Office: 456 Langley Hall
Dr. Grace's research interests lie at the interface of neurobiology and
psychiatry. Experiments conducted in his laboratory combine in vivo and
in vitro electrophysiological recordings of identified neurons with
behavioral and neuroanatomical techniques to study central dopaminergic
systems, with the ultimate goal of determining the neurobiological
correlates of mental disorders and the modes of action of
psychotherapeutic drugs. Ongoing studies into the neurobiology of
schizophrenia involve study of the interaction of the prefrontal cortex
and antipsychotic drugs with subcortical dopamine systems, and
examining the impact of developmental disruption on limbic system
function, as a model for the pathophysiological changes underlying
schizophrenia in humans. Additional studies are aimed at examining
plasticity in the limbic system, with a particular focus on the
amygdala, in response to chronic stress exposure and to drugs of abuse
in animal models of drug addiction, craving, and affective disorders.
The techniques employed in these analyses include: 1) recordings of
identified neurons using intracellular and extracellular
electrophysiological techniques, 2) anatomical studies of identified
neurons and neurotransmitter pathways, 3) producing neurochemically
specific lesions of neurons and selective disruptions of neuronal
development, and 4) behavioral measures that correlate with
electrophysiological studies. Through this approach, the basic
neurobiological processes that contribute to psychiatric disorders may
be elucidated, and insight may be gained into more effective
therapeutic strategies for treating these diseases in humans.
Buffalari, D.M. and Grace, A.A. Chronic cold stress increases
excitatory effects of norepinephrine on spontaneous and evoked activity
of basolateral amygdala neurons. International Journal of
Neuropsychopharmacology 12: 95-107, 2009.
Valenti, O. and Grace, A.A. Entorhinal cortex modulates the activity
states of electrophysiologically characterized medial prefrontal
cortical neurons. Cerebral Cortex 19: 658-674, 2009.
Lodge, D.J., Behrens, M.M. and Grace, A.A. A loss of
parvalbumin-containing interneurons is associated with diminished
oscillatory activity in an animal model of schizophrenia. Journal of
Neuroscience 29: 2344-2354, 2009.
McCracken, C.B. and Grace, A.A. Nucleus accumbens deep brain
stimulation produces region-specific alterations in local field
potential oscillations and evoked responses in vivo. Journal of
Neuroscience 29: 5354-5363, 2009.
Buffalari, D.M. and Grace, A.A. Anxiogenic modulation of spontaneous
and evoked neuronal activity in the basolateral amygdala. Neuroscience
163: 1069-1077, 2009.
Lodge, D.J. and Grace, A.A. Augmented hippocampal drive of mesolimbic
dopamine neurons: A mechanism of psychostimulant sensitization. Journal
of Neuroscience 28 7876-7882, 2008.
Goto, Y. and Grace, A.A. Limbic and cortical information processing in
the nucleus accumbens. Trends in Neurosciences 31: 552-558,