Photo of Corinna Burger, PhDAssociate Professor in Neurology

73 Bardeen Medical Laboratory

Research Interests:Identification of Molecular Markers of Cognitive Aging, molecular and environmental triggering mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease


Identification of putative learning and memory genes both in the young and aged rat using Microarrays constitute our starting tools to study the neurobiology of learning and memory going from genes to behavior. Our ultimate goal is to understand the molecular rules that govern memory formation and plasticity in the CNS both early in life and with aging.

The first goal in the lab is to screen the genes that were identified in the array experiments at the functional level. Towards that end, we are using recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) as a gene delivery system to over express or knock-down function of these candidate genes in the brain in a region-specific manner and examine the resulting phenotypes using well established behavioral tests. Viral gene delivery is a fast way to screen for this long list of genes in a feasible time frame. It takes approximately a couple of months to generate “somatic” transgenic animals from the purification of the virus to expression of the virus in the desired brain region of the animal, to testing the behavior. This technology can also be used to manipulate the expression of one gene or several genes in combination, so the relationships between the different genes in a pathway can be assessed in vivo. As an example, we have validated the role of Homer1c in learning and memory in aging and synaptic plasticity using this technology.

Recent Publications
  • Burger, C. (2010). Region-Specific Genetic Alterations in the Aging Hippocampus: Implications for Cognitive Aging. Front Ag Neurosci 2:140. Review.
  • Westmark, P.R., Westmark, C.J., Wang, S., Levenson, J.M., O¡¯Riordan K.,Burger, C., and Malter, J.S. (2010). Pin1 and PKM¦Æ sequentially control dendritic protein synthesis. Science Sign. 3, ra18.
  • Potter, W.B., O¡¯Riordan, K.J, Barnett, D., Osting, S.M.K., Wagoner, M.,Burger, C. and Roopra, A. (2010). Metabolic Regulation of neuronal plasticity by the energy sensor AMPK. PLOS 3:1-9.
  • Pehar, M., O¡¯Riordan, K.J., Burns-Cusato, M., Andrzejewski, M.E., Li, H., Gil del Alcazar, C., Burger, C., Scrable, H., and Luigi Puglielli (2010). The longevity-assurance activity of the p53:p44 system causes a selective degeneration of memory-forming and -retrieving areas of the mouse brain and early death. Aging Cell. 9:174-190.
  • Galleguillos, D., Fuentealba, J.A., G¨®mez, L.M., Saver, M., Nash, K.,Burger, C., Gysling, K., and Andr¨¦s, M.E. (2010). Nurr1 regulates RET expression in dopamine neurons of adult rat midbrain. J. Neurochem. 114:1158-67.