Cortney Turner, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist, Michigan Neuroscience Institute
Associate Research Scientist, Department of Pharmacology

2006 MBNI Building

205 Zina Pitcher Place

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5720


Areas of Interest

Throughout my research career, I have focused on the neurobiology of affective neuroscience. My main area of interest is neuromodulators of motivation and emotion, both positive and negative. I have primarily focused on the role of growth factors in the hippocampus. Specifically, I study various members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family, and how they modulate behavior and neuroplasticity.

My overall goal is to develop biomarkers and novel therapeutics for depression and anxiety. Currently, I am involved in two projects, one clinical and one basic. The latter project involves identifying novel molecules from post-mortem human brain studies and then testing proprietary compounds that target these molecules for antidepressant activity. Promising candidates are then followed up by neuroanatomical and neurochemical techniques to identify their mechanism of action. The other project involves developing a predictive algorithm to determine vulnerability and resilience to depression and anxiety in college freshmen. Various clinical, hormonal, genetic and activity measures are collected at baseline, and the students are followed on measures of anxiety and depression during the year. The ultimate goal of these two projects is to improve the prevention and treatment of mood disorders.

Honors & Awards

4 US Patents Awarded

2011 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Travel Awardee

2009 Rachel Upjohn Clinical Scholars Award, Department of Psychiatry

1998 Phi Beta Kappa

Published Articles or Reviews

The fibroblast growth factor family: neuromodulation of affective behavior.

Turner CA, Watson SJ, Akil H.Neuron. 2012 Oct 4;76(1):160-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.08.037.PMID: 23040813

Neural cell adhesion molecule peptide mimetics modulate emotionality: pharmacokinetic and behavioral studies in rats and non-human primates.

Turner CA, Lyons DM, Buckmaster CL, Aurbach EL, Watson SJ, Schatzberg AF, Akil H.Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Jan;44(2):356-363. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0052-6. Epub 2018 Apr 9.PMID: 2970399

Fibroblast growth factor 9 is a novel modulator of negative affect.

Aurbach EL, Inui EG, Turner CA, Hagenauer MH, Prater KE, Li JZ, Absher D, Shah N, Blandino P Jr, Bunney WE, Myers RM, Barchas JD, Schatzberg AF, Watson SJ Jr, Akil H.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 22;112(38):11953-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510456112. Epub 2015 Sep 8.PMID: 26351673

Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) augmentation early in life alters hippocampal development and rescues the anxiety phenotype in vulnerable animals.

Turner CA, Clinton SM, Thompson RC, Watson SJ Jr, Akil H.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 10;108(19):8021-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1103732108. Epub 2011 Apr 25.PMID: 21518861


For more publications please click here.

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