Brian D. Gulbransen, PhD
- East Lansing, Faculty, Training Faculty, Cellular & Molecular
Associate Professor, Physiology
Ph.D., 2007, University of Colorado Health Science Center
East Lansing Campus
The goal of my research is to understand how inflammation in the nervous system (neuroinflammation) leads to long-term changes in neural circuitry. Within this context, we focus on the regulation of neural networks by glial cells, with particular interests in clarifying the role of glial cells in nervous system physiology and elucidating how glial changes during neuroinflammation contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. We are addressing this issue by exploring how neuron-glia interactions in the enteric nervous system (ENS) regulate gut physiology and pathophysiology. The ENS is particularly well suited for this kind of work because neuron-glia interactions in the gut can be studied in situ using preparations with intact synaptic pathways or in vivo in animal models. Further, the synaptic pathways of enteric neural networks are well defined and the output of ENS activity can be clearly assessed with functional assays. Our experiments will allow us to understand the fundamental rules that govern cell to cell communication in the ENS and elucidate the molecular machinery that contributes to changes in enteric network output. This work is important because it will lead to an understanding of the basic mechanisms that underlie altered gut function in GI motility and functional bowel disorders. These are debilitating disorders that affect up to 25% of the U.S. population and account for over $30 billion/year in healthcare costs. I expect that the basic rules of neuron-glia interactions we uncover in our studies will be broadly applicable to the nervous system as a whole. Thus, I expect that my research will lead to the development of new therapies for a broad range of nervous system disorders.
Neurological effects of Fragile X Syndrome, regulation and modulation of neuronal excitability of thalamocortical circuits and interactions between basal ganglia and thalamic circuits.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development; College of Human Medicine
Grand Rapids Campus
4012 Grand Rapids Research Center; 400 Monroe Ave NW; Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Cerebral cortex development: (e.g., neural development of sensory systems)
Neurophysiology and neuroplasticity within thalamocortical circuits. Neurophysiological alterations associated with Developmental disorders (fragile X syndrome, Autism), Epilepsy, and Parkinson's Disesase
Developmental exposure to drugs of abuse, development of the dopamine system, etiology and experimental therapeutics of Parkinson's disease
Development of neuroprotective pharmacological agents and strategies for the treatment of dopamine neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's Disease and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Neuromodulation, Neuroimaging of cortical function, Post-injury plasticity, Somatosensory system, Traumatic brain injury, Peripheral nerve injury, molecular probes, Optical imaging, Development of molecular-based neuromodulation technologies
Regenerate and redefine the interface between neurons and electrodes implanted in the brain, improving the understanding and control of device-tissue integration
Primary neuronal cultures, ex vivo and in vivo gene therapy, stereotaxic surgery, immunohistochemistry, neuro substructure microdissections, behavioral evaluations of motor performance, microscopy, long term deep brain stimulation platform
Structure-function relation of retinal ganglion cells undergoing glaucoma-related degeneration in the primate eye. Development of treatment strategies aimed at mitigating or preventing glaucomatous retinal ganglion cell degeneration
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique development. Use neuroimaging to understand mild traumatic brain injury, normal aging, Alzheimer's disease (AD), AD risk reduction, and effects of hypertension on the brain.