Headshot photo of Jacob Raber, Ph.D.

Jacob Raber, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
  • Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Cancer Biology Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


Our research focuses on effects of genetic factors, such as apoE, and environmental factors, including irradiation, immunotherapy, a high-fat diet, environmental toxins, and other stressors, on brain structure and function in experimental mouse models of human neurological diseases. Based on what we learn in the mouse models, we try to develop tests and treatment strategies to improve brain function in humans suffering from these diseases. Routinely, we use a combination of behavioral, neuroendocrinological, pharmacological, neurochemical, immunohistochemical, cellular, and molecular approaches. Recently, as part of collaborative efforts, we started to include unibiased omics approaches to determine whether the behavioral and cognitive alterations are associated with specific pathway alterations.   We developed humanized versions of the mouse object recognition and spatial navigation tests and assess whether they are sensitive to detect effects of sex and apoE4 on cognition in health and disease. These tests might be valuable in identifying biomarkers of cognitive function and susceptibility to cognitive impairments. 


Selected publications

  •  Weiss, J., Weber, S., Torres, E.S.R., Marzulla, T., Raber, J. (2017) Genetic inhibition of Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase rescues cognitive impairments in Neurofibromatosis 1 mutant mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 321, 148-156.
  • Impey, S., Jopson, T., Pelz, C., Tafessu, A., Fareh, F., Zuloaga, D., Marzulla, T., Riparip, L.-K., Stewart, B., Rosi, S., Turker, M.S., Raber, J. (2016) Short- and long-term effects of 56Fe irradiation on cognition and hippocampal DNA methylation and gene expression. BMC Genomics, 17, 825.
  • Akinyeke, T., Weber, S.J., Davenport, A.T., Baker, E.J., Daunais, J.B., Raber, J. (2016) Effects of alcohol on c-Myc protein in the brain. Behavioural Brain Research, 320, 356-364.
  • Impey, S., Jopson, T, Pelz, C., Tafessu, A, Fareh, F., Zuloaga, D., Marzulla, T., Riparip, L., Stewart, B., Rosi, S, Turker, M.S., Raber, J. (2017) Bi-directional and shared epigenomic signatures following proton and 56Fe irradiation. Scientific Reports, 7, 10277.
  • Villasana, L.E., Akinyeke, T., Weber, S., Raber, J. (2017) Paradoxical effects of 137Cs irradiation on pharmacological stimulation of reactive oxygen species in hippocampal slices from apoE2 and apoE4 mice. Oncotarget, in press 
  • Weiss, J.B., Weber, S., Marzulla, T., Raber, J. (2017) Pharmacological inhibition of Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase rescues cognitive impairments in Neurofibromatosis 1 mutant mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 332:337-342.
  • Johnson, L.A., Torres, E.R.S., Impey, S., Stevens, J.F., Raber, J. (2017) Apolipoprotein E4 and insulin resistance interact to impair cognition and alter the epigenome and metabolome. Scientific Reports, 7, 43701.
  • McGinnis, G.J., Friedman, D., Young, K.H., Torres, E.R., Thomas Jr., C.R., Gough, M.J., Raber, J. (2016) Neuroinflammatory and cognitive consequences of combined radiation and immunotherapy in a novel preclinical model. Oncotarget, 8, 9155-9173.
  • Villasana, L.E., Weber, S., Akineyeke, T., Raber, J. (2016) Genotype differences in anxiety and fear learning and memory of WT and ApoE4 mice associated with enhanced generation of hippocampal reactive oxygen species. Journal of Neurochemistry, 138, 896-908.
  •  Impey S, Pelz C, Tafessu A, Marzulla T, Turker MS, Raber J (2016) Proton irradiation induces persistent and tissue-specific DNA methylation changes in the left ventricle and hippocampus. BMC Genomics 17, 273.


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