Molecular Neurosciences   


My laboratory is studying the regulation of serotonin receptors in rat brain in animal models of psychiatric illnesses. We use techniques that span molecular to behavioral levels of analysis. Our strategy is to explore the reciprocal relationship between receptor expression and behavior using techniques that focus on discrete brain regions. There are several major projects in the laboratory currently:

  1. BulletSerotonin in stress related behaviors. We are studying the bidirectional relationship between serotonin gene expression and stress sensitivity.  We use viral mediated gene transfer to manipulate 5-HT1B and other gene’s expression in clusters of serotonergic neurons that project to different brain regions and determine the behavioral and physiological outcomes. We study both behavioral and molecular outcomes of these manipulations. 

  2. Bullet 5-HT1B and 5-HT6 receptors in drug reward mechanisms. Nucleus accumbens neurons express these receptors heavily, and manipulating their expression with targeted gene transfer alters the rewarding properties of cocaine, amphetamine, and alcohol. We are using a combination of molecular strategies such as gene transfer, shRNA knockdown, in situ hybridization and behavior approaches including self administration, reinstatement, habit models, and CPP.

  3. Bullet New Techniques. We are using phenotype-specific promoters to drive gene expression in specific neuron types, and engineered receptors like DREADDs and Channelrhodopsin-2 to act as molecular switches to dissect the contribution of specific neural circuits to behavior. We are also using transgenic mouse models for biochemical and collaborative projects.

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We are utilizing
viral mediated gene transfer and other molecular strategies to investigate the role of serotonin in regulating complex behaviors.

Neumaier Laboratory