Neuroscience and Pharmacology
The following programs/research are currently under way in the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at Meharry Medical College.
Specialized Neuroscience Research Program (SNRP) at Meharry
Researcher: Clivel Charlton, Ph.D.
Funding Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders/Stroke
Project Summary: This Specialized Neuroscience Research Program (SNRP) is essential to providing resources to continue to enhance the research and training environment at Meharry, in partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). Three research programs related to the overall theme of brain plasticity, broadly defined, will address important biological problems in the context of nurturing collaborations that will facilitate the development of research and research communication skills.
Behavioral and physiological consequences of disrupted MET signaling
Researcher: Darryl B. Hood, Ph.D.
Funding Source: Simons Foundation
Project Summary: New aspects of Dr. Hood's research as a result of the receipt of the prestigious Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative Award include understanding how in utero exposures during critical windows of brain development produce negative effects on neural function and behavior in Metfx/fx/Emx1cre and/or Cprlox/lox offspring. The specific compounds of interest studied in Dr. Hood's laboratory are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Benzo(a)pyrene is the prototypical PAH and Dr. Hood's laboratory uses nose-only exposure of transgenic mice dams as a model to study developmental neurological dysregulation in the resulting offspring. The results of his studies suggest that the dampening of neurotransmitter currents that are elevated during critical periods of synapse development as a result of in utero exposure may be possible as a targeted therapy at birth-as a means to preserve the development of normal circuitry and thus normal behavior. New aspects of Dr. Hood's research offer the promise of advancing our ability to further characterize recently documented gene x environment interactions between early life benzo(a)pyrene exposure and later life neurobehavioral deficits.
Educational and research interventions for the nuclear regulatory commission
Researcher: Darryl B. Hood, Ph.D.
Funding Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Project Summary: The ultimate goal of activities conducted under this activity seek to establish scientific research programs with Y12 National Security Complex scientists to better understand the consequences of nuclear fallout disposition to the developing central nervous system and subsequent effects on cognitive processes in vulnerable military populations. Activities under this award will also serve to provide a customized pipeline for minority biomedical scientist and occupational and environmental medicine positions at Y12, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other national security complexes.
Control of nociception in the spinal cord
Researcher: Sukhbir S. Mokha, Ph.D.
Funding Source: National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Project Summary: The goal this research is to understand biological mechanisms that make women more vulnerable to the development of pain syndromes and enhance our understanding of the sex-related differences in the regulation of pain throughout the life span. This will lead to better pain treatment strategies.