Brunjes, Peter C.

Peter Brunjes

Peter C. Brunjes

Primary Appointment

Commonwealth Professor, Psychology

Education

  • BS, Psychology, Michigan State University
  • PhD, Comparative Psychology, Indiana University
  • Postdoc, Neuroanaotmy, University of Illinois

Contact Information

102 Gilmer Hall Box 400400
Telephone: 924 0687
Email: pcb6e@virginia.edu
Website: http://www.virginia.edu/%7Eneurolab/

Research Interests

Use the olfactory system to examine general problems in the brain maturation, including the role of afferent activity on tissue development and the interplay between evolution and development.

Research Description

Our lab is involved in studying the development of the brain. We always have a number of projects underway, with a focus on understanding the development of the ventral forebrain. Much of our work centers on studies of the development of the olfactory system, as its strict organization makes it easy to use in order to examine the normal rules of growth. Since it is a portion of a sensory system, its function is quite easy to manipulate. The olfactory bulb is the area of the brain that receives input from olfactory sensory neurons in the nasal cavity. We have examined many different aspects of bulb development, including gene expression, protein synthesis, metabolism, neuronal development, the expression of various neurophenotypes, physiological activity, the development of blood vessels, patterns of cell death, etc. The portion below the bulb, the "olfactory peduncle", contains the second order processing station, also known as the "anterior olfactory nucleus". It is a fascinating region that has received very little attention. <b><i>UNLEASH (Undergraduate Research)</i></b> Our lab is involved in probing a number of issues surrounding the organization and development of sensory systems in the brain. Sensory systems are useful models for examining how the brain works: they often have clear cut circuitry, and it is relatively simple to manipulate the amount and type of information processed by the system. Our work centers around the olfactory system, which offers a number of unique features that make it an excellent model for studying the development and organization of the brain. Most of our recent work centers on studying the basic organizational features of the system, including understanding how odors are encoded in the olfactory cortex, and whether these representations change with olfactory experience. When first joining the lab, RAs are usually responsible for participating in one aspect of an ongoing project as they are trained in various laboratory techniques. Once proficient, RAs often have the opportunity of developing more independent projects, many of which have become Distinguished Major projects. Contact: Prof. Brunjes brunjes@virginia.edu

Selected Publications