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School of
Medicine

Neurosciences

Deneris, Evan

Deneris, Evan

Evan Deneris, PhD

Evan Deneris

Professor of Neurosciences, Interim Chair

Research in the Deneris lab is aimed at understanding the genetic mechanisms that act across the lifespan to regulate serotonin system function and to determine how these mechanisms impact serotonin-modulated behaviors. Our studies have identified transcription factors that function in an embryonic regulatory network to specify serotonin neurons in the mammalian ventral hindbrain.

Research

Current research in the lab is focused on using a recently developed temporally controlled genetic targeting approach to investigate the requirement for ongoing serotonergic transcription in serotonin system maturation and maintenance across the lifespan. Our new findings have shown that, Pet-1, a key factor in the serotonergic specification network continues to function at subsequent stages of serotonin system maturation to regulate serotonergic axonal innervation patterns and acquisition of intrinsic autoregulatory pathways that modulate serotonin neuron firing and transmitter release. Pet-1-dependent transcription is still needed in adult serotonin neurons to directly regulate brain serotonin synthesis and reuptake and to maintain emotional behaviors. These findings demonstrate that alterations in serotonergic transcriptional networks at any stage of life can disrupt serotonin system modulation of behavior and physiology.