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The research mission of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology is the development and exploration of animal models and the study of selective human populations to understand cerebral systems in health and disease. Our work is supported by more than six different institutes of the NIH, NSF, Veteran’s Administration, private foundations and private industry.
There are 12 research laboratories that form the core of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology. They are listed below, with a brief description of each area of research. Click on the name of each lab to go to the pages that will provide details about research activities, the members of the lab, methodology, publications, and contact information.
The members of this laboratory study the structure of the brain in autism, and the effects of this condition on the distribution and function of receptors for neurotransmitters.
This laboratory studies the ability of the brain to undergo structural and functional reorganization following early brain damage. In addition to anatomical and behavioral assessments, the organization of the brain is also studied using temporary deactivation provided by cooling or transcranial magnetic stimulation.
This laboratory investigates the anatomical and functional organization of the basal ganglia in the normal brain and in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, with a particular interest in dyskinesia and GABA-mediated signaling.
Dr Luebke’s laboratory is interested in the electrophysiological and morphological properties of neocortical neurons in the rodent and primate prefrontal cortex across the lifespan.
The Laboratory of Cognitive Neurobiology is broadly interested in the neurobiological basis of learning and memory in the primate. The role of the limbic system and prefrontal cortex are of particular interest, especially the changes with hypertension and/or advancing age.
Dr. Peters studies the ultrastructural changes that occur with normal aging in the cells and neuropil of the cerebral hemispheres of Rhesus monkeys.
Systems Molecular Signaling and Chemical Biology
The members of this laboratory use molecular biological techniques to investigate the cellular basis of neurodegeneration, particularly in conditions in which genetic defects produce proteins with abnormally long sequences of the amino acid glutamatine, such as Huntington’s Disease.
Neurodevelopment & Intellectual Disorders
Research in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs since the 1970s. Our work focuses on the emotional and cognitive consequences of human brain damage, and presently, much of it focuses on the effects of long-term chronic alcoholism. Emotion dysregulation may underlie addictive disorders such as alcoholism, which in turn may further alter emotional states. Alcoholism-related abnormalities in brain centers controlling emotional perception and regulation may differ for men and women, and can differentially alter the course of alcoholism directly, by affecting sensitivity to feedback, as well as the ability to make economic, social, and health-related decisions. The Lab’s research addresses these issues using neurobehavioral tests in concert with MRI measures of brain structure and function.
Dr. Zucker’s laboratory focuses on the synaptic circuitry of the mammalian retina, with a particular emphasis on the cholinergic amacrine cell.
Dr. Zhdanova’s laboratory studies the physiology of sleep and circadian rhythms in primates and zebrafish.
The emphasis of this laboratory is on the physiology of information transmission in the normal mammalian brain, studied using MRI techniques, electrophysiology, and optical imaging.