Amanda Morgan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

My project involves investigating how the endocannabinoid (eCB) system can be pharmacologically managed to improve mood and relieve stress. Specifically, my work focuses on cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) and how this enzyme contributes to the modulation of mood and stress. Cox-2 is an inducible enzyme which inactivates neuronal eCBs. Cox-2 acts to reduce eCB levels in the brain and can be targeted pharmacologically to regulate stress responses and anxiety-like behaviors in mice. Using both pharmacological and genetic approaches to build on previous work in our lab, my research shows that Cox-2 substrate-selective inhibitors can exert anxiolytic effects following stress exposure. My ongoing research uses behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, and functional neuroanatomical methods as well as mass spectrometry to define the role of Cox-2 in stress and anxiety modulation.