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Steven Thomas Laboratory

eagle-i ID


Resource Type

  1. Laboratory


  1. Resource Description
    "Broadly, the lab studies the development and physiology of the mammalian brain. One goal is to define the systems that contribute to specific behaviors, and to understand the mechanisms that underlie these behaviors. Such knowledge may ultimately permit the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Gene-targeting allows the analysis of specific genetic alterations in the context of the whole organism. The ability to add, delete or modify genes is particularly useful in the analysis of complex organ systems such as the brain, where half of all genes are thought to be uniquely expressed. The lab focuses on the adrenergic nervous system in which norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine are the classic neurotransmitters. By genetically eliminating the biosynthetic enzyme for NE, dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), mutant mice (Dbh-/-) that completely lack NE and epinephrine were created. These mice are conditional mutants in that NE can be restored to the adrenergic terminals by supplying a synthetic amino acid precursor of NE, L-DOPS. The lab is pursuing several fundamental observations that resulted from the creation of these mutant mice. These include the roles of NE in learning and memory, as well as the neuronal physiology and signaling that underlie these effects. They also include the role of NE in the effects of stress. For each of these, potentially important interactions with other transmitters and hormones is also being explored. Finally, Dr. Thomas is pursuing several novel genetic approaches for producing complementary models to the Dbh-/- mice toward a more complete understanding of CNS adrenergic function."
  2. PI
    Thomas, Steven., MD, PhD
  3. Affiliation
    Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania
  4. Website(s)
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