Research

Plasticity and development

The mammalian nervous system is characterized by a highly sophisticated network of cell-to-cell interactions. An understanding of the development and function of neural systems is necessary to combat neurological disease and dysfunction. Our faculty members examine basic structural and functional mechanisms underlying sensory processing and plasticity at molecular, cellular and network levels. This work has clinical implications for fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, dyslexia, deafness and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Jill C. Bettinger, Ph.D.
Physiological effects of alcohol on synaptic transmission and behavior

Kimberle M. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Cortical elements and circuitry that contribute to plasticity of the nervous system, including alterations in synaptic strengths, cellular differentiation, neuronal excitability and mechanisms of epilepsy

Javier Maeso, Ph.D. 
We are interested in the structure, function and regulation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), their interacting proteins, and psychiatric disease associations such as schizophrenia, suicide and alcoholism. In addition, our laboratory aims to understand the molecular, cellular and neural circuit mechanisms by which environmental factors and chronic drug exposure alter behavior

A. Rory McQuiston, Ph.D. 
Effect of basal forebrain projections on theta rhythm generation in the hippocampus and associated structures

M. Alex Meredith, Ph.D. 
Neural circuitry underlying how the brain processes simultaneous information from different sensory modalities; how the loss of or injury to one sensory system might lead to compensatory changes in the others

Gretchen N. Neigh, Ph.D. 
Sex differences in the impact of stress during development

Andrew K. Ottens, Ph.D. 
Influence of environmental exposures on postnatal neurodevelopment and behavior

Carmen Sato-Bigbee, Ph.D. 
Regulation of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin formation during brain development; mechanisms of demyelination/remyelination in multiple sclerosis; perinatal opioid exposure and central nervous development

Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D. 
Biological functions of sphingosine 1-phosphate in apoptosis and neuronal development

Robert M. Tombes, Ph.D. 
Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK-II) in neuronal development and differentiation

Gregory S. Walsh, Ph.D. 
Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal migration

Jennifer Wolstenholme, Ph.D. 
Mechanisms underlying the neural regulation of neuroendocrine, emotional and behavioral responses and how they mediate risk for neurodevelopmental diseases, specifically social stress and alcohol use in adolescents.