Welcome to the Frick lab! Our laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms through which sex-steroid hormones, like estrogens and progesterone, influence memory consolidation and brain function throughout the adult female and male lifespan. By pinpointing these mechanisms, our ultimate goal is to identify key receptors, kinases, epigenetic and transcription factors, and genes that could be targets for the development of new treatments to reduce memory dysfunction in aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and various neuropsychiatric disorders.
Our laboratory uses mice and rats to examine systems-level and cellular-level questions about memory formation in a mammalian system where the effects of hormones and aging are similar to those in humans. Our studies combine a variety of approaches including behavioral, biochemical, chemogenetic, epigenetic, pharmacological, and anatomical methods to study hormonal regulation of memory consolidation, intracellular signaling, gene transcription, local protein translation, and neuronal dendrite morphology in brain regions including the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, and nucleus reuniens. This work involves female and male wild-type rodents, as well as transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Current projects also explore sex differences in memory, examine a role for glia in estrogenic memory enhancement, and use chemogenetic and optogenetic methods to elucidate the brain circuitry underlying hormonal mediation of memory. Through our collaborative work with other labs, we are also developing novel estrogen receptor agonist compounds and histone deacetylase inhibitors to reduce memory loss in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information, see this short video that provides some context for our research on hormones, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease. This video was produced in association with Dr. Frick’s receipt of a UW System Regent Scholar Award to test the effects of a novel estrogen receptor agonist on memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Want to join us? For opportunities at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels, please contact Dr. Frick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Undergraduates should complete this fillable form and send it with an unofficial UWM transcript to Dr. Frick at the email address listed above.