Department of Biology
352 Life Sciences Complex
329 Life Sciences Complex
Research and Teaching Interests
Aging; cell signaling and communication; learning, memory, and plasticity; neurological and psychiatric conditions.
Research Program Overview
Much of the work examines mechanisms that regulate - turn on and off, amplify and attenuate - the processes that initiate and maintain neural changes representing memory. For example, why do we remember salient events more readily than minor events? This lab has found that certain hormonal responses to an experience, particularly release of epinephrine into the circulation, control how well the memory for that experience will be remembered. Release of epinephrine initiates a physiological cascade that regulates neural plasticity, including increases in blood and brain glucose levels, release of neurotransmitters in the brain, and activation of transcription factors.
Currently, the laboratory is examining neurochemical, cellular and molecular events subsequent to the increases in circulating epinephrine and glucose levels that regulate neural plasticity, with focus on the hippocampus, amygdala, and striatum. These experiments include studies of protein synthesis, signal transduction molecules, transcription factors, and genomic and proteomic responses to the physiological mechanisms that regulate neural plasticity. One goal of the research is to identify drugs that enhance memory, particularly in conditions such as aging, Alzheimer's Disease, and Down syndrome. Another research stream examines effects of stress on multiple memory systems with application to drug abuse.
The laboratory uses interdisciplinary methods ranging from systems to molecular neuroscience: Behavior (learning and memory tasks for rats and mice); Neurophysiology (long-term potentiation); Neurochemistry (microdialysis and HPLC assessments of release of neurotransmitters (e.g., ACh, NE, DA, 5-HT), and peptide (BDNF) while rats and mice are learning; Cell and molecular biology (immunocytochemistry, quantitative western and ELISA analyses, e.g., CREB, hormones.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The laboratory has a large number of undergraduate researchers at all times. Most often, undergraduates in the lab enroll for research course credit. Students participate in many of the lab procedures, including handling laboratory rodents, teaching rodents to solve mazes, conducting brain surgery on rats, and performing immunohistochemistry, Western blots, ELISAs, neurochemistry, neurophysiology, and histology.
- B.A., University of Michigan
- Ph.D., University of North Carolina
- Countryman, R.A. and Gold, P.E. (2007). Rapid forgetting of social transmission of food preferences in aged rats: relationship to hippocampal CREB activation. Learning and Memory 14, 350-358
- Gold, P.E. (2008). Protein synthesis inhibition: Memory formation vs amnesia. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 89, 201-211.
- Canal, C.E., Chang, Q., and Gold, P.E. (2008). Intra-amygdala injections of CREB antisense impair inhibitory avoidance memory: Role of norepinephrine and acetylcholine. Learning and Memory, 15, 677-686.
- Gold, P.E. (2009). Memory enhancing drugs. In: Concise Learning and Memory: the Editor’s Selection (J. Byrne, Ed.) Elsevier Science, Oxford. pp. 605-626.
- Qi, Z. and Gold, P.E. (2009). Intrahippocampal infusions of anisomycin produce amnesia: contributions of increased release of norepinephrine, dopamine and acetylcholine. Learning and Memory, 16, 308-314.
- Sadowski, R.N., Chapa, G.R., Wieczorek, L., and Gold, P.E. (2009). Effects of stress and corticosterone administration on learning in place and response tasks. Behavioural Brain Research, 205, 19-25.
- Morris, K.A., Chang, Q., Mohler, E.G., and Gold, P.E. (2010). Age-related memory impairments due to reduced blood glucose responses to epinephrine. Neurobiology of Aging, 31, 2136-2145.
- Sadowski, R.N., Canal, C.E., and Gold, P.E. (2011). Lidocaine attenuates anisomycin-induced amnesia and release of norepinephrine in the amygdala. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 96, 136-142.
- Gold, P.E., Countryman, R.A., Chang, Q. and Dukala, D. (2011). Acetylcholine release in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex during acquisition of a socially transmitted food preference. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 96, 498-503.
- Newman, L.A., Korol, D.L., and Gold, P.E. (2011). Lactate produced by glycogenolysis in astrocytes regulates memory. PLoS One, 6, e28427.
- Morris, K.A. and Gold, P.E. (2012). Age-related impairments in memory and in CREB and pCREB expression in hippocampus and amygdala following inhibitory avoidance training. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 133, 291-299.
- Gold, P.E. and Wrenn, S.M. (2012). Cycloheximide impairs and enhances memory depending on dose and footshock intensity. Behavioural Brain Research, 233, 293-297.