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Anatomy & Neurobiology - Center for Microelectrode Technology





Greg Gerhardt

Greg Gerhardt

Greg Gerhardt

Dr. Gerhardt’s laboratory focuses on studies of the dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitter systems in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. For these studies, his lab uses both the 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rat model and the MPTP-treated primate model of Parkinson’s disease. Using his microelectrode techniques, Dr. Gerhardt’s lab has investigated the release and uptake of dopamine in the striatum and substantia nigra of the normal and parkinsonian brain. A major finding from these studies is that there is a severe disruption of dopamine regulation in the parkinsonian brain. This disruption of the control of dopamine may relate to some of the movement problems seen in this CNS disease. His laboratory is currently investigating the use of growth factors, such as GDNF, to restore function to damaged dopamine neurons. His laboratory has recently shown that GDNF can restore function to damaged dopamine neurons in rats and monkeys. This forms the basis for the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence.

Another area of research in his laboratory involves studies of movement abnormalities in aging. Such studies are performed in the striatum and substantia nigra of young andaged Fischer 344 rats, and in young and aged nonhuman primates. His recent studies have shown that dopamine synapses change in their ability to regulate neurotransmitter release through changes in the dopamine transporter. This lack of regulation or change in the regulation of neurotransmitter signaling may account for some of the motor abnormalities that are seen in aged animals and humans.

A major research area of Dr. Gerhardt’s laboratory is the dynamics of neurotransmitter function in the central nervous system. In order to perform such studies, his lab develops microelectrodes (5-30 microns) and instrumentation for the rapid, sensitive, and spatially resolved measurement of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, nitric oxide, and glutamate. A major goal of these studies is to understand neurotransmitter signaling in biological systems. This forms the basis for the Center for Microelectrode Technology.

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