Bland Behavioral Neuroscience Lab
Department of Psychology
University of Colorado Denver

Sondra Bland, PhD, Lab Director

We use adolescent social isolation to model the effects of early life adversity on brain and behavior in the rat.  Rats are a social species, and play behavior during adolescence is critical for normal social development in social species including rats and humans.  Immunohistochemistry, behavioral assays, and in vivo microdialysis coupled with HPLC are used to assess the impact of adolescent social experience on neural activation, plasticity, and neurotransmitter release during both social and drug challenges in rat.

We have recently observed that in both male and female rats, adolescent social isolation alters the patterns of social and aggressive behavior and decreases mPFC activation, suggesting a role for the mPFC in regulating developmentally appropriate social behavior.  These findings may lead to improved treatments for social anxiety and other mood disorders.

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Current experiments explore the role of endocannabinoids in social and agressive behavior in isolates, alterations in specific plasticity-related proteins such as p-mTOR and PSD-95, and the effects of social cues on drug self-administration. 

Our work is funded by NIH R15MH102717.

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Our most recent paper:   goodell et al 2017.pdf

Publications:   Pubmed

Dr. Bland's CV (pdf)
Dr. Bland is also the director of the NIH funded BRAiN (Building Research Achievement in Neuroscience, NIH R25NS080685) program.

The goal of this NIH Blueprint ENDURE- funded program is to increase the numbers of underrepresented populations in Neuroscience  by mentoring and supporting promising diverse undergraduates who are interested in entering Neuroscience PhD  programs.