marlene wilson

Marlene A. Wilson, Ph.D.        
Professor & Department Chair

Postdoctoral: Yale Univ
Ph.D: Univ Illinois –Champaign
BS: Muskingum College
Contact Information:
Phone: 803-216-3507
FAX: 803-216-3524
Web Page

Research Focus:

Our lab investigates the neurochemical underpinnings of anxiety-related and seizure disorders. A major focus is the role of neuropeptides and the amygdala in anxiety-related behaviors and the actions of anxiety-reducing modalities such as the Valium-like benzodiazepines, alcohol and exercise. Of particular interest is the role of the opioid morphine-like peptide enkephalin & neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the anxiety-reducing aspects of these drugs. The project utilizes a multidisciplinary approach highlighted by virus-mediated gene transfer technology in combination with behavioral analyses, neurochemical assays, anatomical analyses, and molecular assessments of expression changes. Many of our studies examine sex differences in responses to anticonvulsants and anxiolytics in various animal models.

Recent Publications

PubMed link

  • Butler, RK, White, LC, Frederick-Duus, K, Kaigler, KF, Fadel, JR and Wilson, MA, (2012) Comparison of the activation of somatostatin- and neuropeptide Y-containing neuronal populations of the rat amygdala following two different anxiogenic stressors, Experimental Neurology 238 (1): 52-63.  
  • Sharko, AC, Kaigler, KF, Fadel, JR and Wilson, MA (in press) Individual differences in voluntary ethanol consumption lead to differential activation of the central amygdala in rats: relationship to the stimulant and anxiolytic effects of low dose ethanol, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
  • Stanley, EM, Wilson, MA, and Fadel, JR. (2012) Hippocampal neurotransmitter efflux during one-trial novel object recognition in rats, Neuroscience Letters, 511: 38-42
  • Butler, RK, Oliver, EM, Brito-Vargas, P. Kaigler, KF, Fadel, JR,  Wilson, MA, (2011) Activation of phenotypically-distinct neuronal subpopulations of the rat amygdala following exposure to predator odor, Neuroscience, 175: 133-144.
  • Grillo, CA, Piroli, GG, Kaigler KF, Wilson SP, Wilson, MA, Reagan LP (2011) Downregulation of hypothalamic insulin receptor expression elicits depressive-like behaviors in rats,  Behavioral Brain Research  222: 230-235.
  • Wilson MA, Junor L (2008). The role of amygdala mu-opioid receptors in anxiety-related responses in two rat models. Neuropsychopharm 33: 2957-68.
  • Burghardt PR, Pasumarthi RK, Wilson MA, Fadel J (2006). Alterations in fear conditioning and amygdalar activation following chronic wheel running in rats. Pharm Biochem Behav 84: 306-312.
  • Burghardt PR, Wilson MA (2006). Microinjection of naltrexone into the central, but not the basolateral, amygdala blocks the anxiolytic effects of diazepam in the plus maze. Neuropsychopharm 31: 1227-1240.
  • Primeaux SD, Wilson SP, Bray GA, York DA, Wilson MA (2006). Overexpression of neuropeptide Y in the central nucleus of the amygdala decreases ethanol self-administration in "anxious" rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 30: 791-801
  • Wilson MA, Burghardt PR, Ford KA, Wilkinson MB, Primeaux SD (2004). Anxiolytic effects of diazepam and ethanol in two behavioral models: comparison of males and females. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 78: 445-458.