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Amanda Roberts, Ph.D.

Assoc Professor of Molecular Neurosciences
Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
California Campus
aroberts@scripps.edu
(858) 784-9802

Research Focus

Mouse Behavioral Assessment Core.

The Mouse Behavioral Assessment Core is a state-of-the-art behavioral phenotyping facility. It provides a centralized resource for standard behavioral assays (anxiety-like, cognitive, motor, sensory gating, etc.), drug abuse/dependence models (selfadministration, place conditioning), metabolic studies (CLAMS, EchoMRI), electroencephalography (power spectra analyses, sleep, seizures), surgical procedures and target compound assessments. We provide as a fee-for-service:
1) High quality behavioral testing relevant to neurodegenerative, neurological and psychiatric disorders
2) Phenotyping services for novel transgenic mouse lines
3) A resource for behavioral experimental design assistance, animal protocol (IACUC) preparation, data analysis, and results interpretation
4) Training for investigators, post-docs, and students in behavioral techniques.

Mouse Target Assessment Core.

We are currently funded to run the Mouse Target Assessment Core as part of the Integrative Neurosciences Initiative on Alcoholism-West (INIA-West). We are using a mouse model of excessive alcohol drinking that involves assessing voluntary intake before and after chronic intermittent ethanol vapor exposure. In this model, ethanol drinking following the vapor exposure is elevated by 50-100% relative to non-vapor control mice and blood alcohol levels achieved by this increased drinking exceed 100 mg%. The overall theoretical structure is that a combination of animal models, neurobiological targets derived from such models and the availability of target compounds provides a framework for the development of pharmacotherapeutics for alcohol abuse and dependence. Genes associated with excessive ethanol consumption have been compiled and a thorough discussion of this list in our biannual INIA-West meetings has led to the identification of several pathways of potentially compelling importance. Currently, neuroinflammatory system targets such as TLR4, PPAR, IKK beta, and Pde 4 are being explored.

Education

B.A., Psychobiology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1988
M.S., Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University, 1990
Ph.D., Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University, 1993

Professional Experience

Mar, 2010 – September, 2011:  Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Jun, 2006 – Feb, 2010:  Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Jul, 2005 – present:  Director, Mouse Behavioral Assessment Core Facility, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.
Nov, 2000 – Sept, 2007:  Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience Department (formerly Department of Neuropharmacology), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.
Mar, 1999 – May, 2006:  Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Jan, 1996 – Sep, 2001:  Assistant Managing Editor, Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (George F. Koob, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief)
Jan, 1998 – Oct, 2000:  Staff Scientist, Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department (formerly Department of Neuropharmacology), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.
Aug, 1997 – Oct, 2000:  Laboratory Manager, Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department (formerly Department of Neuropharmacology), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.  (George F. Koob, Ph.D., supervisor)
Jan, 1995 - Dec, 1997:  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department (formerly Department of Neuropharmacology), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.  (George F. Koob, Ph.D., supervisor)
Dec, 1993 - Dec, 1994:  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Behavioral Genetics, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR.  (Tamara J. Phillips, Ph.D., supervisor)

Selected References

Trujillo JL, Do DT, Grahame NJ, Roberts AJ, Gorman MR. Ethanol consumption in mice: relationships with circadian period and entrainment. Alcohol, 45(2): 147-59, 2011.

Treweek JB, Roberts AJ, Janda KD. Immunopharmacotherapeutic manifolds and modulation of cocaine overdose.  Pharmacol Biochem Behav 98(3):474-84, 2011.

Amador-Arjona A, Elliot J, Miller A, Ginbey A, Pazour GJ, Enikolopov G, Roberts AJ, Terskikh AV.  Primary cilia regulate proliferation of amplifying progenitors in adult hippocampus: implications for learning and memory.  J. Neurosci 31(27):9933-44, 2011.

Chen Q, Prior M, Dargusch R, Roberts A, Riek R, Eichmann C, Chiruta C, Akaishi T, Abe K, Maher P, Schubert D.  A novel neurotrophic drug for cognitive enhancement and Alzheimer’s disease.  PLoS One. 2011;6(12): e27865, Epub Dec., 2011 

Roberts AJ, Hedlund PB. The 5-HT(7) receptor in learning and memory.  Hippocampus 22:762-771, 2012.

Chang Y, She ZG, Sakimura K, Roberts A, Kucharova K, Rowitch DH, Stallcup WB. Ablation of NG2 proteoglycan leads to deficits in brown fat function and to adult onset obesity.  PLoS One. 7(1):e30637, 2012.

Semenova S, Contet C, Roberts, AJ, Markou A.  Mice lacking the b4 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor show memory deficits, altered anxiety- and depression-like behavior, and diminished nicotine-induced analgesia. Nicotine Tob Res 14(11):1346-55, 2012. 

Bray JG, Reyes KC, Roberts AJ, Ransohoff RM, Gruol DL. Synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus shows resistance to acute ethanol exposure in transgenic mice with astrocyte-targeted enhanced CCL2 expression. Neuropharmacology 67C:115-125, 2012.

Eisener-Dorman AF, Bailey JS, Grabowski-Boase L, Huitron-Resendiz S, Roberts AJ, Wiltshire T, Tarantino LM. Characterization of Highper, an ENU-induced mouse mutant with abnormal psychostimulant and stress responses. Psychopharmacology 225(2): 407-19, 2013.

Links

Mouse Behavioral Assessment Core Facility

Integrated Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism