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Rebecca A. Prosser


Rebecca A. Prosser
Rebecca ProsserProfessor, BCMB
Head, Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Concentration

Office: Mossman 328, (865-974-2722)
Lab: Mossman 361

Ph.D., Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Neuroscience Program



Most of my research has focused on circadian rhythms, largely utilizing in vitro electrophysiological recordings and protein assays of the mammalian suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) circadian clock. These projects, many as collaborations with colleagues at UTK and elsewhere, investigated cellular mechanisms through which SCN clock phase can be modulated, including intracellular signal transduction processes, receptor pharmacology, and extracellular signaling molecules. Some of these processes are illustrated here.

The research on circadian rhythms then expanded to collaborative investigations on the cellular mechanisms through which alcohol modulates in vivo and in vitro circadian rhythms, and the interactions between alcohol consumption and stress. This research and involved both acute in vitro administration of ethanol to brain tissue as well as self-administration of ethanol in mice. Our research on addiction broadened to investigate circadian and epigenetic effects of cocaine.

More recently our research has shifted once again, now focusing on excitotoxicity, whether induced by direct excitation or by toxins such as amyloid-beta and tau peptides. We are comparing susceptibility across different brain regions, times of day, age, and genetic background. These collaborative endeavors involve a broad mix of techniques, including microscopy, microfluidics, calcium imaging, and analyzing changes in the expression of cytokines, proteins, lipids, and RNAs.

Selected Publications

Gray ALH, Norman V, Oluwatoba DS, Prosser RA, Do TD (2023) Potential protective function of Aβ42 monomer on tauopathies. J. Amer Soc Mass Spectrom.  

Acharyya D, Cooper J, Prosser RA(2023) Ex vivo comparative investigation of suprachiasmatic nucleus excitotoxic resiliency. F1000Research  

Yaw A, Glass JD, Prosser RA, Caldwell HK (2022) Paternal Cocaine in Mice Alters Social Interactions and Oxytocin Receptor Density in First Generation Male Offspring. Neuroscience 485: 65-77.  

Gray ALH, Sawaya MR, Acharyya D, Lou J, Edington E, Best MD, Prosser RA, Eisenberg D, Do TD (2022) Atomic View of an Amyloid Dodecamer Exhibiting Selective Cellular Toxic Vulnerability in Acute Brain Slices. Prot. Sci. 2022:1-12.  

Saleheen A, Acharyya D, Prosser RA, and Baker, CA (2021) Microfluidic brain slice culture via a novel bubble perfusion device. Analytical Methods 13: 1364-1373.  

Yamada, Y. & Prosser, R.A. (2020) Copper in the suprachiasmatic circadian clock: a possible link between multiple circadian oscillators. Eur. J. Neurosci. 2018: 47-70. 

Yaw AM, Prosser RA, Jones, PC, Garcia BJ, Jacobson DA, and Glass JD (2019) Epigenetic effects of paternal cocaine on reward stimulus behavior and accumbens gene expression in mice. Beh Brain Res 367: 68-81.  

Cooper J, Abrahamsson K, Prosser RA (2018) Circadian rhythm and sleep-wake systems share the dynamic extracellular synaptic milieu. Neurobiol.Sleep Circ.Rhythms 5: 15-36.  

Krizo J, Moreland LE, Mou X, Prosser RA, Mintz EM (2018) Regulation of Locomotor Activity in Fed, Fasted, and Food-Restricted Mice Lacking Tissue-type Plasminogen Activator. BMC Physiology 18:2. DOI: 10.1186/s12899-018-0036-0 

Lindsay JH and Prosser RA (2018) The mammalian circadian clock exhibits chronic ethanol tolerance and withdrawal-induced glutamate hypersensitivity, accompanied by changes in glutamate and TrkB receptor proteins. Alcohol Clin.Expt.Res. 42: 315-328.  

Cooper JM, Rastogi A, Krizo J, Mintz EM, and Prosser RA (2017) Urokinase-type plasminogen activator modulates mammalian circadian clock phase regulation in tissue-type plasminogen activator knockout mice. Eur. J. Neurosci. 45: 805-815.