Brenda L. Bloodgood, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Division of Biological Sciences, Neurobiology
Institution
University of California, San Diego
Address
9500 Gilman Dr. MC 0634
CNCB Room 323
City, State, Zip
La Jolla, CA 92093
Phone
(858) 246-1143
E-mail
blbloodgood[at]ucsd.edu
Website
http://biology.ucsd.edu/research/faculty/blbloodgood
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2015

Research

My research investigates how an animal's interaction with its environment alters the wiring of the brain through regulation of its genome. To learn about the world, an animal must translate fleeting sensory information into long-lasting changes in neural circuitry–a reconfiguration that must both contain information about the event and be selective for those events that are important to the animal. As a postdoctoral fellow, I studied a protein called Npas4, which regulates the expression of hundreds of genes in brain regions involved in memory when an animal explores its environment. I discovered that Npas4 changes the wiring of a circuit in a way that allows neurons to integrate more information before conveying information further through the circuit. I am now interested in exploring how different types of environmental stimulation influence which genes get turned on by Npas4, how these genes regulate specific neural computations, and when these molecular events impact the behavior of the animal. These findings could offer new ways of treating disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which are characterized by disturbances in neuronal integration and information processing.