Research interests

Figure 7

Proposed mechanism of microglia priming with age ( Fonken et al, J Neurosci, 2016).

The major emphases of Dr. Fonken’s current research are : (1) to understand how heightened neuroinflammatory responses in the aged brain contribute to age-associated mood disorders and cognitive impairments, (2) to determine how circadian rhythms in neuroinflammatory processes, and conditions that disrupt circadian rhythms (such as aging), leave individuals susceptible to disease, and (3) to establish mechanisms mediating sex difference in neuroinflammatory function following exposure to stressors.

Selected publications (Full list)

Fonken, L.K., Workman, J.L., Walton, J.C., Weil, Z.M., Morris, J.S., Haim, A., & Nelson, R.J. (2010). Light at night increases body mass by shifting the time of food intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (43): 18664-18669. * featured in F1000 and popular press

Fonken, L.K., Xu, X., Weil, Z.M., Chen, G., Sun, Q., Rajagopalan, S., & Nelson, R.J. (2011). Air pollution impairs cognition, provokes depressive-like behaviors, and alters hippocampal cytokine expression and morphology. Molecular Psychiatry. 16 (10): 987-995.

Fonken, L.K. & Nelson, R.J. (2014). The effects of light at night on circadian clocks and metabolism. Endocrine Reviews 35 (4): 648-670.

Fonken, L.K., Frank, M.G., Kitt, M.M., Barrientos, R.M., Watkins, L.R., & Maier, S.F. (2015). Microglia inflammatory responses are controlled by an intrinsic circadian clock. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 45: 171-179.

Fonken, L.K., Frank, M.G., Kitt, M.M., D’Angelo, H.M., Norden, D.M., Weber, M.D., Barrientos, R.M., Godbout, J.P., Watkins, L.R., & Maier, S.M. (2016). The alarmin HMGB1 mediates age-induced neuroinflammatory priming. The Journal of Neuroscience 36 (30): 7946-7956.