Our lab is focused on the influence of early-life experiences on developing brain circuits and on the underlying plasticity mechanisms that promote health or disease.  We probe these at molecular, cellular, circuit and functional/behavioral levels using viral- and chemo-genetic techniques, in vivo electrophysiology and imaging, and epigenomic and single-cell transcriptomic methodologies.

Current Topics of Research in the Lab Include 

a) How early-life adversity/stress provokes anhedonia, and the underlying perturbations of the maturation of reward/pleasure circuitry.

b) How early-life adversity/stress provokes spatial memory deficits and the transcriptional / epigenomic mechanisms that re-program hippocampal neurons and circuits

c) How prolonged early-life seizures, especially those associated with fever, disrupt the maturation of hippocampal circuits and memory processes

d) Intra-individual methylomics in rodents and humans as predictive biomarkers of early-life adversity-induced cognitive and emotional problems

e) How multiple concurrent acute stresses, such as occur in mass shootings and natural disasters, impact memory processes in males and females.

Tallie Z. Baram

       Prof. Baram is the Danette Shepard Professor of Neurological Sciences, with appointments in several departments at UCI. Baram is a developmental neuroscientist and child neurologist and has focused her efforts on the influence of early-life experiences on the developing brain, and on the underlying mechanisms. She is studying this broad topic in two contexts: a) How early-life experiences, including adversity/stress, influence resilience and vulnerability to cognitive and emotional disorders; and b) how early-life seizures, especially those associated with fever, can convert a normal brain into an epileptic one, with associated memory problems.

        Baram has strong track-records in the use of cutting-edge molecular, epigenetic and MR imaging methods to uncover how adverse early-life experiences sculpt circuit maturation in the developing brain, focusing on memory-, stress- and reward-related networks. In addition, she is uncovering the orchestrated converging actions of multiple mediators (including endogenous local corticotropin-releasing hormone, CRH) on the stabilization or destruction of individual synapses/spines during stress in the mature brain. Her work on these topics has been cited > 20,000 times (H = 84, google scholar). 

        Baram and her work have been internationally recognized, as is apparent from awards including the NIH NINDS Javits Merit Award and the premier Research Awards of the AES (2005), CNS (2013), ANA (2014) and AAN (2018).  Baram has strived to contribute to the scientific community by, for examples, chairing NIH study sections and involvement in editorial boards and professional organizations. Baram has a passion and commitment to mentoring: She is PI of one of only two NIH-funded T32s focused on Epilepsy, and mentor of several recently funded NIH K awardees. Baram’s prior trainees from diverse countries and backgrounds are now contributing independently to basic, translational and clinical neuroscience.

Lab News: 

AUGUST | Rachael's protocol detailing the implementation of multiple concurrent acute stresses was published in Bio-protocol (link to paper).

JUNE | Cassie was selected to be supported by a T32 NIDA Training Grant. Rachael was selected to be supported by a T32 NIMH Training Grant. 

MAY | Congratulations to Rachael for winning Roger W. Russell Award in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory from the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) at UCI! Congratulations to Sophie for winning the Jared M. Roberts Memorial Graduate Student Award from CNLM! 

Congratulations to Ashima, Erin, and Stephanie for completing Excellence in Research of School of Biological Sciences, and additional applause to Ashima and Erin for winning the Robert Ernst Prize in Excellence in Research! 

DECEMBER | Dr. Baram and Jessica presented at the 2019 America College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting in Florida. 

NOVEMBER | Congratulations to Dr. Baram for being recognized as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)!

Annabel's work on interventions in adults to prevent memory loss following early-life stress is accepted in NeuropsychopharmacologyBlocking CRH receptors in adults mitigates age-related memory impairments provoked by early-life adversity (link to paper).

Megan's and Alicia's novel work on the prevention of epileptogenesis using anti-inflammatory approaches is accepted in eNeuro: Dexamethasone Attenuates Hyperexcitability Provoked by Experimental Febrile Status Epilepticus (link to paper).

OCTOBER | Dr. Baram organized the symposium on "The Paraventricular Thalamus (PVT): Salience and Timing Orchestrator for Learning and Deciding" at Neuroscience 2019, SfN's annual meeting.

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