Areas of Interest
My research career has focused on examining the interplay among stress, emotionality, cognition, and aging to understand the mechanisms underlying psychiatric and neurological disorders and determine which factors contribute to, modify, or attenuate vulnerability to neuronal dysfunction and the cognitive and emotional impairment observed in these disorders. How stress over a lifetime (from birth throughout life) impacts one’s vulnerability to psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases is a key theme that has guided me.
As the Director of the Akil laboratory bred High Responder/Low Responder (bHR/bLR) rat colony, I provide scientific oversight to this colony which serves as the foundation for much of the research we do studying the neurobiology of emotion and addiction. Currently, one of my key projects involves elucidating the genetic basis of the characteristic phenotypical differences in the bHR and bLR lines. These lines have been created from over 15 years of selective breeding and capture genetic variants responsible for differences in temperament and addictive behavior with the phenotypes mapping remarkably well onto human studies of temperamental differences observed in internalizing and externalizing disorders.
Published Articles or Reviews
- Hebda-Bauer, EK, Hagenauer, MH, Blandino, Jr, P, Meng, F, Chitre, AS, Ozel, B, Flagel, S, Watson, Jr, SJ, Palmer, AA, Li, J, Akil, H. (2022) Transcriptional Profiling of the Hippocampus in an F2 Cross of a Genetic Rat Model of Internalizing vs. Externalizing Behavior and Addiction Liability. bioRxiv doi: 10.1101/2022.07.14.500129
- Chitre, AS*, Hebda-Bauer, EK*, Blandino, P, Nguyen, K-N, Maras, P, Li, F, Flagel, S, Ozel, B, Polesskaya, O, Cheng, R, Watson, Jr, SJ, Li, J, Palmer, AA, Akil, H. (2022) Genome-Wide Association Study in a Rat Model of Temperament Identifies Multiple Loci for Exploratory Locomotion and Anxiety-Like Traits. bioRxiv doi: 10.1101/2022.07.12.499605. *Equal first authors
- Maras, PM, Hebda-Bauer, EK, Hagenauer, MH, Hilde KL, Blandino, Jr, P, Watson, SJ, Akil, A. (2022) Differences in microglia morphological profiles reflect divergent emotional temperaments: Insights from a selective breeding model Translational Psychiatry 12(105): 1-11. PMC8924221
- Hebda-Bauer, EK, Dokas, LA, Watson, SJ, Akil, H. (2019) Adaptation to single housing is dynamic: changes in hormone levels, gene expression, signaling in the brain, and anxiety-like behavior in adult male C57Bl/6 mice. Hormones & Behavior 114: 104541, PM31220462