Principal Investigator

FARB David H. Farb, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of Pharmacology
As head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, he focuses on the identification of pharmacological treatments for mental disorders of learning and memory. His research integrates existing electrophysiological, behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular genetic technologies in a novel systems-level platform for assessing the impact of cognitive enhancers such as neuroactive steroids upon fundamental hippocampal systems for pattern separation (encoding), and pattern completion (retrieval) that are believed to be essential for cognition in all mammals, including man.


    Senior Laboratory Staff

    DowningScott-150x150 Scott Downing, Ph.D., Bioinformatics Research
    10-3009-PHARMAHEAD-026_2 Terrell T. Gibbs, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology
    10-3009-PHARMAHEAD_Kumaresan-015-150x150 Vidhya Kumaresan, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor

      10-3061-PHARMALABS-0092 Marcia Ratner, Ph.D., Project Manager


        Graduate Students

        Sugunan Image Kavitha Sugunan, Ph.D. candidate, Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology/ Program in Biomedical Neuroscience



          IMAG0356 Conor Smith, Ph.D., Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology/ Program in Biomedical Neuroscience

            TStewart[2] Tara Stewart, Ph.D., Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology/ Program in Biomedical Neuroscience

              Undergraduate Students

              920198_10200832613447952_1942573613_o John Morgan Adams, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry.

              John currently works with Kavitha on the image analysis portion of her pregnenolone sulfate project, and is working with her on bench work in preparation for his more hands on assistance with the project in the Summer of 2014.

                Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.39.54 PM Ryan Badolatomajoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry

                Ryan is currently investigating the effects of Pregnenolone Sulfate on protein phosphorylation and calcium influx in cortical neurons.

                  Unknown Lauren Baltrus, majoring in Neuroscience
                  Lauren received funding through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to research in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology.
                  Zach Bogart Zach Bogart, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science
                  Zach is an undergraduate working on using electrophysiological methods to test the effectiveness of possible cognitive enhancers. He builds implants, performs surgeries, ad has helped several high school students rotating in the lab understand these methods. He received funding through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and BU UROP during his freshman year and is currently completing a directed study in the laboratory.
                  2 Kayla Duval,majoring in Biomedical Engineering
                  Kayla works with Dr. Vidhya Kumaresan doing spine density and puncta image analyses.

                    Castro Ana Castro Sanchez, majoring in Neuroscience/Public Health
                    Ana is working with the in vivo electrophysiology team under the direct supervision of the Project Manager Dr. Marcia Ratner.  Ana’s work involves using implanted multielectrode microarrays to record from neurons in the hippocampus of freely behaving rodents.  The primary objective of this research is to study how drugs known to improve learning and memory influence the activity of hippocampal places cells implicated in the spatial memory function of rodents.  She is specifically interested in studying the effects of neuroactive steroids such as pregnenolone sulfate.  Her work involves construction of the multielectrode microarrays used in these in vivo recordings.  Ana also assists with the stereotaxic surgical implantation of these microarrays as well as with the actual in vivo recordings to elucidate the effects of pregnenolone sulfate.
                    LMN headshot

                    Syona Shetty, majoring in Neuroscience

                    Syona was awarded HHMI funding in the summer of 2013 to study the effects of pregnenolone sulfate on NMDA receptor distribution in rat hippocampal neurons.  This summer, under UROP funding, she will use immunocytochemistry and Western blot experimentation to study the downstream proteins that pregnenolone sulfate interacts with to produce the changes observed last summer.

                    2014-04-18 12.41.48 Mateo Zambrano, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Public Health

                    In the summer of 2013, funded by the HHMI grant, Mateo did research on the effects of pregnenolone sulfate on synaptic plasticity. He studied the effects of the steroid on dendritic spine density and morphology.

                    This summer, funded by UROP, he will study the effect of pregnenolone sulfate on the internal calcium levels of in vitro rat cortical neurons through calcium imaging.