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Patricia Jensen, Ph.D., Tenure-track Investigator

Dr. Jensen received her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2002. Her graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Dan Goldowitz focused on the cellular and molecular interactions underlying cerebellar morphogenesis. During her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Curran at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital she managed the high-throughput in situ hybridization screen of gene expression in the embryonic and adult mouse nervous system as part of the GENSAT project. In 2005 she joined the laboratory of Dr. Susan Dymecki in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow where she carried out molecular and genetic studies focusing on the embryonic and molecular development of individual serotonergic (5-HT) neuron subtypes. Dr. Jensen was recruited to the NIEHS intramural program in 2009 to head the Developmental Neurobiology Group in the Laboratory of Neurobiology.
Photo of Patricia Jensen, Ph.D., Tenure-track Investigator

Research Interests:
The Developmental Neurobiology Group studies how genetic and environmental perturbations during development alter the fates and functions of specific sets of neurons and how these alterations lead to neurological disorders.

Altered noradrenergic signaling in the prefrontal cortex is implicated in a number of cognitive disorders including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. To date, much of our understanding about the subpopulation(s) of noradrenergic neurons that project to and modulate prefrontal cortical circuits comes from non-genetic tract tracing and lesioning studies. Little is known about the molecular identity of these subpopulations. Unraveling the genetic pathways that control final noradrenergic subtype identity is critical to our understanding of related developmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In order to fill this knowledge gap my lab uses genetic approaches in the mouse to determine the origins, fates, and functions of the different types of noradrenergic neurons in the mammalian brain. Importantly, this work will provide a means to visualize and genetically manipulate select populations of noradrenergic neurons in vivo and guide the rational generation of mouse models of cognitive disorders.

Selected Recent Publications:
  • Jensen P, Farago AF, Awatramani RB, Scott MM, Deneris ES, Dymecki SM (2008) Redefining the serotonergic system by genetic lineage, Nat Neurosci 11:417-19.

  • Du X, Jensen P, Goldowitz D, Hamre KM (2007) Wild-type cells rescue genotypically math1-null hair cells in the inner ears of chimeric mice, Dev Biology 305:430-8.

  • Magdaleno S, Jensen P, Seal A, Lehman K, Asbury A, Cheung T, Cornelius T, Batten DM, Eden C, Norland S, Rice DS, Dosooye N, Shakya S, Mehta P, Curran T (2006) The brain gene map expression (BGEM): A database containing in situ hybridization data of gene expression in the developing and adult mouse nervous system, PLoS Biology 4:e86.

All Selected Publications

Contact Information:

Dr. Patricia Jensen
Developmental Neurobiology Group, Lab. Neurobiology, NIEHS
111 Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-

Telephone: (919) 541-0379 (office),


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