The College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin

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Michael Drew
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Main Office: NHB 3.132
Phone: 512-232-6367

Alternate Office: NHB 3.130

Mailing Address
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Sta Stop C7000
NHB 2.504
Austin ,TX 78712-0805

Michael Drew

Research Summary

A broad aim of my research is to understand how adult hippocampal neurogenesis influences learning and cognition. The work is based on growing evidence that adult neurogenesis constitutes a functionally and, perhaps, clinically significant form of brain plasticity. Neurons are added to the adult hippocampal formation of all mammalian species studied to date, and the cells that are born appear to impact both cognitive and emotional aspects of hippocampal function. Manipulations that suppress adult neurogenesis impair performance in some hippocampus-dependent learning tasks, and adult neurogenesis is bi-directionally regulated by stimuli that affect the risk for emotional disorders. For instance, psychosocial stress potently suppresses hippocampal neurogenesis, while exercise, environmental enrichment, and virtually all antidepressant treatments stimulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis. My approach to understanding the functional significance of adult hippocampal neurogenesis relies on inducible genetic manipulations in mice, combined with rigorous behavioral analysis, and addresses questions such as (1) what underlying psychological processes depend on adult-generated neurons, (2) how do decreases or increases in adult neurogenesis affect these processes, (3) and what special properties of adult-generated neurons are instrumental in producing these effects?



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