Alexei Morozov, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Areas

  • Neuroengineering

Research Interests

The Morozov Lab is interested in behaviors elicited by social cues and focuses on adaptations to the cues from distressed conspecifics in mice. The purpose these our animal models is to understand neuronal mechanisms of such phenomena as social distress, psychological trauma, and empathy by identifying and artificially manipulating the underlying neuronal circuits.

To this end, the lab studies the effect of social signals on synaptic properties and also develop methods, based on optogenetic and chemogenetic techniques, to artificially facilitate or attenuate neuronal transmission in specific synapses. Currently areas of focus include communication between the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex; a mouse homolog of the anterior cingulate cortex, the primary hub of empathy in humans; and amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.

Education

  • Columbia University Center for Neurobiology and Behavior: Postdoctoral Fellow, 1996-2002 
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago: Ph.D., Biochemistry, 1996 
  • The Lomonosov Moscow State University: M.S., Biochemistry, 1987

Awards, Honors, and Service

  • Graduate College Fellowship, The University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993-1996 
  • Award from Dorothea H. Fleming Student Research Fund, 1993-1996 
  • Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Student Research Presentation at the Eleventh Annual Molecular Biology Retreat of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1994

Recent Publications

Overexpression of channelrhodopsin-2 interferes with the GABAb receptor-mediated depression of GABA release from the somatostatin-containing interneurons of the prefrontal cortex. Lei Liu, Wataru Ito, and Alexei Morozov. Neurophotonics, 2018, in press.

GABAb Receptor Mediates Opposing Adaptations of GABA Release From Two Types of Prefrontal Interneurons After Observational Fear. Liu L, Ito W, Morozov A. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 May;42(6):1272- 2017.

W. Ito, A. Erisir, A. Morozov. Observation of distressed conspecific as a model of emotional trauma generates silent synapses in the prefrontal-amygdala pathway and enhances fear learning, but ketamine abolishes those effects. Neuropsychopharmacology 2015 Oct;40(11):2536-45. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.100. PMID: 25865929

Ying Huang, Kristopher Yoon, Ho Ko, Song Jiao, Wataru Ito, Jian-Young Wu, Wing-Ho Yung, Bai Lu and Alexei Morozov. 5-HT3a Receptors Modulate Hippocampal Gamma Oscillations by Regulating Synchrony of Parvalbumin-Positive Interneurons Cereb Cortex. 2016 Feb;26(2):576-85. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu209. Epub 2014 Sep 21. PubMed PMID: 25246509.

Ito W, Chehab M, Thakur S, Li J, Morozov A. BDNF-restricted knockout mice as an animal model for aggression. Genes Brain Behav. 2011 Apr;10(3):365-74

Alexei Morozov is an Assistant Professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia. (David Hungate for VTCRI)

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  • (540) 526-2021
  • alexeim@vtc.vt.edu
  • Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
    2 Riverside Circle
    Office # 2122
    Roanoke, VA 24016