About Ike C. De La Pena, PhD

I am an educator and researcher, actively involved in international service. Since 2017, I have been a faculty member at Loma Linda University, where I use innovative teaching methods like music, social media, new technologies, and artificial intelligence (AI) to engage my students. Additionally, I conduct research in the scholarship of teaching and learning, exploring the impact of these tools on student learning outcomes.

As a neuropharmacologist, my research focuses on translational studies related to drug addiction, neurodevelopmental disorders, adult neurological injuries, and the cognitive and psychiatric effects associated with obesity. My earlier work led to the identification of potential genetic biomarkers for psychostimulant addiction and the different symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The latter played a crucial role in the subsequent development and characterization of the Thrsp overexpressing mouse model of the predominantly-inattentive type of ADHD. Additionally, I have investigated the role of vascular repair in extending the therapeutic window for stroke treatment. Currently, my research program is dedicated to investigating the mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction caused by obesity and associated disorders, and developing effective treatments. Alongside my research, I mentor undergraduate and graduate students, guiding them in conducting productive research and publishing their findings in these fields. 

Beyond my academic pursuits, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and research expertise, particularly in developing countries. I have led interprofessional mission trips, providing my students with opportunities to engage directly with underserved communities, gain a deeper understanding of global health disparities, and recognize the importance of collaboration in addressing these issues. Furthermore, I maintain ongoing collaborations with educators and researchers in my home country (the Philippines), as I firmly believe in the value of “giving back” and empowering individuals in underserved communities.