Microscopic image of neuronsDepartment of Integrative Physiology
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0354
phone: 303-492-8154
fax: 303-492-0811

Research Interests

Our main focus is the neural mechanisms underlying stress-related physiology and emotional behavior with a focus on the role of serotonergic systems. Current projects address four main topics:

  1. Mechanisms underlying control of acute and chronic anxiety states - with a focus on interactions among corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and CRF-related neuropeptides
  2. Effects of peripheral immune activation on serotonergic systems, physiology, and emotional behavior - with a focus on the microbiome-gut-brain (MGB) axis
  3. Effects of thermal signals on serotonergic systems, physiology, and emotional behavior
  4. Effects of glucocorticoid hormones on serotonergic systems, physiology, and behavior


  • Director: Christopher A. Lowry, PhD
  • Post-doctoral Fellow: Cristian Zambrano, PhD
  • Graduate Students: Kelsey Loupy; Flux Caruso; Christine Foxx; Saydie Sago; Kristin Cler
  • Professional Research Assistant: Ahmed Elsayed, BA
  • Undergraduate Students: Madi Baca, Lauren Milton, Andrea Arnold, Jessica Stewart, Amalia Luthens, Stephanie Salazar, Kyo Lee, Brandon Marquart, Evan Holbrook, Chang Liu, Evan Schaefer, Drake Kienzle, Kourtney Creaney, Brooke Elam

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From left to right, Back row: Kelsey Loupy, PhD; Kyo Lee; Evan Holbrook; Christopher Lowry, PhD (PI). 2nd row: Jessica Stewart; Brandon Marquart; Mathew Arnold, PhD; Ahmed Elsayed (Lab Manager); Drake Kienzle, BA. 3rd row: Madi Baca; Amalia Luthens; Stephanie Salazar; Sandra Appiah; Cristian Zambrano, PhD; Flux Caruso, PhD. Front row: Andrea Arnold; Christine Foxx, PhD; Saydie Sago, MS; Kourtney Creaney

Opportunities for Undergraduates

We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated undergraduate students who are interested in obtaining research experience. No prior laboratory research experience or coursework is required. For more information, contact Prof. Christopher Lowry (christopher.lowry@colorado.edu)

Recent Publications

For a complete list of publications, click here.

  • Wadhawan A, Reynolds MA, Makkar H, Scott AJ, Potocki E, Hoisington AJ, Brenner LA, Dagdag A, Lowry CA, Dwivedi Y, Postolache TT. Periodontal pathogens and neuropsychiatric health. Curr Top Med Chem, 2020 Jan 10. doi: 10.2174/156702666200110161105. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Arnold MR, Greenwood BN, McArthur JA, Clark PJ, Fleshner M, Lowry CA. Effects of repeated voluntary or forced exercise on brainstem serotonergic systems in rats. Behav Brain Res. 2020 Jan 27. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112237.

  • Donner NC, Davies SM, Fitz SD, Kienzle DM, Shekhar A, Lowry CA. Crh receptor priming in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) induces tph2 gene expression in the dorsomedial dorsal raphe nucleus and chronic anxiety. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry., 2020 Jan 10. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109730.

  • Amoroso M, Böttcher A, Lowry CA, Langgartner D, Reber SO. Subcutaneous Mycobacterium vaccae promotes resilience in a mouse model of chronic psychosocial stress when administered prior to or during psychosocial stress. Brain Behav Immun. 2019 Dec 27. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.12.018. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Prescott SL, Hancock T, Bland J, van den BOsch M, Jansson JK, Johnson CC, Kondo M, Katz D, Kort R, Kozyrskyj A, Logan AC, Lowry CA, Nanan R, Poland B, Robinson J, Schroeck N, Sinkkonen A, Springmann M, Wright RO, Wegienka G. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 5;16(21). doi: 10.3390/ijerph16214302.

  • Duffy AR, O'Connell JR, Pavlovich M, Ryan KA, Lowry CA, Daue M, Raheja UK, Brenner LA, Markon AO, Punzalan CM, Dagdag A, Hill DE, Pollin TI, Seyfang A, Groer MW, Mitchell BD, Postolache TT. Toxoplasma gondii Serointensity and Seropositivity: Heritability and Household-Related Associations in the Old Order Amish. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct. 3;16(19). pii: E3732. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193732.

  • Flux MC, Lowry CA. Finding intestinal fortitude: Integrating the microbiome into a holistic view of depression mechanisms, treatment, and resilience. Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Aug 24. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.104578 [Epub ahead of print]

  • Akram F, Jennings TB, Stiller JW, Lowry CA, Postolache TT. Mood Worsening on Days with High Pollen Counts is associated with a Summer Pattern of Seasonality. Pteridines, 2019 Aug 23;30(1);133-141. doi: 10.1515/pteridines-2019-0016.

  • Hassell JE Jr, Fox JH, Arnold MR, Siebler PH, Lieb MW, Schmidt D, Spratt EJ, Smith TM, Nguyen KT, Gates CA, Holmes KS, Schnabel KS, Loupy KM, Erber M, Lowry CA. Treatment with a heat-killed preparation of Mycobacterium vaccae after fear conditioning enhances fear extinction in the fear-potentiated startle paradigm. Brain Behav Immun., 2019 Jun 5. pii: S0889-1591(19)30238-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.06.008. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Lieb MW, Weidner M, Arnold MR, Loupy KM, Nguyen KT, Hassell JE Jr, Schnabel KS, Kern R, Day HEW, Lesch KP, Waider J, Lowry CA. Effects of maternal separation on serotonergic systems in the dorsal and median raphe nuclei of adult male Tph2-deficient mice. Behav Brain Res., 2019 Jul 15:112086. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112086. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Sprecher KE, Ritchie HK, Burke TM, Depner CM, Smits AN, Dorrestein PC, Fleshner M, Knight R, Lowry CA, Turek FW, Vitaterna MH, Wright KP Jr. Triat-like vulnerability of higher-order cognition and ability to maintain wakefulness during combined sleep restriction and circadian misalignment. Sleep, 2019 May 9. pii: zsz113. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz113. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Waider J, Popp S, Mlinar B, Montalbano A, Bonfiglio F, Aboagye B, Thuy E, Kern R, Thiel C, Araragi N, Svirin E, Schmitt-Böhrer AG, Corradetti R, Lowry CA, Lesch KP. Serotonin Deficiency Increases Context-Dependent Fear Learning Through Modulation of Hippocampal Activity. Front Neurosci., 2019 Apr 24;13:245. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00245. eCollection 2019.

  • Amoroso M, Kempter E, Eleslambouly T, Lowry CA, Langgartner D, Reber SO. Intranasal Mycobacterium vaccae prevents stress-induced aggravation of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) colitis. Brain Behav Immun., 2019 May 3. pii: S0889-1591(18)31164-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.05.005. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Smith DG, Martinelli R, Besra GS, Illarionov PA, Szatmari I, Brazda P, Allen MA, Xu W, Wang X, Nagy L, Dowell RD, Rook GAW, Rosa Brunet L, Lowry CA. Identification and characterization of a novel anti-inflammatory lipid isolated from Mycobacterium vaccae, a soil-derived bacterium with immunoregulatory and stress resilience properties. Psychopharmacology (Berl)., 2019 May;236(5):1653-1670. doi: 10.1007/s00213-019-05253-9. Epub 2019 May 22.

  • Sharma A, Richardson M, Cralle L, Stamper CE, Maestre JP, Stearns-Yoder KA, Postolache TT, Bates KL, Kinney KA, Brenner LA, Lowry CA, Gilbert JA, Hoisington AJ. Longitudinal homogenization of the microbiome between both occupants and the built environment in a cohort of United States Air Force Cadets. Microbiome, 2019 May 2;7(1):70. doi: 10.1186/s40168-019-0686-6.