Neuroscientists in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) are integrating both cutting-edge, basic research and clinically-relevant, translational research. Such research includes the mechanisms by which environmental factors interact with the genetic background to induce pathology and dysfunction in neurological diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. Specific research areas range from whole animal behavior to the cellular, epigenetic, and genetic levels. Neuroscience faculty members within the department are also part of the Texas A&M University Institute of Neuroscience .
The three main focus areas are:
- Basic neuroscience – intracellular signaling network at both post-transcriptional and post-translational levels, ion channel properties and function, synaptic plasticity, neuroimmunology, glial biology, myelination and interactions between neurons and glia.
- Neurological disorders – Neurodegenerative diseases, neuro-oncological diseases, neural developmental disorders, neurotrauma. Specific diseases include Autism, cerebral palsy, hereditary neuronal system degeneration, neurofibromatosis, Alzheimer’s disease, meningoencephalomyelitis, multiple sclerosis, and macular degeneration. Infectious diseases of the nervous system induced by retroviruses and picornaviruses, and the role of psychological stress in susceptibility to diseases of the nervous system are also under investigation.
- Neurotoxicology – The impact of environmental toxins on neural development, neuroepigenetics, and the onset of puberty. The toxicants under current investigation include: alcohol, lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese, and organophosphorous compounds.