Dr Douglas A Caruana

Title: Lecturer in Neuroscience
Phone: +44 (0)1782 733675
Email: d.caruana@keele.ac.uk
Location: Huxley Building : 302b
Role:
Contacting me: Try my office or arrange an appointment by e-mail
douglas caruana

I obtained a B.Sc. in Psychology from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada after having worked in the laboratory of Dr. Gordon Winocur.  My Masters and Doctoral work with Dr. C. Andrew Chapman at Concordia University in Montreal focused on temporal and neuromodulatory factors that regulate changes in the strength of synapses in sensory inputs to the entorhinal cortex in awake animals and in single neurons in brain slices maintained in vitro.  Next, I moved to the United Kingdom to conduct postdoctoral work at the University of Bristol with Dr. Zafar Bashir, and used intracellular recordings in acute brain slices to investigate cholinergic regulation of synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex.  This led to a second postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) at the US National Institutes of Health in North Carolina with Dr. Serena Dudek.  The focus of my work at the NIEHS was on the role of adenosinergic signalling in hippocampal area CA2 in relation to caffeine-induced cognitive enhancement.  I continue to to shamelessly indulge in my own personal caffeine addiction and am constantly searching for the perfect cup of coffee.  Further evidence of my addiction-prone personality can be found in my love of fine gadgetry and in my inherent weakness for shiny technological gizmos.  When I’m not conducting an experiment or teaching a class, I enjoy running along the wooded trails on the Keele University campus or spraining one of my extremities flailing about the squash court.

plasticity logo Please visit my lab website at http://www.plasticitylab.com for more information

The ability to learn complex relationships between events and stimuli in the environment is a fundamental property of the mammalian brain.  Thanks to years of research, we now know that the structural and molecular changes that occur at synapses during learning are vital to this process.  Thus, understanding the highly elastic nature, or the ‘plasticity’, of synapses is critical to understanding how we learn and how we remember.  To this end, neuromodulatory transmitter systems (e.g., purinergic, cholinergic, and dopaminergic systems) play a critical role in shaping the physiological processes underlying the encoding and retention of new information within neural circuits.  The primary focus of my research is in determining how the hippocampus and parahippocampal cortices integrate signals from multiple sensory modalities during the encoding of new memories, as well as in determining how neuromodulatory transmitter systems regulate the synaptic mechanisms required to retain these memories over time.  My long-term goal is to understand how environmental factors (e.g., caffeine intake) influence the development of synaptic function critical to cognition and behaviour.  Such work requires combined multi-level approaches and analyses.  My laboratory at Keele applies a variety of techniques to the study of neuroplasticity, including in vitro brain slice electrophysiology, neuropharmacology, optogenetics, confocal imaging, behavioural assays, molecular probes, and mouse genetics.  These techniques are currently in use to investigate changes in synaptic plasticity and neuronal physiology in the hippocampus following manipulations to disrupt adenosinergic signalling during development.

plasticity logo Please visit my lab website at http://www.plasticitylab.com for more information

Selected Publications

  • Pagani JH, Zhao M, Cui Z, Avram SKW, Caruana DA, Dudek SM, Young WS. 2015. Role of the vasopressin 1b receptor in rodent aggressive behavior and synaptic plasticity in hippocampal area CA2. Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 20(4), 490-499. link> doi>
  • Glovaci I, Caruana DA, Chapman CA. 2014. Dopaminergic enhancement of excitatory synaptic transmission in layer II entorhinal neurons is dependent on D₁-like receptor-mediated signaling. Neuroscience, vol. 258, 74-83. link> doi> link>
  • Caruana DA, Alexander GM, Dudek SM. 2012. New insights into the regulation of synaptic plasticity from an unexpected place: Hippocampal area CA2. LEARNING & MEMORY, vol. 19(9), 391-400. link> doi>
  • Simons SB, Caruana DA, Zhao M, Dudek SM. 2011. Caffeine-induced synaptic potentiation in hippocampal CA2 neurons. Nat Neurosci, vol. 15(1), 23-25. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA, Warburton EC, Bashir ZI. 2011. Induction of activity-dependent LTD requires muscarinic receptor activation in medial prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci, vol. 31(50), 18464-18478. link> doi>

Full Publications List show

Journal Articles

  • Pagani JH, Zhao M, Cui Z, Avram SKW, Caruana DA, Dudek SM, Young WS. 2015. Role of the vasopressin 1b receptor in rodent aggressive behavior and synaptic plasticity in hippocampal area CA2. Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 20(4), 490-499. link> doi>
  • Glovaci I, Caruana DA, Chapman CA. 2014. Dopaminergic enhancement of excitatory synaptic transmission in layer II entorhinal neurons is dependent on D₁-like receptor-mediated signaling. Neuroscience, vol. 258, 74-83. link> doi> link>
  • Caruana DA, Alexander GM, Dudek SM. 2012. New insights into the regulation of synaptic plasticity from an unexpected place: Hippocampal area CA2. LEARNING & MEMORY, vol. 19(9), 391-400. link> doi>
  • Simons SB, Caruana DA, Zhao M, Dudek SM. 2011. Caffeine-induced synaptic potentiation in hippocampal CA2 neurons. Nat Neurosci, vol. 15(1), 23-25. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA, Warburton EC, Bashir ZI. 2011. Induction of activity-dependent LTD requires muscarinic receptor activation in medial prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci, vol. 31(50), 18464-18478. link> doi>
  • Garden DLF, Massey PV, Caruana DA, Johnson B, Warburton EC, Aggleton JP, Bashir ZI. 2009. Anterior thalamic lesions stop synaptic plasticity in retrosplenial cortex slices: expanding the pathology of diencephalic amnesia. Brain, vol. 132(Pt 7), 1847-1857. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA and Chapman CA. 2008. Dopaminergic suppression of synaptic transmission in the lateral entorhinal cortex. Neural Plast, vol. 2008, 203514. link> doi>
  • Kourrich S, Glasgow SD, Caruana DA, Chapman CA. 2008. Postsynaptic signals mediating induction of long-term synaptic depression in the entorhinal cortex. Neural Plast, vol. 2008, 840374. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA, Nesbitt C, Mumby DG, Chapman CA. 2008. Seizure activity in the rat hippocampus, perirhinal and prefrontal cortex associated with transient global cerebral ischemia. J Neural Transm (Vienna), vol. 115(3), 401-411. link> doi>
  • Rodaros D, Caruana DA, Amir S, Stewart J. 2007. Corticotropin-releasing factor projections from limbic forebrain and paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus to the region of the ventral tegmental area. Neuroscience, vol. 150(1), 8-13. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA, Reed SJ, Sliz DJ, Chapman CA. 2007. Inhibiting dopamine reuptake blocks the induction of long-term potentiation and depression in the lateral entorhinal cortex of awake rats. Neurosci Lett, vol. 426(1), 6-11. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA, Sorge RE, Stewart J, Chapman CA. 2006. Dopamine has bidirectional effects on synaptic responses to cortical inputs in layer II of the lateral entorhinal cortex. J Neurophysiol, vol. 96(6), 3006-3015. link> doi>
  • Winocur G, Moscovitch M, Caruana DA, Binns MA. 2005. Retrograde amnesia in rats with lesions to the hippocampus on a test of spatial memory. Neuropsychologia, vol. 43, 1580-1590.
  • Caruana DA and Chapman CA. 2004. Stimulation of the parasubiculum modulates entorhinal cortex responses to piriform cortex inputs in vivo. J Neurophysiol, vol. 92(2), 1226-1235. link> doi>
  • Caruana DA and Dudek SM. FORTHCOMING: Adenosine A1 receptor-mediated synaptic depression in the developing hippocampal area CA2. Neuropharmacology.

Undergraduate Modules:

  • LSC-10029:  Introduction to Neuroscience
  • LSC-20031:  Human and Animal Cognition
  • LSC-20061:  Neuropharmacology (Module Manager)
  • LSC-30001:  Behavioural Neurobiology (Module Manager)
  • LSC-30005:  Neurobiology of Vision and Hearing
  • LSC-30042:  Current Research Topics in Neuroscience

Undergraduate Research and Independent Study:

  • LSC-30021:  Final Year Project for Neuroscience
  • LSC-30022:  Non-Experimental Project
  • LSC-30023:  Dissertation
  • LSC-30040:  Double Neuroscience Research Project

Postgraduate Supervision:

  • LSC-40043:  MSc in Neuroscience Research Training

plasticity logo Please visit my lab website at http://www.plasticitylab.com for more information