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Center for Neuropharmacology & Neuroscience

CNN Research Interests

Development of the Nervous System:
How the nervous system forms is an intriguing puzzle that has implications for genetic and environmental birth defects, and for treating neural diseases. Within the CNN, a number of developmental neuroscience topics are being studied. One involves characterizing the progenitor cells that produce neurons and glia during brain formation. Others include examination of cilia function and the mechanisms governing development of such things as: hippocampal pyramidal neurons and the somatosensory nervous system. The effects of growth factors, environmental factors, alcohol and drugs on these developing systems are also being investigated.


Albrecht, Ferland, Lindsley, Lowry, Temple


Dynamics of Transmitter Systems and Receptors:
Chemical neurotransmission is fundamental to normal neural function, and the mechanisms underlying this process are being actively investigated. Topics being studied with the CNN include regulation of transmitter synthesis and release, calcium signaling, transmitter transport, astroglial physiology, activation of transmitter receptors, and activity-dependent synaptic modification. Neurotransmitters of interest include dopamine, glutamate, serotonin, histamine, ATP, norepinephrine and acetylcholine.


Fleck, Herrick-Davis, Hough, Huang, Mazurkiewicz, Mongin, Shin, Teitler


Systems/Behavioral Neuroscience:
The study of brain functions includes the physiology of circuits involved in them. Topics studied include physiology of the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortical circuits, somatosensory organization, learning and memory, control of urinary function, effects of stress and cortical lateralization.



Carlson, Ferland, Glick, Jacobson, Shin


Substance Abuse:
Substance abuse represents a problem suffered by millions of people worldwide, and many CNN faculty members are investigating this topic. Current studies are aimed at deciphering the mechanisms of action of opiates, cocaine, ethanol, and nicotine. This work utilizes diverse experimental methods, from examining the behavior of intact organisms down to analysis of sub-cellular components such as mutated receptors.


Carlson, Fleck, Glick, Hough, Lindsley, Maisonneuve, McCallum


Neural Bases of Nervous System Disorders:
Research efforts are also directed at understanding the mechanisms involved in entities such as Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, eating disorders and diabetic neuropathy.


Albrecht, Carlson, Ferland, Herrick-Davis, Huang, Jacobson, Shin, Teitler


Cerebral ischemia, or reduced blood flow to the brain, as occurs in stroke or trauma, is a significant clinical problem. Studies are aimed at understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with ischemia. These involve identification of the chemical (e.g., amino acid) and cellular (e.g., astroglia) bases of this condition


Feustel, Keller, Mongin


Pain and Its Treatment:
Pain is being attacked by CNN researchers in several different ways. Immunohistochemical studies of the skin are exploring the mechanims by which sensory fibers and skin cells participate in normal and and abnormal pain transmission. Other studies, utilizing biochemical and behavioral methods, are aimed at activating the brain's own pain-relieving pathways with new medications.


Albrecht, Hough


Drug Development:
Several new experimental substances are being developed within the CNN that may be useful for treating substance abuse, pain, stroke, obesity, and Alzheimer's disease. Some of these studies are carried out in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies. Assessment of drug effects can involve in vivo and in vitro neurochemistry, physiology and behavioral testing.


Fleck, Glick, Hough, Herrick-Davis, Maisonneuve, Mongin, Teitler