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Karen Rommelfanger


I graduated from Emory’s Neuroscience program in 2007. After graduation, I returned to the small island where I was born in Japan to help build a new international graduate school.  In 2009, I began work on a collaborative project between Drs Yoland Smith and Thomas Wichmann.  In general, I have an interest in nonclassical functions of neuromodulators.  My current research aims to characterize extrastriatal dopamine in the subthalamic nucleus using complementary neuroanatomical (electron microscopy) and electrophysiological (extracellular recording) approaches. I also have an interest in the influence of norepinephrine on the evolution of Parkinson’s disease. I consider my current position as the ultimate bonafide neuroscience experience, as my days here consist of me looking at, listening to, and recording activity of neurons. I also maintain broader interests in the societal implications of our work and discuss these topics such as neuroethics and neuropolicy on and am founder of “Our House”: Public awareness of medical disorders through art.


2002-2007    Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia PhD, Neuroscience 
2000-2002    University of Texas at Austin, MS, Toxicology 
1995-1999    Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas 


Rommelfanger KS,Wichmann T. Extrastriatal Dopaminergic Circuits of the Basal Ganglia. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy (2010).

Yanpallewar SU, Fernandes K, Marathe S, Vadodaria KC, Jhaveri D,Rommelfanger KS, Ladiwala U, Jha S, Muthig V, Hein L, Bartlett P, Weinshenker D, Vaidya VA. Alpha2-adrenoceptor blockade accelerates the neurogenic, neurotrophic, and behavioral effects of chronic antidepressant treatment J Neurosci 30: 1096-109 (2010).

Rommelfanger KS, Mitrano DA, Smith Y, Weinshenker D. Light and electron microscopic localization of alpha-1 adrenergic receptor immunoreactivity in the rat striatum and ventral midbrain. Neuroscience 158: 1530-40 (2009).

Rommelfanger KS, Weinshenker D. Norepinephrine: The redheaded stepchild of Parkinson ’s disease. Biochem Pharmacol 74: 177-190 (Invited review, 2007).

Rommelfanger KS, Edwards GL, Freeman KG, Liles LC, Weinshenker D. Norepinephrine loss produces more profound motor deficits than MPTP treatment in mice. PNAS 104: 13804-9 (2007). **This article was featured in Scientific American: Fingering the Neural Perp in Parkinson’s Disease (2007).