Professor, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Psychology

Ph.D. Yale University (1983)

Office: 456 Langley Hall

Research Summary:

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.

Selected Publications:

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, 2008.