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Zachary Cordner

Class 2011
Education BS, The Ohio State University

Dr. Kellie Tamashiro

Current Position Medical Resident

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Research Interests

Exposure to stressful life events and hyperactivity of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis have long been established as risk factors for the development of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Although the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood, chronic stress has been consistently associated with changes in brain morphology including neuronal loss, decreased neurogenesis, and altered connectivity. Further, it is now known that exposure to stress has a profound impact on gene expression in the brain and recent studies focused on psychiatric disorders have indicated that epigenetic modifications may play a substantial role. Finally, though stress exposure appears to have detrimental effects at all points across the lifespan, old age and adolescence have been identified as particularly sensitive times during which the brain in general and the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and amygdala in particular appear to be at risk.

In the lab, I use behavioral, cellular, and molecular approaches to understand how stress affects cognition, neuronal morphology, and epigenetic gene regulation at different points across the lifespan.