Edward J Caliguri, Ph.D.
Instructor in Biochemistry
My area of specialization includes instrumental development, testing and deployment in our laboratory. These developments are then further refined while specifically targeted to the CNS problems also being studied by our research group.
Description of Research Interest
My laboratory work has always been centered on the study of the chemistry of the central nervous system in man and other animals. Because of its enormous complexity and seemingly endless array of activities under its control, our efforts regularly employ a two headed approach when asking a question to solve a problem.
The first involves the development of instrumentation and modification of existing hardware and techniques to be able to gather the research data and information in the range where it will be suited to be informative. This includes new types of in vivo analysis methods, micro, ultra high performance, or capillary based chromatography methods, many employing specialized electrochemical detector cells built to observe sub femtogram changes in concentration of chemicals of interest. Whatever it takes, most of the time we end up pushing existing methods to the limits or building our own. In addition, we have been keenly interested in developing in vivo methods of analysis in order to observe and quantify changes in brain chemistry and correlate these changes to a behavioral paradigm. Using advanced processes and algorithms, as well as our own modified or lab-built in vivo probes (either miniature dialysis or active AC or DC electrochemical based implanted sub femtometer in diameter based carbon fiber electrodes).
Another area of great interest is the widespread use and function of anti-depressants, such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Venlafaxine (Effexor) along with many others. It is beginning to appear that over long periods of time, other transmitter systems are being altered. We wish to explore this problem further, and see if these changes are harmful and, if so, reversible.
Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease are still not well understood. Since it has been shown there numerous subtypes of both these disorders, as well as available animal models, it may be possible to early identify and halt progression of some forms.
Lately we have come to be quite interested in Autism, a very debilitating disease that has shown to be resilient to many treatments. Our work involves studying Serotonin as a peripheral marker to the severity of this disease. Going forward we may be able to see if and how Serotonin, along with other transmitters and metabolic disturbances may play a role in this disease, and help lead to its cure. New biomedical models are being produced that will assist in answering some of our questions.
Other areas of study can be behavioral in nature. Studies that continue looking at the role of the neurotransmitter Serotonin in the limbic system and prefrontal cortex of two types of American Voles: the Prairie Vole Microtus ochrogaster and the Meadow Voles Microtus pennsylvanicus, the former pair bond mates for life while the latter does not. Serotonin seems to play a role in this parenting, mating behavior. Also in this area is our interest in the neurohormone Melatonin, a compound made in the pineal gland of most animals in a circadian fashion, it helps regulate behaviors fit for specific times of year.
Degrees and Certifications
BS Chemistry, Boston College (1981)
Ph.D. Analytical Biochemistry and Neuroscience, Boston College (1986)
DVM Training Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (Three Years to 1991)
Post Doctoral Training Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Hospital (1990)
Post Doctoral Training National Institutes of Mental Health, NIH (1990 and 1991)
Biochemistry, Computational Analytical Biochemistry, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology
My other interests include photography, playing guitar and scuba diving.