Theresa Jones

Theresa Jones


Phone: 232-1814 Lab Phone: 475-7763
Office: SEA 5.248 Lab: ARC 3.120

See also Behavioral Neuroscience





My laboratory studies plasticity of neural structure and synaptic connectivity in adult animals following brain damage and during skill learning. Damage to the adult brain triggers a regenerative counter-reaction that remodels the connectivity of surviving neurons. Our research in rodent stroke models indicates that this neural remodeling response is exquisitively sensitive to behavioral changes, including compensatory behaviors that animals develop spontaneously and those induced by motor rehabilitative training. This work supports that the functional benefit of regenerative responses depends on them being driven into functionally beneficial directions by appropriate behavioral pressures. Left on their own, regenerative responses can be suboptimal and even detrimental to functional outcome. That is, the “use it or lose it” idea appears to be especially applicable to the growth and maintenance of new synapses after brain injury. Additional research focuses on motor skill learning-induced plasticity of motor cortex and cerebellum and on the intercoordination of glial, vascular and neuronal plasticity. In addition to probing mechanisms of neural remodeling after brain damage, a goal is to better understand how to optimize behavior as “therapy” to improve functional outcomes.