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

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.

 

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

My research focus is to study the effects of gestational exposure to environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (e.g., phthalates, bisphenols, pesticides, and heavy metals) on behavior, brain, and germ cells in mouse model and to determine whether altered behavioral phenotypes can be transmitted to the next generation. We explore epigenetic changes associated with phenotypic effects resulting from environmental exposures in critical stages of development that are extremely sensitive to perturbation by substances with hormone-like activity and could cause risk of diseases later in life. I am also interested in the role of nutrients in modification of disrupted epigenetic patterns and mitigation of health outcomes associated with prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental contaminants and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in population and animal studies.

 

Ghashghaei, H. Troy
Assistant 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.

 

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.

 

Meitzen, John
Assistant 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.

 

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.