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Senior Investigator

Judith R. Walters, Ph.D.

Neurophysiological Pharmacology Section

Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35 Room 1C-905
35 Convent Drive MSC 3702
Bethesda MD 20892-3702
Office: (301) 496-2067
Lab: (301) 496-2067
Fax: (301) 402-0625 (fax)
waltersj@ninds.nih.gov

Dr. Walters received her B.A. degree from Mt. Holyoke College and her Ph.D. from Yale University, where she studied the pharmacology and neurophysiology of the dopamine system in the basal ganglia. After postdoctoral work at Yale, she joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and then moved to the Experimental Therapeutics Branch in NINDS, where she now serves as Chief of the Neurophysiological Pharmacology Section. Her laboratory explores the role of dopamine in basal ganglia-thalamocortical function.



The goal of the Neurophysiological Pharmacology Section is to elucidate the function of specific neuronal systems in regulating information processing in basal ganglia-thalamocortical networks. The Section interests are currently focused on relationships between dopamine and basal ganglia-thalamocortical system function and dysfunction, especially with respect to movement disorders. Effort is directed toward identifying mechanisms that could be manipulated to prevent, correct, and/or compensate for dysfunction occurring in these systems in disorders such as Parkinson's disease, dyskinesia, Huntington's disease, Tourette's syndrome and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Neurophysiological approaches are utilized to investigate activity in basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits in normal and abnormal motor states and the potential for modulating basal ganglia- thalamocortical network function with drugs and other interventions, such as deep brain stimulation. An area of current interest is the role of dopamine receptor stimulation in modulation of synchronized and oscillatory neuronal activity in a range of frequencies in the context of basal ganglia-thalamocortical network function and dysfunction. Techniques include in vivo recordings in anesthetized and awake behaving rodent preparations in conjunction with selective lesion, stimulation or drug treatments, and biochemical, behavioral and anatomical measures.

Staff Image
  • Elena Brazhnik, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist
    (301) 451-1721

  • Christine Dice, M.A.
    Office Manager

  • Christina Hatch, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 451-1723

  • Anne Kask, B.S.
    Contractor
    (301) 451-1723

  • Alex McCoy
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 451-1722

  • Nikolay Novikov, M.D., Ph.D.
    Contractor
    (301) 496-0291

  • Marian Wahba, B.A.
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 451-1720

  • 1) Walters JR and Bergstrom DA (2010)
  • Synchronous activity in basal ganglia circuits
  • Handbook of Basal Ganglia Structure and Function, edited by H Steiner and KY Tseng, 429-443
  • 2) Avila I,Parr-Brownlie LC, Brazhnik E, Castaneda E, Bergstrom DA and Walters JR (2010)
  • Beta Frequency Synchronization in Basal Ganglia Output during Rest and Walk in a Hemiparkinsonian Rat
  • Experimental Neurology, 221, 307-319
  • 3) Feng X, Henriquez VM, Walters JR and Ludlow CL (2009)
  • Effects of dopamine D1 and D2 receptor antagonists on laryngeal neurophysiology in the rat
  • Journal of Neurophysiology, 102, 1193-1205
  • 4) Walters JR, Tierney PL and Bergstrom DA (2009)
  • Oscillatory activity and synchronization in the basal ganglia network in rodent models of Parkinson's disease
  • The Basal Ganglia IX, edited by HJ Groenewegen et al., 443-459
  • 5) Pelled G, Bergstrom DA, Tierney PL, Conroy RS, Chuang KH, Leopold DA, Walters JR and Koretsky AP (2009)
  • Ipsilateral cortical fMRI responses after peripheral nerve damage in rats reflect increased interneuron activity
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106, 14114-14119
  • 6) Parr-Brownlie LC, Poloskey SL, Bergstrom DA and Walters JR (2009)
  • Parafascicular thalamic nucleus activity in a rat model of Parkinson's disease
  • Experimental Neurology, 217, 269-281
  • 7) Walters JR and Bergstrom DA (2009)
  • Basal ganglia network synchronization in animal models of Parkinson's disease
  • Cortical-Subcortical Dynamics in Parkinson's Disease, edited by KY Tseng, 117-142
  • 8) Aravamuthan BR, Bergstrom DA, French RA, Taylor JJ, Parr-Brownlie LC and Walters JR (2008)
  • Altered neuronal activity relationships between the pedunculopontine nucleus and motor cortex in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease
  • Experimental Neurology, 213, 268-280
  • 9) Di Martino A, Scheres A, Margulies DS, Kelly AMC, Uddin LQ, Shehzad Z, Biswal B, Walters JR, Castellanos FX and Milham MP (2008)
  • Functional connectivity of human striatum: a resting state fMRI study
  • Cerebral Cortex, 18, 2735-2747
  • 10) Walters JR, Hu D, Itoga CA, Parr-Brownlie LC, Bergstrom DA (2007)
  • Phase relationships support a role for coordinated activity in the indirect pathway in organizing slow oscillations in basal ganglia output after loss of dopamine
  • Neuroscience, 144, 762-776
  • 11) Parr-Brownlie LC, Poloskey SL, Flanagan KK, Eisenhofer E, Bergstrom DA and Walters JR (2007)
  • Dopamine lesion-induced changes in subthalamic nucleus activity are not associated with alterations in firing rate or pattern in layer V neurons of the anterior cingulate cortex in anesthetized rats
  • European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 1925-1939
  • 12) Castellanos FX, Sonuga-Barke EJS, Scheres A, DiMartino A, Hyde C and Walters JR (2005)
  • Varieties of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-related intra-individual variability
  • Biological Psychiatry, 57, 1416-1423
  • 13) Walters JR, Hu D, Itoga CA, Parr-Brownlie LC and Bergstrom DA (2005)
  • Do local field potentials reflect synchronized spiking activity of neuronal populations in the basal ganglia? Studies in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease
  • The Basal Ganglia VIII, edited by JP Bolam, C Ingham and PJ Magill, 37-46
  • 14) Allers KA, Bergstrom DA, Ghazi LJ, Kreiss DS and Walters JR (2005)
  • MK801 and amantadine exert different effects on subthalamic neuronal activity in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease
  • Experimental Neurology, 191, 104-118
  • 15) Hutchison WD, Dostrovsky JO, Walters JR, Courtemanche R, Boraud T, Goldberg J and Brown P (2004)
  • Neuronal oscillations in the basal ganglia and movement disorders: evidence from whole animal and human recordings
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 9240-9243
  • 16) Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA, Tierney PL and Walters JR (2003)
  • Correlated multisecond oscillations in firing rate in the basal ganglia: modulation by dopamine and the subthalamic nucleus
  • Neuroscience, 117, 427-438
  • 17) Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA and Walters JR (2002)
  • Nigrostriatal lesion and dopamine agonists affect firing patterns of rodent entopeduncular nucleus neurons
  • Journal of Neurophysiology, 88, 487-496
  • 18) Allers KA, Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA, Freeman LE, Ghazi LJ, Tierney PL and Walters JR (2002)
  • Multisecond periodicities in basal ganglia firing rates correlate with theta bursts in transcortical and hippocampal EEG
  • Journal of Neurophysiology, 87, 1118-1122
  • 19) Walters JR, Ruskin DN, Baek D, Allers KA and Bergstrom DA (2001)
  • Cognitive function paradigms: implications of neurophysiological studies of dopamine stimulants for Tourette Syndrome and comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, edited by DJ Cohen, J Jankovic and CG Goetz, 133-149
  • 20) Walters JR, Bergstrom DA, Molnar LR, Freeman LE and Ruskin DN (2001)
  • Effects of dopamine receptor stimulation on basal ganglia activity
  • Basal Ganglia and Thalamus in Health and Movement Disorders, edited by K Kultas-Ilinsky & IA Ilinsky, 135-150
  • 21) Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA, Baek D, Freeman LE and Walters JR (2001)
  • Cocaine or selective block of dopamine transporters influences multisecond oscillations in firing rate in the globus pallidus
  • Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, 28-40
  • 22) Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA, Shenker A, Freeman LE, Baek D and Walters JR (2001)
  • Drugs used in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder affect firing rate and oscillation without preferential dopamine autoreceptor action
  • Biological Psychiatry, 49, 340-350
  • 23) Walters JR, Ruskin DN, Allers KA and Bergstrom DA (2000)
  • Pre- and postsynaptic aspects of dopamine-mediated transmission
  • Trends in Neurosciences, 23 (Suppl), S41-S47
  • 24) Allers KA, Kreiss DS and Walters JR (2000)
  • Multisecond oscillations in the subthalamic nucleus: effects of apomorphine and dopamine cell lesion
  • Synapse, 38, 38-50
  • 25) Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA, Mastropietro CW, Twery MJ and Walters JR (1999)
  • Dopamine agonist-mediated rotation in rats with unilateral nigrostriatal lesions is not dependent on net inhibitions of rate in basal ganglia output nuclei
  • Neuroscience, 91, 935-946
  • 27) Ruskin DN, Bergstrom DA, Kaneoke Y, Patel BN, Twery MJ and Walters JR (1999)
  • Multisecond oscillations in firing rate in the basal ganglia: robust modulation by dopamine receptor activation and anesthesia
  • Journal of Neurophysiology, 81, 2046-2055
  • 28) Ruskin DN, Rawji SS and Walters JR (1998)
  • Effects of full D1 dopamine receptor agonists on firing rates in the globus pallidus and substantia nigra pars compacta in vivo: tests for D1 receptor selectivity and comparisons to the partial agonist SKF 38393
  • Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 286, 272-281
  • 29) Huang K-X, Bergstrom DA, Ruskin DN and Walters JR (1998)
  • N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptor blockage attenuates D1 dopamine receptor modulation of neuronal activity in rat substantia nigra
  • Synapse, 30, 18-29
  • 30) Kreiss DS, Mastropietro CW, Rawji SS and Walters JR (1997)
  • The response of subthalamic nucleus neurons to dopamine receptor stimulation in a rodent model of Parkinson's Disease
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 17, 6807-6819
  • 31) Kreiss DS, Anderson LA and Walters JR (1996)
  • Apomorphine and dopamine D1 receptor agonists increase the firing rate of subthalamic nucleus neurons
  • Neuroscience, 72, 863-876
  • 32) Huang K-X and Walters JR (1996)
  • Dopaminergic regulation of AP-1 transcription factor DNA binding in rat striatum
  • Neuroscience, 75, 757-775
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