Elizabeth McCone Byrnes

Elizabeth McCone Byrnes
Associate Professor,Head of the Section of Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology
Neuroscience
Section of Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology

Campus Phone:
508-839-7970

Fax:
508-839-7091

Education

  • BA - University of Massachusetts at Boston - 1991
  • PhD - The Ohio State University - 1995

Sex-and age-specific differences in relaxin family peptide receptor expression within the hippocampus and amygdala in rats

Author(s):Meadows, K.L. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2015
Journal / Book title: Neuroscience

Housing environment modulates physiological and behavioral responses to anxiogenic stimuli in trait anxiety male rats

Author(s):Ravenelle, R. | Santolucito, H.B. | Byrnes, E.M. | Byrnes, J.J. | Donaldson, S.T.
Publication year: 2014
Journal / Book title: Neuroscience

The impact of exposure to addictive drugs on future generations: Physiological and behavioral effects

Author(s):Vassoler, F.M. | Byrnes, E.M. | Pierce, R.C.
Publication year: 2014
Journal / Book title: Neuropharmacology

Next generation effects of female adolescent morphine exposure: Sex-specific alterations in response to acute morphine emerge before puberty

Author(s):Vassoler, F.M. | Johnson-Collins, N.L. | Carini, L.M. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2014
Journal / Book title: Behavioural Pharmacology

Reproductive Experience Alters Neural and Behavioural Responses to Acute Oestrogen Receptor α Activation

Author(s):Byrnes, E.M. | Casey, K. | Carini, L.M. | Bridges, R.S.
Publication year: 2013
Journal / Book title: Journal of Neuroendocrinology

Female adolescent exposure to cannabinoids causes transgenerational effects on morphine sensitization in female offspring in the absence of in utero exposure

Author(s):Vassoler, F.M. | Johnson, N.L. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2013
Journal / Book title: Journal of Psychopharmacology

Environmental enrichment effects on the neurobehavioral profile of selective outbred trait anxiety rats

Author(s):Ravenelle, R. | Byrnes, E.M. | Byrnes, J.J. | McInnis, C. | Park, J.H. | Donaldson, S.T.
Publication year: 2013
Journal / Book title: Behavioural Brain Research

Multigenerational effects of adolescent morphine exposure on dopamine D2 receptor function

Author(s):Byrnes, J.J. | Johnson, N.L. | Carini, L.M. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2013
Journal / Book title: Psychopharmacology

Cannabinoid exposure in adolescent female rats induces transgenerational effects on morphine conditioned place preference in male offspring

Author(s):Byrnes, J.J. | Johnson, N.L. | Schenk, M.E. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2012
Journal / Book title: Journal of Psychopharmacology

Reproductive experience modifies the effects of estrogen receptor alpha activity on anxiety-like behavior and corticotropin releasing hormone mRNA expression

Author(s):Byrnes, E.M. | Casey, K. | Bridges, R.S.
Publication year: 2012
Journal / Book title: Hormones and Behavior

Adolescent opiate exposure in the female rat induces subtle alterations in maternal care and transgenerational effects on play behavior

Author(s):Johnson, N.L. | Carini, L. | Schenk, M.E. | Stewart, M. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2011
Journal / Book title: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Accelerated maternal responding following intra-VTA pertussis toxin treatment

Author(s):Byrnes, J.J. | Gleason, E.D. | Schoen, M.T. | Lovelock, D.F. | Carini, L.M. | Byrnes, E.M. | Bridges, R.S.
Publication year: 2011
Journal / Book title: Behavioural Brain Research

Amphetamine sensitization in reproductively experienced female rats

Author(s):Byrnes, J.J. | Bridges, R.S. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2011
Journal / Book title: Neuroscience Letters

Reproductive experience alters prolactin receptor expression in mammary and hepatic tissues in female rats

Author(s):Bridges, R.S. | Scanlan, V.F. | Lee, J.-O. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2011
Journal / Book title: Biology of Reproduction

Adolescent opioid exposure in female rats: Transgenerational effects on morphine analgesia and anxiety-like behavior in adult offspring

Author(s):Byrnes, J.J. | Babb, J.A. | Scanlan, V.F. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2011
Journal / Book title: Behavioural Brain Research

Vasopressin mediates enhanced offspring protection in multiparous rats

Author(s):Nephew, B.C. | Byrnes, E.M. | Bridges, R.S.
Publication year: 2010
Journal / Book title: Neuropharmacology

Enhanced Maternal Aggression and Associated Changes in Neuropeptide Gene Expression in Multiparous Rats

Author(s):Nephew, B.C. | Bridges, R.S. | Lovelock, D.F. | Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2009
Journal / Book title: Behavioral Neuroscience

Differential expression of oestrogen receptor α following reproductive experience in young and middle-aged female rats

Author(s):Byrnes, E.M. | Babb, J.A. | Bridges, R.S.
Publication year: 2009
Journal / Book title: Journal of Neuroendocrinology

Neuroendocrine and Behavioral Adaptations Following Reproductive Experience in the Female Rat

Author(s):Byrnes, E.M. | Nephew, B.C. | Bridges, R.S.
Publication year: 2008
Journal / Book title: Neurobiology of the Parental Brain

Chronic morphine exposure during puberty induces long-lasting changes in opioid-related mRNA expression in the mediobasal hypothalamus

Author(s):Byrnes, E.M.
Publication year: 2008
Journal / Book title: Brain Research

General Research Interests

The overarching theme of my current research is identifying mechanisms by which various experiences lead to long-term changes in neural and endocrine systems. Moreover, we are interested in how sex influences the impact of particular experiences on both brain and behavior. Currently we have three main areas of focus. The first involves studies examining the transgenerational consequences of adolescent drug exposure (opiates and cannabinoids) in female rats with an emphasis on multigenerational patterns of substance abuse. The second involves studies examining the effects of both sex and experience on the neural regulation of the stress axis, particularly as it relates to modifications in anxiety and depressive-like behaviors. The third involves studies examining the effects of prenatal substance use (opiates and cocaine) on both the female and her offspring.

Selected Research Projects

  • Epigenetic Effects of Adolescent Opiate or Cannabinoid Exposure

The nonmedical use of powerful prescription pain killers, such as Oxycontin, is of growing concern, especially in adolescent populations. This project uses an animal model to examine the effects of opiate exposure during adolescent development on both the female and her future offspring. Recent studies have focused on modifications in hypothalamic circuits that impact both addiction and metabolism. Similar studies regarding the long-term effects of cannabinoids are also ongoing with an emphasis on sex-specific alterations in executive function.

  • Effects of sex, age, and experience on anxiety and stress-related behaviors

Sex, age, and experience influence neuronal morphology as well as both gene and protein expression in numerous brain regions. Many of these effects may be mediated by persistent modifications in endocrine factors and subsequent changes in DNA methylation patterns. These projects use animal models to examine modifications in anxiety, fear, and stress-related behaviors as a function of sex, age, and prior experiences. An overarching goal of this program is to advance biomarker discovery at the preclinical stage.

  • Prenatal Opiates; Patterns of Use and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

The number of women testing positive for opiates during pregnancy has increased 4-fold in the past decade. Understanding changes in use patterns by pregnant women as well as developing preclinical models to assess long-term outcomes in exposed offspring is an important area of research. Our current studies utilize an oxycodone self-administration paradigm in female rodents to determine the efficacy of replacement therapies on both mother and offspring.

Research Interests by Area

Reproductive Biology and Neuroscience
  • Transgenerational epigenetics
    Stress and reward-related disorders
    Sex Differences

Current Lab Members

  • Dr. Fair Vassoler, Postdoctoral Associate
  • Kristy Meadows, Graduate Student, Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Internal Collaborators

  • Dr. Benjamin Nephew, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences, Cummings School
  • Dr. Andrew Hoffman, Professor, Clinical Sciences, Cummings School
  • Dr. Giovanni Widmer, Professor, IDGH, Cummings School
  • Dr. Klaus Miczek, Professor, Psychology, Arts and Sciences

Outside Collaborators

  • Dr. Josephine Johns, Professor, Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Medical School, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Dr. Jill McGaughy, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
  • Dr. Christopher Murgatroyd, Lecturer, Division of Health Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Dr. William Carlezon, Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard University, Belmont, MA
  • Dr. Jill Turner, Assistant Professor, Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Medical University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC