University of Pittsburgh

School of Pharmacy


Robert Gibbs, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Director, Cell Imaging Core

University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, 1004 Salk Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261



Dr. Gibbs's laboratory is located on the 10th floor of Salk Hall where investigators are studying the ability of gonadal hormone therapy to enhance and maintain the functional status of specific neural systems in the adult and aging brain. Current studies are focusing on the effects of estradiol and testosterone on cholinergic projections to the hippocampus and cortex, the enhancement of which may help to prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer's-related dementia in postmenopausal women.


Training Opportunities

A wide variety of molecular, histochemical, and behavioral techniques are used in the laboratory to study how brain function is affected by gonadal hormones and aging. Some of the techniques currently being utilized include quantitative RT-PCR, quantitative in situ hybridization histochemistry, immunocytochemistry, in vivo microdialysis, enzyme assays, uptake assays, and measures of learning and memory. Students are encouraged to acquaint themselves with all of the techniques being used in the laboratory. Opportunities for additional predoctoral and postdoctoral training in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and in conjunction with the Center for Reproductive Physiology are also available.


Cell Imaging Core

The cell imaging core provides technical support and training in the use of modern quantitative histochemical techniques. Core facilities consist of a dedicated research laboratory, cryostat, microtomes, and a high quality photomicroscope equipped with fluorescence, digital imaging, and computer aided image analysis. Some of the techniques currently supported by the core include digital imaging, quantitative in situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry, autoradiography, TUNEL, as well as a variety of morphometric and stereological analyses. Core facilities are located on the 10th floor of Salk Hall adjacent to Dr. Gibbs's laboratory.



Recent Publications


Zhang, Y., Huang, Y., Zhang, P., Gao, X., Gibbs, R.B., and Li, S. (2012) Incorporation of a selective sigma-2 receptor ligand enhances uptake of liposomes by multiple cancer cells, International Journal of Nanomedicine, In Press


Cai, L., Gibbs, R.B., Johnson, D.A. (2012) Recognition of novel objects and their location in rats with selective cholinergic lesions of the medial septum. Neuroscience Letters, 506(2): 261-265. PMID: 22119001


Gibbs, R.B., Chipman, A.M., Hammond, R. and Nelson, D. (2011) Galanthamine Plus Estradiol Treatment Enhances Cognitive Performance in Aged Ovariectomized Rats, Horm. & Behav.60:607-616. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.08.010.PMID: 3210334


Gibbs, R.B., Chipman, A.M., and Nelson, D. (2011) Donepezil Plus Estradiol Treatment Enhances Learning and Delay-Dependent Memory Performance by Young Ovariectomized Rats with Partial Loss of Septal Cholinergic Neurons, Horm. & Behav., 59(4): 503-11. DOI S0018-506X(11)00026-2 [pii] 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.01.011; PMID 3081392


Hammond, R.*, and Gibbs, R.B. (2011) GPR30 is positioned to mediate estrogen effects on basal forebrain cholinergic neurons and cognitive performance, Brain Res, 1379:53-60, doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.11.098; PMID 3046317


Pokala, V.N., Witt-Enderby, P.A., Gibbs, R.B., and Johnson, D.A. (2010). Selective septohippocampal cholinergic lesioning in rat brain: Effects on muscarinic receptor function and secretase enzyme activity. Curr. Topics in Pharmacol. 14: 73-78.


Kline, A.E., McAloon, R.L., Henderson, K.A., Bansal, U.K., Ganti, B.M., Ahmed, R.H., Gibbs, R.B. and Sozda, C.N. (2010) Evaluation of a Combined Therapeutic Regimen of 8-OH-DPAT and Environmental Enrichment After Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury, J. Neurotrauma, 27:11, 2021-2032. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2010.1535; PMID 2978058


Hammond, R.*, Nelson, D., and Gibbs, R.B. (2010) GPR30 co-localizes with cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain and enhances potassium-stimulated acetylcholine release in the hippocampus. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36(2):182-192, DOI: 10.1016/j.psyceuen.2010.07.007. PMID: 2994977


Gibbs, R.B. (2010) Does Short-Term Estrogen Therapy Produce Lasting Benefits In Brain? Endocrinology, 15(3): 843-845.


Gibbs, R.B. (2010) Estrogen therapy and cognition: A review of the cholinergic hypothesis, Endocrine Reviews 31(2): 224-253. PMID: 2852210.


Gibbs, R.B. (2009) Animal Studies that Support Estrogen Effects on Cognitive Performance and the Cholinergic Basis of the Critical Period Hypothesis, In: Hormones, Cognition and Dementia: State of the Art and Emergent Therapeutic Strategies, E. Hogervorst, V. Henderson, R.B. Gibbs, and R. Brinton, Eds., Cambridge University  Press, Cambridge, UK.


Ramaswamy, Gibbs, R.B., Plant, T.M. (2009) Studies of the localization and action of kisspeptin within the pituitary of the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta), Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 10: 795-804. PMCID: 2760459


Hammond, R., Mauk, R., Ninaci, D., Nelson, D., and Gibbs, R.B. (2009) Chronic treatment with estrogen receptor agonists restores acquisition of a spatial memory task in young ovariectomized rats. Horm. & Behav., 56: 309-314.


Gibbs, R.B., Mauk, R., Nelson, D., Johnson, D.A. (2009) Donepezil treatment restores the ability of estradiol to enhance cognitive performance in aged rats: Evidence for the cholinergic basis of the critical period hypothesis. Horm. & Behav., 56: 73-83. NIHMS123055, Publ.ID: YHBEH2819


Hogervorst cover.pdf

Complete Publication List

Robert Gibbs - CV

Other sites of interest:

University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

PhD Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Center for Research in Reproductive Physiology

Alzheimer's Disease Research Center