Principal Investigator

  • Brad A. Grueter, PhD

    Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
    Office Address
    Medical Research Building IV
    2213 Garland Ave.
    Room / Suite

    Postdoctoral Fellow in laboratory of Dr. Robert C. Malenka, Stanford University School of Medicine

    Postdoctoral Fellow in laboratory of Dr. Danny G. Winder, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

    PhD, Molecular Biology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (2006)

    MS, Biology, University of Illinois (2001)

    BS, Biology, Illinois College (1998)

  • Carrie A. Grueter, PhD

    Assistant Research Professor
    Office Address
    Medical Research Building IV
    2213 Garland Ave.
    Room / Suite

    Postdoctoral Training: Fellowship, Cardiovascular Disease, The J. David Gladstone Institutes, University of California, San Francisco (2012)

    Ph.D., Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (2006)

    B.S., Biology, University of Montevallo (1999)

    Project: Central Triglyceride Synthesis: Dissecting the Link Between Energy Balance and Neurobehavior

    Hometown: Huntsville, AL

    Favorite Lab Technique: Survival surgeries

    Hobbies: Working out and nutrition


Previous Members

  • PhD, Multisensory Research Laboratory, Vanderbilt
    MSc, Medical Physiology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education

    Dips was a postdoctoral fellow working in the Grueter Lab as a slice electrophysiologist from June 2013 until January 2015. Her research involved the investigation of the role of nucleus accumbens (NAc) circuitry and neural mechanisms underlying drug addiction.

  • Olivia Liem, MD, PhD

    Research Fellow

    Pediatric Residency, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Utrecht Medical Center, Utrecht, Netherlands
    PhD, Pediatric Gastroenterology, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
    MD, University of Leiden, Netherlands

    Olivia worked with Carrie to examine the physiological relevance(s) of intracellular TG and how it impacts CNS processes. Specifically helped study the enzymes responsible for TG synthesis, acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase-1 and -2 (DGAT-1 and -2) and their neuroanatomical expression and distribution in the brain.

  • PhD, Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University
    BS, Mathematics, University of Maryland College Park

    For his graduate work in the Grueter Lab, Max studied how the recruitment of learning and memory mechanisms, most notably NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic plasticity, is involved in the development and expression of addiction-like behaviors.

  • M.S., Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University

    B.S., Animal Science, University of Connecticut

    Project: Keeping the lab running smoothly

    Hometown: Monson, MA

    Favorite Lab Technique: Stereotaxic surgeries

    Hobbies: Dog training, dog agility, and puppies!

  • B.S., Biochemistry with a Neuroscience minor, St. Mary's College of Maryland (2015)

    Hometown: Bethesda, MD

    In order to ensure survival, animals must enact dynamic behavioral patterns dependent on their most pertinent needs. When energy stores are low, hunger alters animal behavior through a number of central circuit nodes that sense energy state. My work focuses how the molecules that communicate hunger centrally alter transmission in neural circuits that control motivated behavior. Using pharmacological and genetic tools, I probe the role of these mechanisms in allowing hunger to change an animal’s reward-driven behavior. The ultimate goal of my work is to deepen our understanding of how hunger changes animal behavior, and to uncover specific molecular mediators of hunger within the brain that can be manipulated for therapeutic gain.

Graduate Students

  • B.A., Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University/B.S., Psychology, Vanderbilt University (2017)

    Project: Serotonin-Mediated Plasticity in the NAc

    Hometown: Atlanta, GA

    Favorite Lab Technique: Anything with Optogenetics!

    Hobbies: Kickboxing, sport climbing, overeating, and cuddling all the animals!

    Serotonin plays a large role in reward circuitry, but its effects on synaptic physiology are not as well characterized as those of dopamine. I use whole-cell electrophysiology and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to study how serotonin affects the nucleus accumbens. MDMA is a psychoactive drug that increases the amount and duration of monoamines at the synapse. I plan to use MDMA to understand the synaptic physiology of serotonin in reward circuitry and uncover the potential therapeutic effects of the drug at a molecular level.