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Research Interests for Staci D. Bilbo

Research Interests:

The overarching goal of my research is to understand the mechanisms by which the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems interact, and how these interactions influence complex behavior such as cognition and emotion. The immune system is well characterized for its critical role in host defense. Far beyond this limited role however, there is mounting evidence for the vital role the immune system plays within the brain, in both normal, “homeostatic” processes (e.g., sleep, metabolism), as well as in pathology, when the dysregulation of immune molecules may occur. The developing brain in particular is exquisitely sensitive to both endogenous and exogenous signals, and increasing evidence suggests the immune system has a critical role in brain development and associated behavioral outcomes for the life of the individual. Notably, evidence from both animal and human studies implicates the immune system in a number of disorders with known or suspected developmental origins, including schizophrenia, anxiety/depression, and autism. Thus, the proximate goal of my research program is to determine how seemingly disparate challenges during the perinatal period of life, such as infection, stressors, or toxins, may converge on the immune system and thereby markedly influence brain development, as well as cognitive and affective behaviors throughout the remainder of the lifespan. Conversely, we are also exploring how interventions, such as nurturing maternal care or environmental enrichment, can work to counteract the deleterious effects of early-life infection, trauma, or stress, again via their impact on neuroimmune communication.

Keywords:
Autoimmune Diseases, Cells, Cultured, Chemokines, Cognition, Cytokines, Diet, Epigenomics, Fetal Development, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Hippocampus, Immune System, Immune Tolerance, Immunity, Cellular, Immunity, Innate, Infection, Inflammation, Interleukin-1beta, Learning, Macrophages, Maternal Exposure, Microglia, Neuroglia, Neuroimmunomodulation, Obesity, Placenta, Pregnancy, Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear, Stress, Psychological
Representative Publications   (search)
  1. Williamson, LL; Sholar, PW; Mistry, RS; Smith, SH; Bilbo, SD, Microglia and memory: modulation by early-life infection., Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 31 no. 43 (October, 2011), pp. 15511-15521 [22031897], [doi[abs].
  2. Schwarz, JM; Hutchinson, MR; Bilbo, SD, Early-life experience decreases drug-induced reinstatement of morphine CPP in adulthood via microglial-specific epigenetic programming of anti-inflammatory IL-10 expression., Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 31 no. 49 (December, 2011), pp. 17835-17847 [22159099], [doi[abs].
  3. Schwarz, JM; Sholar, PW; Bilbo, SD, Sex differences in microglial colonization of the developing rat brain., Journal of Neurochemistry, vol. 120 no. 6 (March, 2012), pp. 948-963 [22182318], [doi[abs].
  4. Bilbo, SD; Tsang, V, Enduring consequences of maternal obesity for brain inflammation and behavior of offspring., Faseb Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, vol. 24 no. 6 (June, 2010), pp. 2104-2115 [20124437], [doi[abs].
  5. Bilbo, SD; Schwarz, JM, The immune system and developmental programming of brain and behavior., Front Neuroendocrinol, vol. 33 no. 3 (August, 2012), pp. 267-286 [22982535], [doi[abs].

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