Dr. Jacob Nordman is currently studying the impact of stress on the neurocircuitry of violent aggression. Early life stress is a reliable predictor of aggression in the adult. Changes in the strength of different brain circuits can alter aggression in humans and laboratory animals. The neural mechanisms underlying this change are only starting to be understood. To fill this gap in our understanding, we interrogate the neurocircuitry of stress-induced chronic aggression using a combination of animal behavior, viral tools, electrophysiology, chemo- and optogenetics, fiber photometry, and pharmacology. Our hope is by answering these questions, new and better therapies to treat excessive aggression can be developed.
Current Projects in the Lab:
Early life stress in chronic aggression - There is growing evidence that social isolation is a significant contributor to chronic aggressive behavior and can exacerbate aggression brought on by traumatic stress. However, the neural mechanisms that link social isolation and traumatic stress to chronic aggression are poorly understood. In this project, we study how social isolation and acute traumatic stress during adolescence induce plasticity changes to limbic circuits, leading to maladaptive chronic aggression in the adult.
Dorsal raphe pathways in aggression escalation - The dorsal raphe (DR) is a primary aggression node in the brain and an important modulator of attack behavior related to traumatic stress. The DR drives stage-specific attack behavior through specific neural pathways that are sensitive to stress. Imbalances within these DR pathways may underlie excessive aggression.
The role of glutamate in experience-dependent aggression - For this project, we examine the distinct role of glutamate receptors in shaping aggression circuitry underlying excessive aggression.
Education & training
PRAT Award, NIGMS at NIH