Group Leader: Emilie Rissman, efrissma@ncsu.edu

Behavioral Neuroscience Group: This group will focus on research examining the influences of the environment on issues in Neuroscience.  Examples of the environment include sensory, diet, behaviors, neurotoxicants, etc. Goals include increasing research collaborations, grant submissions, enhancing trainee presentation skills and our presence at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

 

 

 

(An image of a whole-brain activity map in a 6-day-old zebrafish larva stained with antibodies to phospho-ERK (magenta) and total ERK (green) (Credit: Dana Hodorovich and Kurt Marsden, captured with the Zeiss Lightsheet).

 

 

Members

Belcher, Scott
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  | Personal website

Current research using transgenic/knockout mouse models of human disease focuses on assessing the mechanisms and impacts of estradiol and estrogen-like endocrine disruptors on cardiovascular health, reproductive health, and the etiology of childhood brain cancers.

 

Bereman, Michael S.
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

We are a bioanalytical mass spectrometry group focused in two main areas: 1) Technology development spanning separation science, ionization source development, and data acquisition methods, and; 2) Applications of developed technologies toward problems in toxicoproteomics.   Toxicoproteomics, a subclass of both proteomics and toxicogenomics, aims to identify the critical proteins/pathways that respond to or are affected by adverse chemical and environmental exposures using both global and targeted protein identification methodologies and ultimately their relationship to disease etiologies. Our group uses both model organisms and longitudinal sampling of biological fluids to help address these questions.

 

Binder, Andrew
Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication
Co-Director, Community Engagement Core
Email Personal website

Dr. Binder’s research focuses on people’s concerns related to science, technology, and risk and understanding how people make sense of these topics. His published research has focused on a variety of issues, from public opinion of climate change, to social media conversations about nuclear power, and to community controversies surrounding the building of a new national biological research facility in the mainland United States. He coordinates scholarly exchanges of ideas between Center members and other researchers at NC State, consults with Center members on the integration of community engagement into their research projects, and trains Center members in social science perspectives on environmental health research.

 

Drobna, Zuzana
Research Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

As a senior scientist in Dr. Keung’s lab, I am working on projects that use DNA-targeting technologies (CRISPR/Cas9 DNA-editing tools, knock-in of genes) to edit and track properties and function of specific genes. Our goal is to apply these tools to specific loci of the genes previously shown being associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases. We are also applying synthetic biology and stem cell engineering tools to study the role of the epigenome in substance abuse and addiction.

 

Gaddameedhi, Shobhan 
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email   |   Personal website

Shobhan Gaddameedhi received his master’s degree in Plant Sciences from the University of Hyderabad, India and PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from North Dakota State University. He pursued his post-doctoral training in the circadian biology and DNA repair fields with Prof. Aziz Sancar, at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Before joining as an Associate Professor at NC State in July 2020, he worked as an Assistant Professor at Washington State University (2014-2020). His laboratory is currently focused on three major areas of investigation on human health: (1) unraveling the molecular basis for circadian clock and DNA damage repair roles in environmental health outcomes through ‘gene-environment’ interactions; (2) understanding the mechanistic basis for genomic instability and environmental carcinogenesis through circadian disruption by shift work; and (3) understanding the effect of emerging environmental contaminants on circadian rhythmicity, sleep and DNA damage response signaling.

 

Ghashghaei, H. Troy
Professor, Dept. of Molecular Biomedical Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

Projects in our laboratory are focused on developmental neurobiology: 1. Development and aging of the adult stem cells and their ependymal niche in the forebrain. We use mouse genetics in combination with molecular, biochemical, and cell biological approaches to address fundamental questions regarding the functional significance of ependymal cells during development and aging. 2. Role of cell cycle regulators in symmetric and asymmetric divisions of neural stem cells in the developing and postnatal brain. We use mouse genetics, biochemical assays, and state-of-the-art imaging tools to understand mechanisms that regulate the decision of neural stem cells to divide symmetrically or asymmetrical in the embryonic and postnatal stem cell niches.

 

Keung, Albert
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Email   |   Personal website

My lab is a synthetic biology group that harnesses the information-rich epigenome to understand disease biology and to enable broader biotechnological and cellular engineering applications. We work across multiple biological systems from in vitro systems and yeast, to human stem cells and organoids.

 

Lucas, Beth
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular Biomedical Sciences
Email Personal website

Research in the Lucas Lab is driven by a passion to improve the lives of people with mental illness. We conduct preclinical research in animal models to understand the mechanisms underlying individual susceptibility to psychiatric illness, with an emphasis on affective and memory disorders. Our laboratory integrates concepts and techniques from multiple disciplines, including psychology, anatomy, physiology, molecular biology, and endocrinology. This multiscale approach enables us to understand how systems interact to influence the brain’s control of behavior in normal and pathological states.

 

Marsden, Kurt
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

My focus is understanding how genes guide the formation and function of neural circuits to drive behavior in zebrafish. Particularly interested in how information from the environment is translated by the brain into meaningful behavioral responses. My lab uses a variety of experimental approaches including high-throughput behavioral testing, 3D analysis of neural circuit morphology, simultaneous imaging of neuronal activity and behavior, and gene expression analysis. This work can help to reveal cellular and molecular pathways that underlie some aspects of diseases such as autism and anxiety.

 

Mattingly, Carolyn J.
Professor/Head, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

The goal of my research program is to improve understanding about environmental influences on human health and disease using different approaches including: development of the publicly available Comparative Toxicogenomics Database and using the zebrafish model to understand how environmental exposures perturb vertebrate development.

 

May, Katlyn 
Co-Director, Community Engagement Core
Email  |  Personal website

I received my masters degree in Environmental Management from Duke University in 2014, where I focused on community-based action, and the interplay between social and environmental issues. As Co-Director of the COEC, I help facilitate bi-directional communication between CHHE researchers and community stakeholders, aid in research translation and dissemination, and support community-based environmental health efforts in North Carolina.

 

Meitzen, John
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

We study how neuromodulators change neuron function, especially within the context of sex differences. Particularly focus upon the actions of steroid sex hormones such as estradiol, and a brain region called the striatum. In the lab, we combine multiple approaches, with a strong emphasis on electrophysiological techniques.

 

Muddiman, David
Professor, Dept. of Chemistry
Email  |  Personal website

The ultimate goals of our work are to quantitatively define biology and understand the role of individuality across a wide range of diseases. Our program requires a significant level of interaction with clinicians, basic scientists including biologists and chemists, statisticians as well as maintaining a large interdisciplinary group of scientists within our group driving innovations including advanced separations, state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, and bioinformatics.

 

Patisaul, Heather B.
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

Our laboratory examines how endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) impact sexually dimorphic neuroendocrine pathways and behaviors. We are particularly interested in how developmental exposures can alter hormone-dependent pathways and explore this using a variety of animal models including rats, mice and voles.  Our ongoing research is investigating the mechanisms by which early life exposure to EDCs including BPA and fire retardants alter social behaviors associated with mental health disorders such as autism.

 

Planchart, Antonio
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email Personal website

Research in the Planchart lab is focused on the interplay between genetics and environment as a driver of developmental disorders and disease. Dr. Planchart is especially interested in the role of emerging contaminants in developmental, metabolic and neurological disorders of unknown genetic origin. His lab’s interdisciplinary work leverages the zebrafish model for its genetic tractability and well-characterized developmental strategies of which the majority are conserved with humans. Dr. Planchart is also a member of the Superfund Center for Environmental and Human Health Effects of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), and is investigating the toxic effects of PFAS in the zebrafish model.

 

Rissman, Emilie
Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Email  |  Personal website

The Rissman lab is interested in how the environment changes brain and behavior via short- and long-term epigenetic modifications.  We manipulate the environment by exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds, mainly bisphenol A.  Pregnant mice are exposed to human-relevant doses delivered in food that they consumed voluntarily; we are also developing a similar model to expose sires.  We test direct and trans-generational offspring for both social and cognitive behaviors and examine gene expression in brain.