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NINDSNIMHNICHDNIDCDNEINIDCRNIANIAAANIDANHGRI NCCIHNIEHSCCB

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Senior Investigator

R. Douglas Fields, Ph.D.


Building 35 Room 2A-211

Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Office: (301) 480-3209
Lab: (301) 402-4795
Fax: (301) 496-9630
fieldsd@mail.nih.gov

Dr. Fields long-standing interest is in nervous system plasticity. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1975. He received an M.A. degree in 1979 at San Jose State University, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of California, San Diego, working jointly in the Medical School and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Yale University, and the NIH. He became Head of the Neurocytology and Physiology Unit, NICHD in 1994, and Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section, NICHD in 2001. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neuron Glia Biology, and member of the editorial board of several other journals in the field of neuroscience. His laboratory is exploring the molecular mechanism that regulate the structure and function of the nervous system in response to neural impulse activity during development and in relation to learning and memory, and the interactions between neurons and glia.

Research in the Section on Nervous System Development and Plasticity is concerned with understanding how the brain develops and modifies its structure and function through experience. Functional activity in the brain during late stages of fetal development in early postnatal life is essential for normal development of the nervous and the same mechanisms underlie learning and memory and nervous system recovery following disease or injury. Our research is investigating the molecular mechanisms that enable neural impulse activity to regulate major developmental processes of both neurons and glia. The main objectives of this research program are: (1) to understand how the expression of genes controlling the structure and function of the nervous system is regulated by patterned neural impulse activity; (2) to determine the functional consequences of neural impulse activity on major developmental processes, including: cell proliferation, survival, differentiation, growth cone motility, neurite outgrowth, synaptogenesis and synapse remodeling, myelination, interactions between neurons and glia, and the mechanisms involved in learning and memory; (3) to understand how information contained in the temporal pattern of neural impulse activity is transduced and integrated within the intracellular signaling networks of neurons to activate specific genes and control appropriate adaptive responses.

This work involves a multidisciplinary approach using cultured mammalian neurons and glia, brain slice, and in vivo preparations. Confocal and two-photon calcium imaging, electrophysiology, microarrays for gene expression profiling, in cultured neurons and hippocampal brain slice are used to study cell proliferation, differentiation, myelination, neuron-glia communication, long-term synaptic plasticity (hippocampal LTP), and intracellular signaling controlling neuronal plasticity and gene expression.

Staff Image
  • Dipankar Dutta, Ph.D.
    Special Volunteer

  • Will Huffman, M.A.
    Laboratory Technician

  • Philip Lee, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist

  • Dong Ho Woo, Ph.D.
    Visiting Fellow
    wood@mail.nih.gov

  • 1) Nunez PL, Srinivasan R, Fields RD (2015)
  • EEG functional connectivity, axon delays and white matter disease
  • Clin Neurophysiol, 2015 Jan;126(1):110-20. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014, Epub 2014 Apr 13
  • 2) Fields RD, Woo DH, Basser PJ (2015)
  • Glial Regulation of the Neuronal Connectome through Local and Long-Distant Communication
  • Neuron, 2015 Apr 22;86(2):374-86, doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.014
  • 3) Fields RD (2014)
  • Vive la différence. Requiring medical researchers to test males and females in every experiment sounds reasonable, but it is a bad idea
  • Sci Am, 2014 Sep;311(3):14
  • 4) Cohen JE, Lee PR, Fields RD (2014)
  • Systematic identification of 3'-UTR regulatory elements in activity-dependent mRNA stability in hippocampal neurons
  • Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 2014 Sep 26;369(1652). pii: 20130509, doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0509
  • 5) Fields RD (2014)
  • NIH policy: mandate goes too far
  • Nature, 2014 Jun 19;510(7505):340, doi: 10.1038/510340a
  • 6) Fields RD (2014)
  • Neuroscience. Myelin--more than insulation
  • Science, 2014 Apr 18;344(6181):264-6, doi: 10.1126/science.1253851
  • 7) Fields RD (2014)
  • Myelin formation and remodeling
  • Cell, 2014 Jan 16;156(1-2):15-7., doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.12.038
  • 8) Pajevic S, Basser PJ, Fields RD (2014)
  • Role of myelin plasticity in oscillations and synchrony of neuronal activity
  • Neuroscience, 2014 Sep 12;276:135-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscienc, Epub 2013 Nov 28.
  • 9) Fields RD, Araque A, Johansen-Berg H, Lim SS, Lynch G, Nave KA, Nedergaard M, Perez R, Sejnowski T, Wake H (2014)
  • Glial biology in learning and cognition
  • Neuroscientist, 2014 Oct;20(5):426-31. , doi: 10.1177/1073858413504465. Epub 2013 Oct 11. R
  • 10) Fields RD (2013)
  • Neuroscience: Map the other brain
  • Nature, Sep 5;501(7465), 25-7
  • 11) Bukalo O, Campanac E, Hoffman DA, Fields RD (2013)
  • Synaptic plasticity by antidromic firing during hippocampal network oscillations
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Mar 26;110(13):5175-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.12107351, Epub 2013 Mar 11
  • 12) Fields RD (2013)
  • Changes in brain structure during learning: fact or artifact? Reply to Thomas and Baker
  • Neuroimage, Jun;73:260-4; discussion 265-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neu, Epub 2012 Sep 7
  • 13) Nualart-Marti A, Solsona C, Fields RD (2013)
  • Gap junction communication in myelinating glia
  • Biochim Biophys Acta, Jan;1828(1), 69-78
  • 14) Nualart-Marti A, Solsona C, Fields RD. (2012)
  • Gap junction communication in myelinating glia
  • Biochim Biophys Acta Feb 3, [Epub ahead of print]
  • 15) Zatorre RJ, Fields RD, Johansen-Berg H. (2012)
  • Plasticity in gray and white: neuroimaging changes in brain structure during learning
  • Nat Neurosci. Mar 18, 15(4), doi: 10.1038/nn.3045
  • 16) Leung JY, Bennett WR, Herbert RP, West AK, Lee PR, Wake H, Fields RD, Chuah MI, Chung RS (2012)
  • Metallothionein promotes regenerative axonal sprouting of dorsal root ganglion neurons after physical axotomy
  • Cell Mol Life Sci Mar, 69(5), 809-17
  • 17) Fumagalli M, Daniele S, Lecca D, Lee PR, Parravicini C, Fields RD, Rosa P, Antonucci F, Verderio C, Trincavelli ML, Bramanti P, Martini C, Abbracchio MP (2011)
  • Phenotypic changes, signaling pathway, and functional correlates of GPR17-expressing neural precursor cells during oligodendrocyte differentiation
  • J Biol Chem Mar 25, 286(12), 10593-604
  • 18) Fields RD (2011)
  • Nonsynaptic and nonvesicular ATP release from neurons and relevance to neuron-glia signaling
  • Semin Cell Dev Biol Apr, 22(2), 214-9
  • 20) Cohen JE, Lee PR, Chen S, Li W, Fields RD (2011)
  • MicroRNA regulation of homeostatic synaptic plasticity
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A Jul 12, 108(28), 11650-5
  • 21) Fields RD (2011)
  • Imaging learning: the search for a memory trace
  • Neuroscientist Apr, 17(2), 185-96
  • 22) Wake H, Lee PR, Fields RD (2011)
  • Control of local protein synthesis and initial events in myelination by action potentials
  • Science Sep 16, 333(6049), 1647-51
  • 23) Fields RD (2011)
  • Imaging single photons and intrinsic optical signals for studies of vesicular and non-vesicular ATP release from axons
  • Front Neuroanat, 5:32, Epub 2011 Jun 6
  • 24) Fields RD, Ni Y. (2010)
  • Nonsynaptic communication through ATP release from volume-activated anion channels in axons
  • Science Signaling 5, 3(142)
  • 25) Fields RD (2010)
  • Change in the Brain's White Matter
  • Science 5, 330(6005), 768-9
  • 26) Fields RD (2010)
  • Neuroscience. Change in the brain's white matter
  • Science Nov 5, 300(6005), 768-9
  • 28) Defelipe J, Fields RD, Hof PR, Hoistad M, Kostovic I, Meyer G, Rockland KS (2010)
  • Cortical white matter: beyond the pale remarks, main conclusions and discussion
  • Front Neuroanat Mar 24, 4, 4
  • 29) Fields RD (2010)
  • Visualizing calcium signaling in astrocytes
  • Sci Signal Nov 9, 3, 147
  • 30) Lee PR, Fields RDLee PR, Fields RD (2009)
  • Regulation of myelin genes implicated in psychiatric disorders by functional activity in axons
  • Front Neuroanat , 3, 4
  • 31) Ishibashi T, Lee PR, Baba H, Fields RD (2009)
  • Leukemia inhibitory factor regulates the timing of oligodendrocyte development and myelination in the postnatal optic nerve
  • J Neurosci Res Nov 15, 87(15), 3343-55
  • 32) Fields RD (2009)
  • New culprits in chronic pain
  • Sci Am Nov, 301(5), 50-7
  • 33) Fields RD (2008)
  • White matter matters
  • Sci Am Mar, 298(3), 42-9
  • 34) Fields RD (2008)
  • White matter in learning, cognition and psychiatric disorders
  • Trends Neurosci Jul, 31(7), 361-70
  • 35) Fields RD (2008)
  • Oligodendrocytes changing the rules: action potentials in glia and oligodendrocytes controlling action potentials
  • Neuroscientist Dec, 14(6), 540-3
  • 36) Cohen JE, Fields RD (2008)
  • Activity-dependent neuron-glial signaling by ATP and leukemia-inhibitory factor promotes hippocampal glial cell development
  • Neuron Glia Biol Feb, 4(1), 43-55
  • 37) Jia M, Li MX, Fields RD, Nelson PG (2007)
  • Extracellular ATP in activity-dependent remodeling of the neuromuscular junction
  • Dev Neurobiol Jun, 67(7), 924-32
  • 38) Lee PR, Cohen JE, Fields RD (2006)
  • Immune system evasion by peripheral nerve sheath tumor
  • Neurosci Lett Apr 10-17, 397(1-2), 126-9
  • 39) Cohen JE, Fields RD (2006)
  • CaMKII inactivation by extracellular Ca(2+) depletion in dorsal root ganglion neurons
  • Cell Calcium May, 39(5), 445-54
  • 40) Ishibashi T, Dakin KA, Stevens B, Lee PR, Kozlov SV, Stewart CL, Fields RD (2006)
  • Astrocytes promote myelination in response to electrical impulses
  • Neuron Mar 16, 49(6), 823-32
  • 41) Jia M, Li MX, Fields RD, Nelson PG (2006)
  • Purinergic signalling in neuron-glia interactions
  • Nat Rev Neurosci Jun, 7(6), 423-36
  • 42) Fields RD (2006)
  • Nerve impulses regulate myelination through purinergic signalling
  • Novartis Found Symp 276, 148-58
  • 43) Fields RD (2005)
  • Making memories stick
  • Sci Am Feb, 292(2), 75-81
  • 44) Fields RD, Lee PR, Cohen JE (2005)
  • Temporal integration of intracellular Ca2+ signaling networks in regulating gene expression by action potentials
  • Cell Calcium May, 37(5), 433-42
  • 45) Lee PR, Cohen JE, Becker KG, Fields RD (2005)
  • Gene expression in the conversion of early-phase to late-phase long-term potentiation
  • Ann N Y Acad Sci Jun, 1048, 259-71
  • 46) Bullock TH, Bennett MV, Johnston D, Josephson R, Marder E, Fields RD (2005)
  • Neuroscience. The neuron doctrine, redux
  • Science Nov 4, 310(5749), 791-3
  • 47) Fields RD (2005)
  • Myelination: an overlooked mechanism of synaptic plasticity?
  • Neuroscientist Dec, 11(6), 528-31
  • 48) Lee PR, Cohen JE, Tendi EA, Farrer R, DE Vries GH, Becker KG, Fields RD (2004)
  • Transcriptional profiling in an MPNST-derived cell line and normal human Schwann cells
  • Neuron Glia Biol May, 1(2), 135-147
  • 49) Cohen JE, Fields RD (2004)
  • Extracellular calcium depletion in synaptic transmission
  • Neuroscientist Feb, 10(1), 12-7
  • 50) Fields, R.D. (2004)
  • The Other Half of the Brain
  • Scientific American , 290(4) , 54-61
  • 51) Fields RD (2004)
  • Volume transmission in activity-dependent regulation of myelinating glia
  • Neurochem Int Sep, 45(4), 503-9
  • 52) Klein JP, Tendi EA, Dib-Hajj SD, Fields RD, Waxman SG (2003)
  • Patterned electrical activity modulates sodium channel expression in sensory neurons
  • J Neurosci Res Oct 15, 74(2), 192-8
  • 53) Stevens, B., S. Porta, L.L. Haak, V. Gallo, and R.D. Fields (2002)
  • Adenosine: A neuron-glial transmitter promoting myelination in the CNS in response to action potentials
  • Neuron , 36, 855-868
  • 54) Fields, R.D. and B. Stevens-Graham (2002)
  • New views of neuron-glia communication
  • Science , 298, 483-690
  • 55) Dudek, S. and R.D. Fields (2002)
  • Somatic action potentials are sufficient for late-phase LTP-related cell signaling
  • Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA , 99, 3962-3967
  • 56) Stevens B, Fields RD (2002)
  • Regulation of the cell cycle in normal and pathological glia
  • Neuroscientist Apr, 8(2), 93-7
  • 57) Fields RD, Stevens-Graham B (2002)
  • New insights into neuron-glia communication
  • Science Oct 18, 298(5593), 556-62
  • 59) Stevens, B. and R.D. Fields (2000)
  • Action potentials regulate Schwann cell proliferation and development.
  • Science, 287, 2267-2271
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