The principal research theme in the Raber lab is devoted to the characterization of the detrimental effects of genetic and environmental factors on the function of the hippocampus and amygdala and to develop treatments to antagonize these effects. The lab focuses on the role of the hippocampus in learning and memory and the role of the amygdala in learning and memory and the regulation of anxiety. For the genetic factor, we particularly study the isoform-dependent effects of apoE. The three major human apoE isoforms (apoE2, apoE3, and apoE4) differ in their risk to develop cognitive impairments with age and following environmental challenges. As environmental factors, we focus on cognitive impairments due to exposure of the adult brain to radiation or the developing and adult brain to traumatic brain injury or methamphetamine. We are particularly interested in how these genetic and environmental factors might predispose the brain to cognitive impairments later in life.
We are developing a spatial maze requiring navigation in nonhuman primates. Elderly female monkeys perform this test well and their performance is related to their circadian activity. This test allows assessments of spatial search strategies like the rodent Barnes maze that was used as a template for this test. Performance on this test in aged female monkeys is associated with muscarinic M1 receptor binding in the hippocampus and scopolamine-induced pharmacological MRI in the same animals. Based on what we learn in the animal models, tests and treatment strategies are developed to improve brain function in humans suffering from these conditions. For example, we developed an object recognition test and virtual reality (VR) spatial navigation test to assess spatial learning and memory, enabling the use of paradigms similar to those used in our animal studies. These tests provide us with objective performance measures and bridge the gap between spatial and nonspatial learning and memory in humans with cognitive disordered and animal models of these conditions.
Jacob Raber, Ph.D., received his B.Sc. in Chemistry and his M.Sc. in Pharmacochemisty from the Free University of Amsterdam, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Virology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He received training under the guidance of Floyd Bloom at the Scripps Research Institute and Lennart Mucke at the Gladstone Institutes/UCSF. He is currently a professor in the departments of Behavioral Neuroscience and Neurology, and an affiliate scientist in the division of Neuroscience, ONPRC, at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). He was a McBean Fellow in 2001 and an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging from 2002-2006. His research focuses on the characterization of the detrimental effects of genetic and environmental factors on the function of the hippocampus and amygdala and to develop treatments to antagonize these effects. He focuses on the role of the hippocampus in learning and memory and the role of the amygdala in learning and memory and the regulation of anxiety.
Haley GE, Eghlidi D, Kohama S, Urbanski H, Raber J. (2012) Association of microtubule associated protein-2, synaptophysin, and apolipoprotein E mRNA and protein levels with cognition and anxiety levels in aged female Rhesus macaques. Behavioral Brain Research. 232(1):1-6. PMID: 22475553. PMCID: PMC3361595.
Haley GE, McGuire A, Berteau-Pavy S, Weiss A, Patel R, Messaoudi I, Urbanski HF, Raber J. (2011) Measure of Anxiety, Amygdala Volumes, and Hippocampal Scopolamine phMRI Response in Elderly Female Rhesus Macaques. Neuropharmacology (special issue on anxiety and depression). 62(1):385-90. PMID: 21867720. PMCID: PMC3195963.
Haley GE, Urbanski HF, Kohama SG, Messaoudi I, Raber J. (2011) Spatial Memory Performance Associated with Measures of Immune Function in Elderly Female Rhesus Macaques. European Geriatric Medicine. 2(2):117-121. PMID: 21603071. PMCID: PMC3097089.
Haley GE, Kroenke C, Schwartz D, Kohama SG, Urbanski HF, Raber J. (2010) Hippocampal M1 Receptor Function Associated with Spatial Learning and Memory in Aged Female Rhesus Macaques. AGE. 33(3):309-320. PMID: 20890730. PMCID: PMC3168603.
See a full listing of Dr. Raber publications.