Manuel (Manolo) Diaz-Rios PhD
Professor of Neuroscience and Biology
Chair of Neuroscience Program, Bowdoin College
Since my introduction to scientific research as an undergraduate student more than 25 years ago, my fascination on how nature shapes and changes behavior has increased 100-fold. Specifically, the relationship between groups of neurons (termed neural networks) and their control of motor behavior (such as walking, breathing, swimming). Our lab uses the mouse spinal cord as our experimental model to understand the cellular mechanisms by which plastic contaminants as well as other environmental stressors such as temperature affect central nervous system function. We are also exploring the use of natural neuroprotectants such as Rosmarinic Acid to reduce the impact of plasticizer-induced inflammation and oxidative damage on neurons. We use neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and molecular techniques to measure the impact of plasticizers and of natural neuroprotectant compounds. We hope to inform the public and create awareness of how pollution and global warming is slowly but consistently affecting the welfare of animals and humans alike. Finally, our lab is highly committed in recruiting students underrepresented in science (including Hispanics and women) to a highly stimulating laboratory environment with four of our five last publications from our laboratory have included undergraduate students as contributing authors.