Thomas Kash, Ph.D.
John Andrews Distinguished Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies
My broad scientific goal is to understand how modulation of discrete neuronal circuits can shape behavior and to deconstruct the molecular mechanisms that underlie this modulation. Research in my lab is focused on understanding how stress and drug abuse can alter neuronal function in brain regions that regulate emotional behavior. This is a topic that is fascinating from a basic science standpoint, but also absolutely critical from the public health standpoint, as psychiatric disorders exert a tremendous economic impact on our society. These investigations are performed using a multidisciplinary approach, ranging from behavioral analysis to detailed mechanistic signaling analysis in individual neurons. This integrative approach has been exciting and has allowed me to move my science beyond correlation to explore causative relationships. I have multiple active projects and grants related to discovering different aspects of stress and drug induced behavioral pathologies, ranging from examining the impact of stress on the amygdala to understanding how binge-drinking can modulate neuropeptide signaling in the bed nucleus of the stria termanlis. My goal moving forward is to continue to probe causative mechanisms of modulation in the brain. In addition, via a collaboration with Bryan Roth, I am working to develop new chemical genetic tools that will allow for a more refined dissection of how signaling in the brain can alter behavior.
Chronic stress dysregulates amygdalar output to the prefrontal cortex. Lowery-Gionta EG, Crowley NA, Bukalo O, Silverstein S, Holmes A, Kash TL. Neuropharmacology. 2018 Jun 28;139:68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.06.032. PMID: 29959957
NMDA receptor GluN2A subunit deletion protects against dependence-like ethanol drinking. Jury NJ, Radke AK, Pati D, Kocharian A, Mishina M, Kash TL, Holmes A. Behav Brain Res. 2018 Jun 25. pii: S0166-4328(17)31649-2. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.06.029. PMID:29953905
Fear extinction requires infralimbic cortex projections to the basolateral amygdala. Bloodgood DW, Sugam JA, Holmes A, Kash TL. Transl Psychiatry. 2018 Mar 6;8(1):60. doi: 10.1038/s41398-018-0106-x. PMID: 29507292
Glutamate plasticity woven through the progression to alcohol use disorder: a multi-circuit perspective. Hwa L, Besheer J, Kash T. F1000Res. 2017 Mar 21;6:298. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.9609.1. eCollection 2017. Review. PMID: 28413623
The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in drug-associated behavior and affect: A circuit-based perspective. Vranjkovic O, Pina M, Kash TL, Winder DG. Neuropharmacology. 2017 Aug 1;122:100-106. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.03.028. Epub 2017 Mar 27. PMID: 28351600