Stress Physiology Laboratory
Carlson 106 and 1B03
- To determine how physical activity status changes the
impact of stress on behavior, neural, endocrine, and immune
- Laboratory Director: Monika
- Assistant Research Professor: Ben Greenwood, Ph.D.
- Research Associate: Peter Clark, Ph.D.
- Professional Research Assistants: Wendy Schemmerling, B.A.
- Graduate Students: Lida Beninson, M.S., Stewart Cox, M.S., Jonathan Herrera, B.A., Aggie Mika, B.S., Madeline Paton, B.A., Katie Spence, M.S., Robert S. Thompson, M.S.
- Undergraduate Students: Courtney Bouchet, Roxie Christ, Samantha Engel, Parsa Ghasem, Erika Sisneros, Tyler Woodworth.
- Collaborators: Jose Amat, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder; Heidi Day, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder; David Diamond, Ph.D., Department
of Psychology, University
of Florida; Steven
Maier, Ph.D., Department
of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder; Mark Opp, Ph.D., University of Washington; Jerry
Rudy, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of
Colorado at Boulder; Linda
Watkins, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University
of Colorado at Boulder.
| Back row: Robert Thompson, Justin Hellwinkel, Johnathan Herrera, Monika Fleshner, Ben Greenwood, Peter Clark, Stewart Cox, Katie Spence.
Front Row: Kristin Speaker, Wendy Schemmerling, Tom Maslanik, Samantha Engel, Erika Sisneros, Parsa Ghasem, Aggie Mika, Madelin Paton.
Current Research Projects
Overview: Exposure to acute and chronic stressors (mental or physical) influences many aspects of physiology. This lab investigates the impact of exposure to stressors on neural, hormonal, and immunological function, and how these systems interact to influence the whole organism. The body's stress response is a powerful and wonderfully integrated series of responses that under normal conditions functions to facilitate fight/flight responses, restore homeostasis, and promote survival. If, however, the stressor is excessive or frequent, the response is inappropriate, or the organism suffers from other illnesses or vulnerabilities, the stress response can have negative health consequences. Current projects include:
- Stress and immunity: immune suppression/immune potentiation.
- Stress and immunity: impact of acute or chronic stressor exposure on sterile inflammatory processes. Potential impact on vascular function.
- Stress-buffering effects of exercise on central serotonin and autonomic neural circuits and behavior.
- Neurobiology of exercise: involvement of dopamine motivational circuits and changes in learning and memory processes.
- Stress and gut microbiota: investigation of the developmental impact of diet-induced changes on brain development; and how such changes could impact stress vulnerability and stress resistance.
Opportunities for Undergraduates
- Undergraduates play an important role in our research and gain valuable skills unobtainable through regular university courses alone.
- The requirements for undergraduate students who want a research experience in our Laboratory are:
- Have an understanding and acceptance of the use of animals in research.
- Successful completion of one course with bench top laboratory requirements.
- Enroll in independent study (IPHY 4860) for 8-10 hours/week for at least one semester.
- Demonstrate maturity, commitment, and dependability.
- Must submit "unofficial" transcript, resume, and reason for interest in order to be considered.
- Sophomore undergraduates entering into the Junior year preferred, but all students are encouraged to apply.
- For consideration, please email Dr. Monika Fleshner (firstname.lastname@example.org) with appropriate materials.
- Campisi J, Sharkey C, Johnson JD, West J, Cho S, Fleshner M. Stress-induced facilitation of host response to bacterial challenge in F344 rats is dependent on extracellular Heat Shock Protein 72 and independent of alpha beta T cells. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress 15: 637-646, 2012.
- Fleshner M. Stress-evoked sterile inflammation, danger associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and microbial associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) and the inflammasome. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 27: 1-7, 2013.
- Fleshner M, Thompson RS, Greenwood BN. Impact of Physical Activity on Diurnal Rhythms. In: Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health (1st ed). Ed Ekkekakis P, Hamer M. New York, NY: Routledge Handbooks. 316-328, 2013.
- Foley TE, Brooks LR, Elliott CA, Gilligan LA, Burghardt PR, Koch LG, Britton SL, Fleshner M. Brain activation patterns at exhaustion in rats that differ in inherent exercise capacity. PloS ONE 7: e45415, 2012.
- Greenwood BN, Fleshner M. Mechanisms Underlying the Relationship between Physical Activity and Anxiety. In: Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health (1st ed). Ed Ekkekakis P, Smits J. New York, NY: Routledge Handbooks. 130-142, 2013.
- Greenwood BN, Loughridge AB, Sadaoui NC, Christianson JP, Fleshner M. The protective effects of voluntary exercise against the behavioral consequences of uncontrollable stress persist despite an increase in anxiety following forced cessation of exercise. Behavioural Brain Research 233(2): 314-321, 2012.
- Greenwood BN, Spence KG, Crevling DM, Clark PJ, Craig WC, Fleshner M. Exercise-induced stress resistance is independent of exercise controllability and the medial prefrontal cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience 37(3): 469-78, 2013.
- Greenwood BN, Strong PV, Loughridge AB, Day HEW, Clark PJ, Mika A, Hellwinkel JE, Spence KG, Fleshner M. 5-hydroxytryptamine 2C receptors in the dorsal striatum and basolateral amygdala are a novel target for the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects of exercise. PLoS One 7(9): e46118, 2012.
- Loughridge AB, Greenwood BN, Day HEW, McQueen MB, Fleshner M. Microarray analyses reveal novel targets of exercise-induced stress resistance in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 7: 1-21, 2013.
- Maslanik TM, Bernstein-Hanley I, Helwig B, Fleshner M. The impact of stressor exposure on splenic innate immunity: A gene expression analysis. Brain, Behavior and Immunity 26: 142-149, 2012.
- Maslanik TM, Mahaffey L, Tannura K, Beninson L, Greenwood BN, Fleshner M. The inflammasome and danger associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are implicated in cytokine and chemokine responses following stressor exposure. Brain, Behavior and Immunity 28: 54-62, 2013.
- Maslanik TM, Tannura K, Mahaffey L, Loughridge AB, Beninson L, Ursell L, Greenwood BN, Knight R, Fleshner M. The commensal bacteria and MAMPs are necessary for acute stress-induced increases in IL1β and IL18 but not IL6, IL10, or MCP-1. PLoS ONE 7: e50636, 2012.
- Speaker KJ, Fleshner M. Interleukin-1beta: A potential link between stress and the development of visceral obesity. BMC Physiology 12(8): 1-15, 2012.
- Thompson RS, Christianson JP, Maslanik TM, Maier SR, Greenwood BN, Fleshner M. Effects of stressor controllability on diurnal physiological rhythms. Physiology and Behavior 112-113: 32-39, 2013.
- Thompson RS, Strong PV, Fleshner M. Physiological consequences of repeated exposure to conditioned fear. Behavioral Sciences 2: 57-78, 2012.