Paul Gasser received his Ph.D. in Biology from Arizona State University in 2005. He was then awarded a National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship to conduct his postdoctoral studies in the United Kingdom, at the University of Bristol’s Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology. In 2007, Dr. Gasser joined the faculty at Marquette University in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Currently, his research is directed at understanding the mechanisms by which stress hormones act within the brain to alter neuronal function, leading to stress-induced alterations in sensory processing, motivation, learning and memory. The goal of his research program is to understand how the stress response functions to facilitate recovery from stressful situations, and how dysregulation of the stress response may lead to increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse, and schizophrenia. In addition to his research activities, Dr. Gasser teaches courses in biochemistry and neuroscience to undergraduate and graduate students.
Stress leads, in all vertebrates, to the release of corticosteroid hormones from the adrenal glands. These hormones exert powerful neuromodulatory effects that lead to context- and state-dependent alterations in ongoing behavioral and physiological processes. The primary goals of my research are to identify mechanisms by which corticosteroids alter cognitive function, motivation, sensory processing, and neuroendocrine responses, leading to adaptive responses to acute stress; and to understand how these mechanisms may be involved in the pathophysiology of stress-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and drug abuse. The hope is that this research will increase our understanding of the pathophysiology of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders, and that it will lead to the development of novel, effective treatments for these disorders.