Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Rachel Amy Ross, M.D.,Ph.D.


Available: 01/07/19, Expires: 12/31/20

Understanding the signaling and circuitry involved in homeostatically driven food intake and its interplay with reward, stress, and attention related pathways is essential in developing appropriate treatments for the spectrum of eating disorders (from obesity to anorexia). We use mouse models, and also human samples, to study the underlying neural circuitry, hormone changes and behavior related to feeding and metabolism in the setting of stress in order to understand how these processes may lead to disease. For this project we are specifically investigating the role of diet-based motivation on cognitive behavior.

Students can choose from a variety of potential projects. Those interested in animal research will learn to model simple and complex animal behavior, and process tissues to understand the role individual neurons or neuromodulators play in that behavior. Specifically students will assay feeding behavior and cognitive flexibility, in the setting of different perturbations to neural circuitry and neural hormones known to be involved in metabolism and stress response using optogenetics, chemogenetics, and conditional knockout models. Students may also learn basic neuroscience techniques, including animal perfusion and brain slice mounting. Students who are interested in clinical research, or are less interested in hands on animal work, can participate in ongoing projects by performing literature reviews and data analysis relevant to ongoing projects, currently related to diet and stress effects on cognitive behavior.

The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
  1. K08DK118201 (ROSS, RACHEL A) Feb 28, 2019 - Dec 31, 2022
    Dissecting a novel prefrontal cortical pathway regulating feeding behavior
    Role: Principal Investigator

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Ross RA, Hoeppner SS, Hellberg SN, O'Day EB, Rosencrans PL, Ressler KJ, May V, Simon NM. Circulating PACAP peptide and PAC1R genotype as possible transdiagnostic biomarkers for anxiety disorders in women: a preliminary study. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020 Jun; 45(7):1125-1133. PMID: 31910434.
  2. Morris LA, Tishelman AC, Kremen J, Ross RA. Depression in Turner Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Arch Sex Behav. 2020 02; 49(2):769-786. PMID: 31598804.
  3. Verstegen AMJ, Klymko N, Zhu L, Mathai JC, Kobayashi R, Venner A, Ross RA, VanderHorst VG, Arrigoni E, Geerling JC, Zeidel ML. Non-Crh Glutamatergic Neurons in Barrington's Nucleus Control Micturition via Glutamatergic Afferents from the Midbrain and Hypothalamus. Curr Biol. 2019 09 09; 29(17):2775-2789.e7. PMID: 31422881.
  4. Bui E, Hellberg SN, Hoeppner SS, Rosencrans P, Young A, Ross RA, Hoge E, Simon NM. Circulating levels of oxytocin may be elevated in complicated grief: a pilot study. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2019; 10(1):1646603. PMID: 31489134.
  5. Maddox SA, Hartmann J, Ross RA, Ressler KJ. Deconstructing the Gestalt: Mechanisms of Fear, Threat, and Trauma Memory Encoding. Neuron. 2019 04 03; 102(1):60-74. PMID: 30946827.
  6. Ross RA, Leon S, Madara JC, Schafer D, Fergani C, Maguire CA, Verstegen AM, Brengle E, Kong D, Herbison AE, Kaiser UB, Lowell BB, Navarro VM. PACAP neurons in the ventral premammillary nucleus regulate reproductive function in the female mouse. Elife. 2018 06 15; 7. PMID: 29905528.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  7. Ross RA, Foster SL, Ionescu DF. The Role of Chronic Stress in Anxious Depression. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2017 Jan-Dec; 1:2470547016689472. PMID: 32440578.
  8. Ross RA, Kaiser UB. Reproductive endocrinology: The emotional cost of contraception. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2016 12 08; 13(1):7-9. PMID: 27929034.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  9. Ross RA, Mandelblat-Cerf Y, Verstegen AM. Interacting Neural Processes of Feeding, Hyperactivity, Stress, Reward, and the Utility of the Activity-Based Anorexia Model of Anorexia Nervosa. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2016 Nov/Dec; 24(6):416-436. PMID: 27824637.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Animals
  10. Ross RA, Rossetti L, Lam TK, Schwartz GJ. Differential effects of hypothalamic long-chain fatty acid infusions on suppression of hepatic glucose production. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct; 299(4):E633-9. PMID: 20647558.
    Citations: 16     Fields:    Translation:Animals
  11. Ross R, Wang PY, Chari M, Lam CK, Caspi L, Ono H, Muse ED, Li X, Gutierrez-Juarez R, Light PE, Schwartz GJ, Rossetti L, Lam TK. Hypothalamic protein kinase C regulates glucose production. Diabetes. 2008 Aug; 57(8):2061-5. PMID: 18511848.
    Citations: 16     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.