My laboratory studies structural plasticity in the adult mammalian brain. We are interested in identifying the environmental, hormonal and neural stimuli that drive changes in the number, shape and size of neurons, astrocytes and microglia. The ultimate goals of our work are to determine the impact changes in brain structure have on cognition and anxiety regulation, as well as to identify factors that enhance plasticity and cell survival in the adult mammalian brain. We have been seeking to understand mechanisms of obesity-induced cognitive decline and have found that excessive weight gain decreases the number of synapses and changes microglial morphology. We have also been exploring mechanisms by which physical exercise enhances cognition and have found that running stimulates growth of neurons and astrocytes and this latter effect is linked causally with improved cognition.
Brockett A, LaMarca EA, Gould E. (2015) Running enhances cognitive flexibility as well as astrocytic and synaptic markers in the prefrontal cortex. PLOS ONE. 10(5):e0124859
Glasper ER, LaMarca EA, Bocarsly ME, Fasolino M, Opendak M, Gould E (2015) Sexual experience enhances cognitive flexibility and dendritic spine density in the medial prefrontal cortex. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 125:73-79.
Opendak M, Gould E. (2015) Adult neurogenesis: a substrate for experience-dependent change. TICS. 19:151-61
Schoenfeld TJ, Kloth AD, Hsueh B, Runkle MB, Kane GA, Wang SS, Gould E. (2014) Gap junctions in the ventral hippocampal-medial prefrontal pathway are involved in anxiety regulation. J Neurosci.34:15679-88
Schoenfeld TJ, Rada P, Pieruzzini PR, Hsueh B, Gould E. (2013) Physical exercise prevents stress-induced activation of granule neurons and enhances local inhibitory mechanisms in the dentate gyrus. J Neurosci. 33: 7770-7777.