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


  • Director: Christopher A. Lowry, PhD
  • Post-doctoral Fellow: Lamya'a M. Dawud, PhD
  • Graduate Students: Tyler Akonom, Nathan Andersen, Luke Desmond, Andrew Kyo Lee, Lyanna Kessler, Saydie Sago, John Sterrett
  • Professional Research Assistants: Brandon Marquart, Lucas McCurdy, Evan Holbrook, Aislinn Concha
  • Undergraduate Research Assistants: Dennis Boateng, Sarina Borden, Matthew Alan Branney, Zachary Alan Chafee, Aidan Clifton, Rachel Effron, Addie Horton, Amalia Luthens, Jeffrey Matney, Lucie Nguyen, Sirisai Phanekham-Mouanghane, Isaiah Shurtleff, Joni Stuart, Rose Summers, Paola Ortiz Venzor, Nolan Watts, Caelan Wright, Richard Zabat, Haoting Zhang

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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.

  • Postolache TT, Akram F, Lee EE, Lowry CA, Stiller JW, Brenner LA, Streeten EA, Turecki G, Dwivedi Y. Increased brain vitamin D receptor expression and decreased expression of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide in individuals who died by suicide. J Psychiatr Res. PMID: 32213352

  • Postolache TT, Wadhawan A, Can A, Lowry CA, Woodbury M, Makkar H, Hoisington AJ, Scott AJ, Potocki E, Benros ME, Stiller JW. Inflammation in Traumatic Brain Injury. J Alzheimers Dis. PMID: 32176646 

  • Bernabe CS, Caliman IF, Truitt WA, Molosh AI, Lowry CA, Hay-Schmidt A, Shekhar A, Johnson PL. Using loss- and gain-of-function approaches to target amygdala-projecting serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus that enhance anxiety-related and conditioned fear behaviors. J Psychopharmacol. PMID: 32153226

  • Hagerty SL, Hutchison KE, Lowry CA, Bryan AD. An empirically derived method for measuring human gut microbiome alpha diversity: Demonstrated utility in predicting health-related outcomes among a human clinical sample. PLoS One. PMID: 32119675

  • Bowers SJ, Vargas F, González A, He S, Jiang P, Dorrestein PC, Knight R, Wright KP Jr, Lowry CA, Fleshner M, Vitaterna MH, Turek FW. Repeated sleep disruption in mice leads to persistent shifts in the fecal microbiome and metabolome. PloS One. PMID: 32078624

  • Akram F, Gragnoli C, Raheja UK, Snitker S, Lowry CA, Stearns-Yoder KA, Hoisington AJ, Brenner LA, Saunders E, Stiller JW, Ryan KA, Rohan KJ, Mitchell BD, Postolache TT. Seasonal affective disorder and seasonal changes in weight and sleep duration are inversely associated with plasma adiponectin levels. J Psychiatr Res. PMID: 31981963

  • 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. PMID: 31981963

  • 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. PMID: 31887415

  • 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. PMID: 31694316

  • 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. PMID: 31631951

  • 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. PMID: 31623376

  • 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. PMID: 31525404

  • Flux MC, Lowry CA. Finding intestinal fortitude: Integrating the microbiome into a holistic view of depression mechanisms, treatment, and resilience. Neurobiol Dis. PMID: 31454550

  • 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. PMID: 31415826

  • 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. PMID: 31319134