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Ellen Rodberg


School or College: 

College of Natural Sciences


Dr. Elena Vazey


Ellen Rodberg is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience and Behavior program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elena Vazey, her research is focused on exploring the role of the locus coeruleus and norepinephrine during reinforcement behavior. Her dissertation research will identify how locus coeruleus neural activity, ensembles, and sub-circuits contribute to appropriate cue-driven behavior.

Research Proposal Title: 

Locus Coeruleus Circuits Underlying Reinforcement Behavior


Exhibiting appropriate behavioral responses to environmental cues is critical both to obtain resources (e.g., food, shelter etc.) and avoid negative outcomes. Both locus coeruleus neural activity and brain-wide levels of norepinephrine, a majority of which originates from locus coeruleus, have been shown to be crucial for triggering an appropriate behavioral response to a stimulus. Ellen’s research will characterize locus coeruleus neural activity, ensembles, and projection patterns underlying cue-driven behavior during positive and negative reinforcement behavior. Her research will further our understanding of the neural underpinnings of appropriate cue-driven behavior, highlight circuits that may contribute to maladaptive behavior, and inform circuit-based treatment targets.

GSGW Academic Year: