Deficits in social behavior are characteristic of most major mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder, depression, postpartum depression, schizophrenia, and autism. While social interactions are often rewarding, some individuals find interactions aversive and become socially withdrawn. We are interested in understanding the genetic and neural mechanisms that naturally promote positive social interactions with the goal of using this information to develop new treatment options. One model we evaluate for the emergence of pro-social behaviors is motherhood. In this transition to maternity, a large number of changes occur in the central nervous system (CNS) that support maternal bonding. Recent work involves analysis of the large scale gene expression changes in the CNS in mothers to gain insights into the basis of prosocial behavior and also to gain insights into what can go amiss, including the risk of postpartum depression or psychosis. These studies include the integration of existing on-line bioinformatics databases to produce new insights into the basis of social behaviors and mental health disorder deficits. One recent focus is on the gene, Nr1d1 (also known as Rev Erb alpha), that is found to be reliably reduced in mothers. Nr1d1 is involved in circadian rhythm regulation, is associated with the regulation of genes involved in reward related behaviors, and has been connected to multiple mental health disorders.
Zoology 151: Introductory Biology
Zoology 604: Computer-based Genes and Disease/Disorder Lab
Zoology 620: Neuroethology
Zoology 962: Behavioral Neuroscience Seminar
Note to Prospective Graduate Students:
I am looking for graduate students who can work independently and have a strong enthusiasm for research and discovery. The aim of the lab is to help train graduate students so that they have the tools necessary to either run their own lab or pursue other careers in science.
Students supervised who have earned graduate degrees:
Justin S. Rhodes, Ph.D. - Zoology. 2002
Nina S. Hasen, Ph.D. -Zoology. 2007
Kimberly D’Anna, Ph.D. -Zoology. 2008
Grace Lee, Ph.D. -Zoology. 2009
Terri Driessen - Zoology, 2014
Michael Saul - Zoology 2014
Brian Eisinger - Zoology 2014
- Gammie SC, Driessen TM, Zhao C, Saul MC, Eisinger BE (2016). Genetic and neuroendocrine regulation of the postpartum brain. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 42:1-17.
- Saul MC, Zhao C, Driessen TM, Eisinger BE, Gammie SC (2016). MicroRNA expression is altered in lateral septum across reproductive stages. Neuroscience 312:130-40.
- Zhao C, Gammie SC (2015). Metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 is downregulated and its expression is shifted from neurons to astrocytes in the mouse lateral septum during the postpartum period. Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 63:417-26.
- Zhao C, Eisinger BE, Driessen TM, Gammie SC (2014). Addiction and reward-related genes show altered expression in the postpartum nucleus accumbens. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 10.3389.
- Zhao C, Gammie SC (2014). Glutamate, GABA, and glutamine are synchronously upregulated in the mouse lateral septum during the postpartum period. Brain Research 1591:53-62.
- Eisinger BE, Driessen TM, Saul MC, Zhao, C, Gammie SC (2014). Medial prefrontal cortex: genes linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have altered expression in the highly social maternal phenotype. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8:110.
- Driessen T, Eisinger BE, Zhao C, Stevenson SA, Saul MC, Gammie, SC (2014). Genes showing altered expression in the medial preoptic area in the highly social maternal phenotype are related to autism and other disorders with social deficits. BMC Neuroscience 15:11
- Driessen T, Zhao C, Whittlinger A, Williams H, Gammie, SC (2014). Endogenous CNS expression of neurotensin and neurotensin receptors is altered during the postpartum period in outbred mice. Public Library of Science ONE 9:e83098
- Eisinger B, Saul MC, Driessen T, Gammie SC (2013). Development of a versatile enrichment analysis tool reveals associations between the maternal brain and mental health disorders, including autism. BMC Neuroscience 14:147
- Zhao C, Eisinger B, Gammie SC (2013). Characterization of GABAergic neurons in the mouse lateral septum: a double fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical study using tyramide signal amplification. Public Library of Science ONE e73750
- Saul MC, Stevenson SA, Gammie SC (2013). Sexually dimorphic, developmental, and chronobiological behavioral profiles of a mouse mania model. Public Library of Science ONE 8:e72125
- Eisinger B, Zhao C, Driessen T, Saul MC, Gammie SC (2013). Large scale expression changes of genes related to neuronal signaling and developmental processes found in lateral septum of postpartum outbred mice. Public Library of Science ONE 8:e63824