Janet Dubinsky, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

E-MAIL: dubin001@umn.edu

Neuroscience Research:

We have examined the involvement of the mitochondrial permeability transition in isolated CNS mitochondria from normal and Huntington's Disease model mice.  At the systems level, we are currently examining metabolite changes in brains of Huntington's Disease model mice and how these metabolite changes can be used both as biomarkers for disease progression and to provide insight into mechanisms of disease progression.

A new project is investigating how certain classes of drugs might alter synaptic vesicle availability or cycling as a means of limiting high frequency activity in epilepsy.  

Research in Science Teaching:

The field of neuroscience probes the cellular, molecular and circuit properties contributing to learning and memory, processes that should influence teachers’ classroom strategies and practices.  Providing professional development for postbaccalaureate teachers into the biological basis of learning and memory applies the new knowledge generated in my field towards solving a pressing societal need, improving K-12 science education.  As a research scientist, communicating this knowledge to teacher audiences is a part of translational research.  BrainU is a professional development program for K-12 science teachers interested in understanding the brain and its relevance to education (www.brainu.org).  BrainU was created in response to requests from teachers to learn more neuroscience than could be covered in one-hour classroom visits.  My goals for the BrainU program are to engage teachers both in teaching about and applying neuroscience to their classroom practices and to motivate teachers and their students to learn more about themselves and the pursuit of science.  Our research goals are to probe how learning about the nervous system motivates teachers and students to teach, learn and do science in their classrooms.

Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Dubinsky JM. Towards an understanding of energy impairment in Huntington's disease brain. J Huntingtons Dis. 2017;6(4):267-302
  • Lou S, Lepak VC, Eberly LE, Roth B, Cui W, Zhu XH, Öz G, Dubinsky JM. Oxygen consumption deficit in Huntington disease mouse brain under metabolic stress. Hum Mol Genet. 2016;25:2813-2826.
  • Yang X, Meehan AL, Rothman SM, Dubinsky JM. Seletracetam enhances short term depression in vitro. Epilepsy Res. 2015;117:17-22.
  • Abu-Odeh D, Dziobek D, Jimenez NT, Barbey C, Dubinsky JM. Active learning in a neuroethics course positively impacts moral judgment development in undergraduates. J Undergrad Neurosci Educ. 2015;13(2):A110-119.
  • Fitzakerley JL, Michlin ML, Paton J, Dubinsky JM. Neuroscientists' classroom visits positively impact student attitudes. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 16;8(12):e84035.
  • Cui W, Zhu XH, Vollmers ML, Colonna ET, Adriany G, Tramm B, Dubinsky JM, Öz G. Non-invasive measurement of cerebral oxygen metabolism in the mouse brain by ultra-high field (17)O MR spectroscopy. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013;33(:1846-1849.
  • Dubinsky JM, Roehrig G, Varma S. Infusing neuroscience into teacher professional development. Educ Res. 2013;42:317-329.
  • Roehrig GH, Michlin M, Schmitt L,  MacNabb C, Dubinsky JM. Teaching neuroscience to science teachers: Facilitating the translation of inquiry-based teaching instruction to the classroom.  Cell Bio Ed/Life Science Ed. 2012;11:413-424.
  • Zacharoff L, Tkac I, Song Q, Tang C, Bolan PJ, Mangia S, Henry PG, Li T, Dubinsky JM. Cortical metabolites as biomarkers in the R6/2 model of Huntington's disease. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2012;32:502-14.
  • Tkac I, Henry PG, Zacharoff L, Wedel M, Gong W, Deelchand DK, Li T, Dubinsky JM. Homeostatic adaptations in brain energy metabolism in mouse models of Huntington disease. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2012;32:1977-1988.