Department of
Physiology and Neurobiology

We carry out research and education that is innovative, collaborative, and centered on cutting-edge science. We bring together researchers and educators focused on the molecular, cellular, and circuit-based mechanisms that underlie diverse functions orchestrated by the brain and body. By integrating work across the spectrum of Physiology and Neurobiology, we aim to advance our understanding of brain-body functions and interactions under normal conditions and disease. 

Our department is home to nationally recognized researchers in neuroscience, physiology, and education.

A Message From The Department Head

'Welcome to the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology (PNB) website at the University of Connecticut. PNB, formerly the Physiology section of the Department of Biological Sciences, was established as a department in 1986. Today, PNB is one of the twenty-five departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. We are a vibrant, collegial, interactive, and inclusive department, housed in the Pharmacy/Biology and Torrey Life Science Buildings on the UConn Storrs main campus.

PNB is the home to twenty-six faculty members with diverse cultural and educational background who are investigating fundamental physiology and neurobiology questions using a variety of approaches. Research areas include neurobiology, reproductive biology, development, RNA processing, and human disease models, as well as research on STEM education. We also oversee the Bioscience Electron Microscopy Laboratory, which provides service and training to users across the Storrs campus.'


'Welcome to the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology (PNB) website at the University of Connecticut. PNB, formerly the Physiology section of the Department of Biological Sciences, was established as a department in 1986. Today, PNB is one of the twenty-five departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. We are a vibrant, collegial, interactive, and inclusive department, housed in the Pharmacy/Biology and Torrey Life Science Buildings on the UConn Storrs main campus.'


Departmental Officers

Nishiyama, Akiko

Akiko Nishiyama

Department Head

Mulkey, Dan

Dan Mulkey

Associate Department Head

Walikonis, Randy

Randy Walikonis

Director of Graduate Studies

Chen, Xinnian

Xinnian Chen

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Boundless Research

Boundless Research

RSS Recent Publications

  • Myelin basic protein mRNA levels affect myelin sheath dimensions, architecture, plasticity, and density of resident glial cells July 18, 2024
    Myelin basic protein (Mbp) is essential for both elaboration and maintenance of CNS myelin, and its reduced accumulation results in hypomyelination. How different Mbp mRNA levels affect myelin dimensions across the lifespan and how resident glial cells may respond to such changes are unknown. Here, to investigate these questions, we used enhancer-edited mouse lines that […]
    Hooman Bagheri
  • KATNAL2 mutations link ciliary dysfunction to hydrocephalus and autism July 15, 2024
    No abstract
    Videep Soni
  • Proteome profiling of cutaneous leishmaniasis lesions due to dermotropic Leishmania donovani in Sri Lanka July 5, 2024
    CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, proteomic profiling of skin lesions carried out as a discovery phase study revealed a multitude of probable immunological and pathological mechanisms operating in patients with CL in Sri Lanka, which needs to be further elaborated using more in-depth and targeted investigations. Further research exploring the intricate interplay between ER stress and CL […]
    Nuwani H Manamperi
  • The Oct4-related PouV gene, pou5f3, mediates isthmus development in zebrafish by directly and dynamically regulating pax2a June 22, 2024
    Using a transgenic zebrafish line harboring a heat-inducible dominant-interference pou5f3 gene (en-pou5f3), we reported that this PouV gene is involved in isthmus development at the midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB), which patterns the midbrain and cerebellum. Importantly, the functions of pou5f3 reportedly differ before and after the end of gastrulation. In the present study, we examined in […]
    Masato Maekawa
  • Odorant receptor co-receptors affect expression of tuning receptors in <em>Drosophila</em> June 4, 2024
    Insects detect odorants using two large families of heteromeric receptors, the Odorant Receptors (ORs) and Ionotropic Receptors (IRs). Most OR and IR genes encode odorant-binding "tuning" subunits, whereas four (Orco, Ir8a, Ir25a, and Ir76b) encode co-receptor subunits required for receptor function. Olfactory neurons are thought to degenerate in the absence of Orco in ants and […]
    Teng Long
  • Unveiling the Genetic Blueprint of a Desert Scorpion: A Chromosome-level Genome of Hadrurus arizonensis Provides the First Reference for Parvorder Iurida May 3, 2024
    Over 400 million years old, scorpions represent an ancient group of arachnids and one of the first animals to adapt to life on land. Presently, the lack of available genomes within scorpions hinders research on their evolution. This study leverages ultralong nanopore sequencing and Pore-C to generate the first chromosome-level assembly and annotation for the […]
    Meridia Jane Bryant
  • miR-141/200c contributes to ethanol-mediated hepatic glycogen metabolism April 20, 2024
    CONCLUSIONS: miR-141/200c deficiency replenishes ethanol-mediated hepatic glycogen depletion through the regulation of GS activity and calcium signaling coupled with the AMPK pathway, improving glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. These results underscore miR-141/200c as a potential therapeutic target for the management of alcohol intoxication.
    Melanie Tran
  • Kir4.1 channels contribute to astrocyte CO<sub>2</sub>/H<sup>+</sup>-sensitivity and the drive to breathe March 29, 2024
    Astrocytes in the retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) stimulate breathing in response to CO(2)/H^(+), however, it is not clear how these cells detect changes in CO(2)/H^(+). Considering Kir4.1/5.1 channels are CO(2)/H^(+)-sensitive and important for several astrocyte-dependent processes, we consider Kir4.1/5.1 a leading candidate CO(2)/H^(+) sensor in RTN astrocytes. To address this, we show that RTN astrocytes express […]
    Colin M Cleary
  • Plural molecular and cellular mechanisms of pore domain <em>KCNQ2</em> encephalopathy January 23, 2024
    KCNQ2 variants in children with neurodevelopmental impairment are difficult to assess due to their heterogeneity and unclear pathogenic mechanisms. We describe a child with neonatal-onset epilepsy, developmental impairment of intermediate severity, and KCNQ2 G256W heterozygosity. Analyzing prior KCNQ2 channel cryoelectron microscopy models revealed G256 as a node of an arch-shaped non-covalent bond network linking S5, […]
    Timothy J Abreo
  • Track-by-Day: A standardized approach to estrous cycle monitoring in biobehavioral research January 12, 2024
    Despite known sex differences in brain function, female subjects are underrepresented in preclinical neuroscience research. This is driven in part by concerns about variability arising from estrous cycle-related hormone fluctuations, especially in fear- and anxiety-related research where there are conflicting reports as to whether and how the cycle influences behavior. The inconsistency may arise from […]
    Gianna M Raimondi
  • Update on vascular control of central chemoreceptors December 28, 2023
    At least four mechanisms have been proposed to elucidate how neurons in the retrotrapezoid (RTN) region sense changes in CO(2) /H^(+) to regulate breathing (i.e., function as respiratory chemosensors). These mechanisms include: (1) intrinsic neuronal sensitivity to H^(+) mediated by TASK-2 and GPR4; (2) paracrine activation of RTN neurons by CO(2) -responsive astrocytes (via a […]
    Thiago S Moreira
  • Heightened OAEs in young adult musicians: Influence of current noise exposure and training recency December 23, 2023
    Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are a non-invasive metric of cochlear function. Studies of OAEs in musicians have yielded mixed results, ranging from evidence of diminished OAEs in musicians-suggesting noise-induced hearing loss-to no difference when compared to non-musicians, or even a trend for stronger OAEs in musicians. The goal of this study was to use a large […]
    Morgan Main
  • Features, Fates, and Functions of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells December 5, 2023
    Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are a central nervous system resident population of glia with a distinct molecular identity and an ever-increasing list of functions. OPCs generate oligodendrocytes throughout development and across the life span in most regions of the brain and spinal cord. This process involves a complex coordination of molecular checkpoints and biophysical cues […]
    Robert A Hill
  • Finishing the egg November 24, 2023
    Gamete development is a fundamental process that is highly conserved from early eukaryotes to mammals. As germ cells develop, they must coordinate a dynamic series of cellular processes that support growth, cell specification, patterning, the loading of maternal factors (RNAs, proteins, and nutrients), differentiation of structures to enable fertilization and ensure embryonic survival, and other […]
    Celeste Berg
  • HMGB2 is a potential diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for liver fibrosis and cirrhosis November 6, 2023
    CONCLUSION: We conclude that HMGB2 is indispensable for stellate cell activation. Therefore, HMGB2 may serve as a potential therapeutic target to prevent HSC activation during chronic liver injury. The blood HMGB2 level may also serve as a potential diagnostic marker to detect early stage of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in humans.
    Yi Huang

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Physiology and Neurobiology seeks to provide a nurturing environment for all students. As a department, we are committed to cultivating an inclusive community for instruction, research, and outreach activities congruent with the mission of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University.

PNB News

Members of our department are making the latest advancements in science and education and obtaining competitive grants and awards. Check out our PNB News site where we highlight members of our community and the latest PNB news!

Undergraduate Program

Our goal is to prepare our students for diverse careers in research, medicine, biotechnology, government, and many other fields. Undergraduate students in PNB courses are trained to think critically about classic and emerging challenges in the field, as well as a diverse range of tools to take them on.

Graduate Program

Our department offers a Ph.D. program, and M.S. programs that are either thesis or coursework. Our graduate program focuses on the development of technical skills, critical thinking, and effective scientific communication. Our faculty are well funded and work closely with students to engage in cutting-edge research. In addition to these advanced degrees, our department offers a one-year M.S. program in Surgical Neurophysiology for students who are interested in intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM).

Featured Posts

  • Lounge & Learn: Student-Faculty Mixer Lounge & Learn: Student-Faculty Mixer
    On April 16, 2024 PNB hosted our first semi-annual Lounge & Learn: Student-Faculty Mixer. Undergraduates performing research in PNB labs presented their research to undergraduates and faculty from the PNB department. Students and faculty talked about research opportunities within PNB labs over pizza!