Neurobiology of the stress response
My research program is directed toward determining the biological and behavioral effects of stress. While responses to acute stress are primarily adaptive, chronic stress can lead to both somatic and psychiatric illness. A key feature of stress-related disease is increased reactivity to stress including excess secretion of stress hormones such as the glucocorticoids and corticotropin releasing factor. My research interests are centered around three areas of investigation: 1.) behavioral responses to stress and glucocorticoid excess; 2.) neuroendocrine regulation during acute stress; 3.) functional plasticity in the stress axis in response to chronic stress or exposure to psychostimulant drugs.
Shepard, J.D., Chambers, C.O., Busch, C., Mount, A., & Schulkin, J. 2009. Chronically elevated corticosterone in the dorsolateral bed nuclei of stria terminalis increases anxiety-like behavior. Behavioural Brain Research 203:146-149.
Chen, J., Young, S., Subburaju, S., Shepard, J.D., Atkinson, H., Lightman, S., & Aguilera, G. 2008. Vasopressin does not mediate hypersensitivity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis during chronic stress. Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1148:349-359.
Shepard, J.D. & Myers, D.A. 2008. Strain differences in anxiety-like behavior: Association with corticotropin-releasing factor. Behavioural Brain Research 186:239-245.