Penn State University | College of Medicine | Research Departments | George T. Harrell Library | Medical Center |  Clinical & Translational Science Institute


Name Research Area(s) Lab Website
  Colin J. Barnstable, D.Phil.
Chair Neural & Behavioral Sciences;
Professor Neural & Behavioral Sciences and Psychiatry
Research Director, Penn State Hershey Eye Center
  • The ways in which interacting networks of transcription factors and signal transduction molecules guide the development of precursor/stem cells into mature neurons of the mammalian nervous system.
  • The role of the same networks in neurodegenerative diseases and factors that can act therapeutically as neuroprotective agents.
Barnstable Lab 
  Kevin D. Alloway, Ph.D.
Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
Research focuses on neural circuits, information processing, sensorimotor integration, and neuropathology of chronic pain.

Alloway Lab

Kirsteen N. Browning, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Neural & Behavioral Sciences
  • Plasticity within neural networks regulating visceral, particularly gastrointestinal, functions in response to glucose
  • The role of diet in modulating the development and function of vagal reflexes regulating visceral, particularly gastrointestinal, functions
 Browning Lab
  Loren A. Evey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
  • The efficacy of animated tutorials for learning nerve anatomy and function.
  • The development of microsurgical techniques that minimize the formation of scar tissues surrounding vascular and neural implants.
 Evey Page
Patricia S. Grigson, Ph.D.
Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
  • Once is too much: Addiction begins with the first exposure to drug
  • Natural rewards are highly protective against drug-seeking and taking
  •  Individual differences: Some are vulnerable to addiction and others are resilient
 Grigson lab
 HajnalAndras (3) Andras Hajnal, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences & Surgery
  • The effects of diabetes and obesity on brain functions with respect to brain areas and transmitter systems that integrate orosensory, viscerosensory and motivational processes regulating meal-size and food preferences.
  • The role of neural plasticity in the hindbrain-striato-cortical systems shaping behavioral responses to food (sweet and fatty foods) and drug reward (alcohol and morphine) in response to altered gastro-intestinal neuro-hormonal signals.
 Hajnal Lab
 Gregory Holmes Gregory M. Holmes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
  • The pathophysiological changes in autonomic nervous system regulation of gastrointestinal function following neurotrauma.
  • The mechanisms by which spinal cord and traumatic brain injury affect regions of the nervous system spatially remote from the injury site
 Holmes Lab
 LazarusMichelle-16 (2) Michelle Lazarus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
  • The impact of Radiology on Anatomy learning and knowledge retention.
  • Best Practices for vertical and horizontal integration of anatomy within undergraduate medical school to enhance anatomy knowledge retention and transfer to the clinic
Lazarus Page
  Patricia J. McLaughlin, D.Ed.
Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences; Director, Graduate Program in Anatomy
  • The biochemistry and physiology of the Opioid Growth Factor (OGF) – OGF receptor (OGFr) pathway during mammalian embryogenesis through adulthood, and the molecular and cellular changes to the OGF-OGFr axis that may lead to disease.
  • Translational studies on the consequences of complete blockade of the OGF-OGFr axis with an emphasis on corneal surface epithelial wounds, dry eye, and cutaneous full thickness wounds in normal and Type 1/Type 2 diabetic animal models and humans
McLaughlin Lab
  Ralph Norgren, Ph.D.
Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
  • The neural bases of learned and inherent reward.
  • Model systems include taste and the regulation of energy and hydromineral balance.
 Retired – See Emeritus Page
 Simpson Ian A. Simpson, Ph.D.
Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
  • We are focused on the mechanism(s) of transport of nutrients such as glucose, ketone bodies, amino acids and iron across the blood -brain barrier.
  • Another focus is the inter-relationship between diabetes and stroke.
 Simpson Lab
 2 DSCN1729 Joyce Tombran-Tink
Professor of Neural & Behavioral Sciences and Ophthalmology
  • Define cellular and molecular networks that control inflammation, cell death, and angiogenesis in the retina.
  • Understand how these networks converge to promote pathology in retinal degenerations including diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration.
  • Develop a series of small therapeutic PEDF peptide analogs that target these pathological events in the retina.
Tombran-Tink Lab
 Rtravagli R. Alberto Travagli, Ph.D.
Professor of Neural & Behavioral Sciences
  • We study the synaptic regulation of brainstem neurocircuits regulating autonomic functions in pathophysiological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stress, functional dyspepsia, necrotizing enterocolitis and pancreatitis.
  • We use a multifaceted approach that combines patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, immunohistochemistry and in vivo techniques to investigate the pathophysiology of these neurocircuits  and the agents that may be used therapeutically.
 Travagli Lab
Ian S. Zagon, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor; Distinguished Educator; Director, Program on Education in Human Structure
  • Regulation of the opioid growth factor (OGF)-OGF receptor (OGFr) axis during the course of neoplasia, and the role of OGF and/or OGFr in normal cell proliferation and transitioning to malignancy.
  • Dysregulation of the OGF-OGFr axis in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, or Crohn’s disease, and how manipulation of the pathway can be used as therapy (i.e., OGF or low dosages of naltrexone (LDN)).
Zagon Lab


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