Molecular Neurobiology Group

We study how neurons and glia come together to create networks that underly our physiology and behavior to better understand pathophysiologies, behavioral disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Current Research Projects

Functional mapping of central noradrenergic neurons in the control of breathing

Several respiratory pathophysiologies including SIDS, Rett syndrome, and CCHS feature both disordered breathing and are associated with brainstem noradrenergic system (NA) abnormalities.

Screening for genes and pre-natal exposures in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome claims the lives of as many as 14 infants each day in the United States alone. SIDS is typically defined as the death of an otherwise healthy infant, which leave few clues to understand how this devastating disease may occur.

COVID-19 and the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the nervous system

The current pandemic has revealed a multitude neurological sequelae in both the acute phase of infection and long lasting after the infection has cleared (Long COVID). It remains unclear whether these effects are the result of direct nervous system infection or stem from indirect inflammatory effects, neuro-vascular damage, or PAMPS/DAMPS (Pathogen associated molecular patterns or Damage associated molecular patterns) crossing the blood brain barrier.

Recent Publications

Autonomic Development

Mouse Neonatal Pneutomach Design

A Cautionary Tale on Cre Drivers

Ray Lab Blog

Savannah receives 2021 Trainee Professional Development Award

Congratulations to Savannah on receiving a 2021 Trainee Professional Development Award! Savannah will be presenting a poster at SfN 2021 on a new respiratory analysis software platform for neural control of breathing studies.

Jarret Lowe joins the lab

I am pleased to welcome Jarrett Lowe to the lab! Jarrett comes from the Knock Out Mouse Project (KOMP) at Baylor College of Medicine.  At KOMP he was involved in the high throughput production of mouse mutants for phenotyping as well as different phenotyping assays. In our lab, Jarrett will be involved in colony maintenance, starting up the breeding and handling for our upcoming SIDS genetic screen, and mouse phenotyping.

Dr. Ray announced as a recipient of the 2022 Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award

Dr. Russell Ray, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at BCM, was just announced as a recipient of the 2022 Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award in the category of Teaching and Evaluation! Learn more about the award by clicking here.

Eunice Lands Prestigious GE Internship/Scholarship

In other fantastic news, undergraduate Ray Lab alum Eunice Aissi, has been offered a highly prestigious position at General Electric in their renewables division. Eunice won the position after presenting her work in the lab on the Automated Closed Loop Neonate Respiratory Measurement System. The position will allow her to gain valuable work experience while covering tuition for a Master’s degree. Congratulations!

Dr. Ray gives talk at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Dr. Ray was invited by the Mind Brain and Behavior Collaborative and the Center for Pediatric Neuroscience Seminar Series at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to present his research. The title of Dr. Ray’s talk was “Genetic Mapping of Central Noradrenergic Neurons Reveals Distinct Subpopulations Involved in Respiratory Homeostasis with Implications for SIDS and Rett Syndrome”.

Dr. Ray presents at workshop hosted by NHLBI

Dr. Ray contributed a section of this workshop hosted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: The Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Infection on Ventilatory Control. You can watch the presentation by clicking here.

Lab scores an R01 in the third percentile!

The lab recently submitted an RO1 grant with the aim of utilizing a recently developed automated closed loop neonate respiratory assessment platform to screen mouse mutants from the BCM KOMP effort. KOMP, or the Knockout Mouse Project is an international effort to mutate and broadly phenotype every gene in the mouse genome. The grant will leverage an array of our newly developed platforms to screen KOMP mutants for phenotypes in protective neonate respiratory reflexes that may be disrupted in Sudden…

Dipak Patel joins the lab

We are excited to welcome Dipak Patel to the lab as a new Graduate student in the lab. Dipak is a first year student in the Genetics and Genomics Program. Prior to coming to BCM Dipak did his Bachelor’s at Illinois State University. He also worked as Research Assistant at MD Anderson in yeast. Somehow, the immeasurably longer generation time of mice as compared to yeast or flies has not scared Dipak off.

Dr. Ray selected to serve on NIH Study Section

Dr. Russell Ray has been selected to serve on the Respiratory Integrative Biology and Translational Research Study Section at NIH! This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort and a testament to his achievements in his field.  

Savannah Lusk Receives Diversity Supplement

Congratulations Savannah! She just received an NIH Diversity Supplement to our recently renewed NIH Grant on mapping noradrenergic neurons in respiratory control. Savannah’s work will focus on the potential interplay between the noradrenergic and serotonergic systems in protective neonate respiratory reflexes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is well known that serotonergic deficiencies are linked to SIDS and when modeled in animals, disrupt breathing and chemosensory reflexes. Preliminary data in our lab suggests that noradrenergic system manipulations may be…