MATTHEW HEARING, PH.D.
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Hearing is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University. He completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratories of Dr. Mark Thomas and Dr. Kevin Wickman at the University of Minnesota. He obtained his Ph.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2010 and his B.S. at Marquette University in 2003 working in the laboratories of Dr. Jacqueline McGinty and Dr. David Baker.
Opioid use disorders (OUDs) and stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders are among society’s most pressing challenges. Although the consequences of such disorders produce many symptoms, one of the major impairments includes the inability to control behaviors that reduce one’s ability to respond normally to negative life events, maintain emotional control, and control drug use. Despite the known repercussions of impaired behavioral control, the underlying changes in the brain responsible for these impairments remains unknown.
Thus, our lab uses a powerful array of clinically relevant behavior models and complementary cutting-edge ex vivo (functional brain samples) and in vivo (living animal) techniques to understand 1) how complex neural circuits “normally” function to control behavior and how exposure drugs and/or stress “rewire” these circuits to disrupt function, 2) how a given adaptation causally contributes to one (or more) “symptoms”, and 3) how genetic, intrinsic (e.g. biological sex), and social variables (e.g. environmental stability) convey vulnerability to and severity of disease development. To date our research (in mice) has shown that males and females exhibit unique vulnerability to opioid and stress-related impairments in behavior and that these impairments arise through unique changes in the brain based on sex, highlighting the need to develop therapeutic interventions that are tailored based on the individual.
Lab manager: Rebecca Pupp
Graduate Student: Devan Gomez
Undergraduates: Taytum Kahl