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ELIZABETH GOULD
Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., UCLA, 1988
 CASE STUDY
How Does Experience Influence The Brain?
CONTACT INFO 
T: 609.258.4483
E: goulde@princeton.edu

PNI A56
Psychology Department
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08540


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RESEARCH SUMMARY 
My laboratory studies neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) and other forms of structural plasticity in the early postnatal and adult mammalian brain. Several decades ago, new cells with neuronal characteristics were reported in the hippocampus, olfactory bulb and neocortex of adult brains first by Altman and then by Kaplan. Despite these early reports, relatively little progress has been made toward understanding the control of neuron production in these areas and neurogenesis in the adult neocortex remains controversial. My laboratory explores issues related to the regulation of cell production and survival in these three brain regions in rodents and primates (marmosets and macaques).

We have found that stressful experiences inhibit the production of new neurons in the hippocampus of adult rodents and primates. Moreover, developmental stress (either prenatal or early postnatal) persistently diminishes the production of new neurons, even into adulthood.

We are trying to answer the following basic questions: How do hormones modulate the production of new neurons? What types of experience affect new cell production? What are the mechanisms that underlie hormonal and experiential modulation of structural plasticity? What possible role could late-generated cells play in brain function?

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