Tallie Z. Baram

officialTZBWe are interested in how early-life experience (specifically stress or seizures) influence the function of brain cells persistently (‘re-program’ them), to result in human disease. We aim to understand the mechanisms of this neuroplasticity and employ the information to design therapies for prevention/treatment of stress-related disorders and epilepsy, respectively. Lab members use animal models and in vitro systems including slice cultures and dissociated neurons to study: (a) how seizures induce large-scale, epigenetic changes in gene transcription programs in neurons, including expression of ion channels; how ion channels are trafficked in neurons and how this trafficking is altered by seizures; and how inflammatory mediators contribute to the process by which the brain becomes epileptic after long febrile seizures. Students use use cutting edge methods in molecular biology (ChIP), live imaging of genetically manipulated neurons, and high resolution (11T ) in vivo imaging. (b) how early life stress or enriched experience modify gene expression and synaptic function in the hippocampus and in specific hypothalamic neurons, predisposing to- or protecting from-cognitive decline and stress-related disorders. Students use genetically modified mice where hippocampal neurons are visible to examine in real time how stress and hormones influence dendritic spine dynamics and neuronal structure. They test how these changes influence learning and memory. Mechanisms of experience- induced changes in neuronal gene expression (programming) are studied using neuroanatomical, molecular biology and physiological approaches. Lab members collaborate extensively, and publish in outstanding journals.

Lab Website

UCI Faculty Profile

Interests: brain health, stress, seizures, mental health, depression, maternal care. 

Professor Baram in the News

Jan 2016 – Put the cellphone away! Fragmented baby care can affect brain development
UCI study shows maternal infant-rearing link to adolescent depression. The UCI researchers discovered that erratic maternal care of infants can increase the likelihood of risky behaviors, drug seeking and depression in adolescence and adult life. Because cellphones have become so ubiquitous and users have become so accustomed to frequently checking and utilizing them, the findings of this study are highly relevant to today’s mothers and babies … and tomorrow’s adolescents and adults.

Nov 2013 – Dr. Tallie Z Baram receives 2013 Bernard Sachs Award from the Child Neurology Society

June 2013 – UCI gains $10 million for mental health study – OC Register
“Dr. Tallie Baram, a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist, said researchers are studying children from the womb through the teenage years to better understand causes of depression, risk-taking behavior and other mental health disorders.”