Thomas Preuss

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HomeFacultyThomas Preuss

Dr. Preuss’s research aims to uncover how social stress influences sensorimotor integration in the CNS. For that he studies the sensorimotor gating phenomenon pre-pulse inhibition (PPI), which regulates sensory flow during early stages of information processing. Deficits in PPI are implicated in several information processing disorders, including schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. Indeed, the magnitude of PPI is remarkably sensitive to factors affecting physiological state, such as psychosocial stress. However, the neural mechanisms that underlie such state-dependent modulation of PPI are largely unknown. Dr. Preuss studies PPI in the startle circuit of African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni, a species where social stressors are a product of naturalistic interactions among conspecifics, which can be readily observed, quantified, and manipulated in the lab. Moreover, the startle circuit itself is remarkable in that individual neurons and their connections are identifiable which allows insights from multiple levels of biological organization: behavior, in vivo electrophysiology, pharmacology, and single cell molecular biology.

Representative Publications

  • Curtin P, Medan V, Neumeister H., Bronson D, and Preuss T (2013)The 5-HT5A receptor regulates excitability in the auditory startlecircuit: functional implications for sensorimotor gating. JNeuroscience 33:10011-20.
  • Medan V and Preuss T. (2011) Dopaminergic induced changes inMauthner-cell excitability disrupts prepulse inhibition in the startlecircuit of goldfish. J Neurophysiol 106:3195-204.
  • Whitaker KW, Neumeister H, Huffman LS, Kidd CE, Preuss T* andHofmann HA* [*shared last authorship] (2011) Serotonergic modulation ofstartle-escape plasticity in an African cichlid fish: a single-cellmolecular and physiological analysis of a vital neural circuit. JNeurophysiol 106:127-37.
  • Neumeister H, Whitaker KW, Hofmann HA* and Preuss T* [*shared lastauthorship] (2010) Social and ecological regulation of adecision-making circuit J Neurophysiol 104:3180-8.