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SONOTVP

Jeffrey G. Tasker, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
Catherine and Hunter Pierson Chair in Neuroscience
Tel: (504) 862-8726
Fax: (504) 865-6785
tasker@tulane.edu

 

Research Program

 

The Neurophysiology of neuroendocrine systems that control

stress, homeostasis and reproduction

 

The hypothalamus coordinates energy and fluid homeostasis and reproductive function via its neuroendocrine and autonomic outputs.  We are investigating the electrical, synaptic and hormonal mechanisms responsible for generating and coordinating neuroendocrine and autonomic outputs from the hypothalamus, and how these mechanisms change under conditions of chronic stress, depression, dehydration and during lactation.  We study the plasticity of synaptic circuits and the neurotransmitter and hormone regulation of hypothalamic neuroendocrine cells using brain slice patch-clamp electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, Western blot, and molecular methods.  Research in my lab is focused on the following areas of investigation:

- Stress, depression and the brain – studies on the hypothalamic and amygdalar circuits and synaptic physiology responsible for the stress response, and the cellular/molecular mechanisms of hormonal feedback regulation of central stress circuits.

- Hypothalamic control of reproductive function – studies on the hypothalamic synaptic circuits responsible for coordinated activation and bursting activity of oxytocin-secreting neuroendocrine cells activated during parturition and the milk ejection reflex.

- Hypothalamic control of fluid homeostasis – studies on the synaptic, hormonal and intrinsic cellular electrogenic mechanisms responsible for generating vasopressin neuron bursting activity, pulsatile release of vasopressin and antidiuresis.

- Mechanisms of hypothalamic synaptic plasticity – studies on activity-induced plasticity in hypothalamic neuronal-glial morphology and neuronal electrical properties and the impact on neuronal excitability and hypothalamic hormone secretion.

- Central control of feeding – studies on the physiological mechanisms responsible for the effects of peptide and steroid hormones on feeding behaviors.

Cell and Molecular Biology, 2000 Percival Stern Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5546 cmb@tulane.edu