Seminars & Events
Monday, February 11, 2013: Dr. Daphne Soares (University of Maryland College Park) will speak on "The Sensory World of Cavefishes" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, March 4, 2013: Dr. Joe Cheer (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Endogenous Cannabinoids and the Pursuit of Reward" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Friday, April 12, 2013: Dr. Jill McGaughy (University of New Hampshire) will speak on "The Role of Cortical Norepinephrine in the Ontogeny of Executive Function" at 3:00 pm in Schaefer Hall 106.
Dr. Erin Johnson '02 recently received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and was inducted as an alumni member of Nu Rho Psi.
Ron Saul, "Chronic activation of the substantia nigra nociceptin/orphanin receptor induces motor deficits similar to Parkinson's disease," 2008. Saul, the 2008 winner of the Neuroscience Award, infused a drug into the substantia nigra of rats and measured the resulting motor behaviors, mood disturbances, and cognitive abilities.
Bailey, A.M., Holmes, A., and Piantadosi, P. (2011, November). The effects of orexin A in the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (nBM) on olfactory discrimination acquisition and reversal
Poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by hypofunction of the basal forebrain cholinergic system, which results in memory and attentional deficits observed in individuals suffering from the disease. Progressive neurodegeneration renders the primary source of cortical acetylcholine (ACh), the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (nBM), unable to innervate the cortex at normal physiological levels. Recent research has implicated a group of hypothalamic neuropeptides, the orexins (orexin A and B, also known as hypocretin 1 and 2), in aiding in the efflux of endogenous ACh from the nBM to the cortex. Microdialysis administration of orexin A (OxA) to the nBM in rats has previously been shown to stimulate cortical ACh release. We tested the direct effects of intrabasalis OxA infusion on acquisition and reversal of an olfactory discrimination task. To further examine the effect of OxA on attention, some of the animals were exposed to a background irrelevant odor to increase the attentional demand of the task. Animals given infusions of OxA required significantly fewer trials to criterion (p < 0.01) and a decreased number of errors (p = 0.09) on the original olfactory discrimination problem. The background scent did not alter performance during acquisition. OxA also significantly lowered the number of trials to criterion (p < 0.001) and the number of errors (p < 0.001) on the discrimination reversal problem. There was a near significant interaction (p = 0.059) between the drug infused (OxA or aCSF) and the background odor (present or not). Animals infused with aCSF showed an increased number of errors during reversal when the background scent was present, while animals infused with OxA did not show a change in the number of errors with the distracting odor. Our results demonstrate enhanced discrimination in both the acquisition and reversal of an olfactory discrimination task with direct infusion of OxA in the nBM.