Department of Neurobiology

Thiels, Edda (Floh)
Program Director, IOS
National Science Foundation

Adjunct Associate Professor, Neurobiology
Address: 6064 Biomedical Science Tower 3
   3501 Fifth Avenue
   Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3301
Telephone: 412-648-1442
Fax: 412-383-5267

Behavioral, biochemical, and physiological analysis of learning and memory.

The main research interest of Dr. Thiels is how animals acquire information from the environment and use that information to guide their behavior. Understanding of the biological substrates of learning and memory is one of the most sought-after goals of neuroscience because of the universality of these cognitive faculties and their utmost importance for survival in a variable environment. Growing evidence indicates that learning and memory involve specific neural circuits and, within these circuits, specific physiological, biochemical, and molecular processes. Likely neurophysiological substrates of learning and memory include experience-induced changes in the strength of synaptic communication. Dr. Thiels' laboratory studies experience-dependent bidirectional synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, a structure in the medial temporal lobes critical for the acquisition and storage of episodic and factual memories. Another, recently initiated line of study in the laboratory focuses on experience-dependent alterations of function in brain circuits implicated in reward learning and drug addiction. This work is aimed at advancing our understanding of cue-induced drug craving and relapse.

Sample Publications:

Amphetamine activates Rho GTPase signaling to mediate dopamine transporter internalization and acute behavioral effects of amphetamine.
Wheeler DS, Underhill SM, Stolz DB, Murdoch GH, Thiels E, Romero G, Amara SG.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Dec 22;112(51):E7138-47.

Appetitive cue-evoked ERK signaling in the nucleus accumbens requires NMDA and D1 dopamine receptor activation and regulates CREB phosphorylation.
Kirschmann EK, Mauna JC, Willis CM, Foster RL, Chipman AM, Thiels E.
Learn Mem. 2014 Oct 16;21(11):606-15.

Comparison of behavioral effects of the NMDA receptor channel blockers memantine and ketamine in rats.
Kotermanski SE, Johnson JW, Thiels E.
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Aug;109:67-76.

Stimulus-specific and differential distribution of activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase in the nucleus accumbens core and shell during Pavlovian-instrumental transfer.
Remus ML, Thiels E.
Brain Struct Funct. 2013 Jul;218(4):913-27.

Protein phosphatases 1 and 2A are both required for long-term depression and associated dephosphorylation of cAMP response element binding protein in hippocampal area CA1 in vivo.
Mauna JC, Miyamae T, Pulli B, Thiels E.
Hippocampus. 2011 Oct;21(10):1093-104.

LTP- and LTD-inducing stimulations cause opposite changes in arc/arg3.1 mRNA level in hippocampal area CA1 in vivo.
Yilmaz-Rastoder E, Miyamae T, Braun AE, Thiels E.
Hippocampus. 2011 Dec;21(12):1290-301.

Critical involvement of postsynaptic protein kinase activation in long-term potentiation at hippocampal mossy fiber synapses on CA3 interneurons.
Galván EJ, Cosgrove KE, Mauna JC, Card JP, Thiels E, Meriney SD, Barrionuevo G.
J Neurosci. 2010 Feb 24;30(8):2844-55.


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