Dr. David Morilakâ€™s
research addresses the neurobiology of stress and its negative impact on health
and brain function. He studies how the brain adapts to effectively cope with
stress; how chronic stress can lead to serious psychiatric disorders, including
depression, PTSD and other illnesses; and his laboratory investigates new and
more effective therapeutic strategies for the treatment of such disorders.
Approaches span the molecular to the behavioral, incorporating measures of gene
and protein expression, receptor function and signal transduction,
neurotransmitter release, and behavioral assays for anxiety, coping strategies,
cognitive flexibility and stress reactivity in rats. Techniques include rtPCR,
western blot, cell culture, in situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry,
microdialysis, stereotaxic surgery, intracerebral and systemic drug
administration and behavioral pharmacology. His work is funded by grants from
the NIH, DoD, VA, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Donegan JJ, Girotti M, Weinberg MS, Morilak DA. A novel role for brain interleukin-6: facilitation of cognitive flexibility in rat orbitofrontal cortex. J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 15;34(3):953-62.
Bingham BC, Sheela Rani CS, Frazer A, Strong R, Morilak DA. Exogenous
prenatal corticosterone exposure mimics the effects of prenatal stress
on adult brain stress response systems and fear extinction behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Nov;38(11):2746-57.
Girotti M, Donegan JJ, Morilak DA. Influence of hypothalamic IL-6/gp130 receptor signaling on the HPA axis response to chronic stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Jul;38(7):1158-69.
Jett JD, Morilak DA. Too
much of a good thing: blocking noradrenergic facilitation in medial
prefrontal cortex prevents the detrimental effects of chronic stress on
cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Mar;38(4):585-95.
Furr A, Lapiz-Bluhm MD, Morilak DA. 5-HT2A receptors in the orbitofrontal cortex facilitate reversal learning and contribute to the beneficial cognitive effects of chronic citalopram treatment in rats. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Oct;15(9):1295-305.