Dr Natalie Tronson

University of Michigan, USA

My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory; the internal and external factors that can lead to changes in memory; and the role of memory dysregulation in psychiatric and neurological disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, and post-operative cognitive decline. We are particularly intruigued by questions such as “Why do many patients develop post-traumatic stress disorder after heart attack?” and “What causes cognitive and memory decline after surgery?” and “How do normal memories for trauma become pathological in post-traumatic stress disorder?” and “Why are women so much more susceptible to these than males?”

Therefore, we focus on mechanisms by which neuroimmune signaling and stress lead to enhancements or impairments in long term memory formation; in the role of memory reconsolidation after retrieval in maladaptive memory; and the similarities and differences in how males and females form and modulate memory.

To study these questions, we integrate behavioral measures of memory in mice - including fear conditioning and appetitive pavlovian conditioning; models of illness including surgical induction of myocardial infarction (a model of heart attack); and protein biochemistry to measure changes in cytokines, signal transduction, and transcription.