Elena Vazey

Associate Professor

Photograph of First Last
368A Morrill IV South

B.S., University of Auckland, 2004 Ph.D., University of Auckland, 2009


Medical University of South Carolina, 2009 - 2015

Research Interests: 

Neuromodulation and Neurodegeneration

It is clear that brain functions are not determined by individual neurons but by many coherent networks interacting. Our lab focuses on understanding the balancing act between cells and circuits that integrate cognitive and motor control of behavioral functions. To do this we use a range of electrophysiological, genetic, anatomical and behavioral techniques in rodent models. We are particularly interested in how modulatory clusters, such as locus coeruleus norepinephrine neurons, alter activity in distal target networks and modify behavioral output. We are also interested in how the loss of specific neural populations in neurodegenerative disorders impacts broader neural networks and motor function. Our overarching goals are to characterize the neural and physiological mechanisms underlying cognitive and motor behavior and apply this information in identifying treatments for circuit dysfunction in disease.

Representative Publications: 

Fortress, A.M., Hamlett, E.D., Vazey, E.M., Aston-Jones, G., Cass, W.A., Boger, H.A., Granholm, A.C. Designer receptors enhance memory in a mouse model of down syndrome. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015 Jan, 28; 35(4): 1343-53.

Vazey, E.M., Aston-Jones, G. Designer receptors: therapeutic adjuncts to cell replacement therapy in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2014, Jul; 124(7): 2858-60.

Mahler, S.V., Vazey, E.M., Beckley, J.T., Keistler, C.R., McGlinchey, E.M., Kaufling, J., Wilson, S.P., Deisseroth, K., Woodward, J.J., Aston-Jones, G. Designer receptors show role for ventral pallidum input to ventral tegmental area in cocaine seeking. Nature Neuroscience, 2014, Apr; 17(4): 577-85.

Vazey, E.M., Aston-Jones, G. Designer receptor manipulations reveal a role of the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system in isoflurane general anesthesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A, 2014, Mar 11; 111(10): 3859-64.

Vazey, E.M., Aston-Jones, G. New tricks for old dogmas: optogenetic and designer receptor insights for Parkinson's disease. Brain Research, 2013, May 20; 1511: 153-63.

Maucksch, C., Vazey, E.M., Gordon, R.J., Connor, B. Stem cell-based therapy for Huntington's disease. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 2013, Apr; 114(4): 754-63.

Vazey, E.M., Aston-Jones, G. The emerging role of norepinephrine in cognitive dysfunctions of Parkinson's disease. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2012, Jul 25; 6: 48.

Reissner, K.J., Sartor, G.C., Vazey, E.M., Dunn, T.E., Aston-Jones, G., Kalivas, P.W. Use of vivo-morpholinos for control of protein expression in the adult rat brain. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2012 Jan 30; 203(2): 354-60.

Vazey, E.M., Connor, B. Differential fate and functional outcome of lithium chloride primed adult neural progenitor cell transplants in a rat model of Huntington disease. Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 2010, Dec 22; 1(5): 41.

Vazey, E.M., Dottori, M., Jamshid,i P., Tomas, D., Pera, M.F., Horne, M., Connor, B. Comparison of transplant efficiency between spontaneously derived and noggin-primed human embryonic stem cell neural precursors in the quinolinic acid rat model of Huntington's disease. Cell Transplantation, 2010; 19(8): 1055-62.

Vazey, E.M., Connor, B. In vitro priming to direct neuronal fate in adult neural progenitor cells. Experimental Neurology, 2009, Apr; 216(2): 520-4.

Gordon, R.J., Tattersfield, A.S., Vazey, E.M., Kells, A.P., McGregor, A.L., Hughes, S.M., Connor, B. Temporal profile of subventricular zone progenitor cell migration following quinolinic acid-induced striatal cell loss. Neuroscience, 2007, Jun 8; 146(4): 1704-18.

Vazey, E.M., Chen, K., Hughes, S.M., Connor, B. Transplanted adult neural progenitor cells survive, differentiate and reduce motor function impairment in a rodent model of Huntington's disease. Experimental Neurology, 2006, Jun; 199(2): 384-96.