the molecular mechanisms underlying cocaine addiction. He also applies his love of cooking to teach medical school students healthy eating habits. Originally from Milton, Massachusetts, Bolden majored in biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He delved into research on the structural biology of HIV-1 before matriculating into the MD/PhD program. Working with Haley Melikian, PhD, professor of neurobiology and a member of the Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Bolden researches addiction neurobiology—the molecular mechanisms underlying dopamine signaling and dopaminergic regulation.

“In our lab, we study cocaine addiction, specifically investigating possible ways to curb its effects,” Bolden explained. “My project investigates a potential therapeutic avenue to block the reward experienced by cocaine use.”

Since joining UMass Chan, Bolden has been actively engaged in the UMass Chan community. He led an elective that taught medical students how to prepare quick and healthy meals for themselves and make dietary suggestions suitable for patients with diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol. He has also served as an orientation leader for incoming first-year students.

“It just goes to show you the collegial, collaborative environment at UMass Chan,” Bolden remarked. “Even before you start as a first-year here, the second-year class takes you in.”

Bolden’s goal is to become either an addiction or criminal psychiatrist.

“I genuinely enjoy working with that population, and in the long term, I aim to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction,” he said.