Carol Barnes

Carol Barnes's picture
Real name: 
Regents' Professor, Psychology, Neurology and Neuroscience
Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging
Director, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute
Director, Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging
Degree(s): 

1971 B.A. (Honors), Psychology, University of California, Riverside, California
1972 M.A., Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
1977 Ph.D. (Cum Laude), Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Research Interests: 
  • To examine the neurobiological mechanisms of normal memory decline with age. 
  • To understand how memory is impacted in the normal aging brain, so that abnormal departures from this can be detected and identified.
  • To transform what we learn in animal models of normal aging into treatments that optimize and extend the cognitive healthspan of older individuals.

My work over the past four decades has focused on the aging brain, and how cognition changes during the course of normal aging.  I use animal models of human aging that allow a detailed examination of the brain mechanisms of learning and memory, and the circuits responsible for complex cognitive function. 

I use behavioral, anatomical, electrophysiological and molecular approaches to the problem of understanding brain aging – and believe that many levels of analysis are required to penetrate the mysteries of how the brain functions across the lifespan. 

The hope is that one day we will be able to positively change cognitive aging trajectories significantly.

Selected Publications: 

Penner, M.R., Roth, T.L., Chawla, M.K., Hoang, L.T., Roth, E.D., Lubin, F.D., Sweatt, D.J., Worley, P.F. and Barnes C.A.  (2011) Age-related changes in Arc transcription and DNA methylation within the hippocampus.  Neurobiology of Aging, 32:2198-2210.

Insel, N., Patron, L.A., Hoang, L.T., Nematollahi, S. and Barnes C.A. (2012) Reduced gamma frequency in the medial frontal cortex of aged rats during behavior and rest: Implications for aged-related behavioral slowing.  Journal of Neuroscience, 32:16331-16344.

Schimanski, L.A., Lipa, P. and Barnes, C.A. (2013) Tracking the course of hippocampal representations during learning: When is the map required?  Journal of Neuroscience, 33:3094-3106.

Burke, S.N., Maurer, A.P., Nematollahi, S., Uprety, A., Wallace, J.L. and Barnes, C.A. (2014) Advanced age dissociates dual functions of the perirhinal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 34:467-480. 

Gray, D.T. and Barnes, C.A. (2015) Distinguishing adaptive plasticity from vulnerability in the aging hippocampus. Neuroscience, in press.  doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.08.001 

Samson, R.D., Venkatesh, A., Lester, A.W., Weinstein, A.T., Lipa, P., and Barnes, C.A. (2015) Age differences in strategy selection and risk preference during risk-based decision making.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 129:138-148

Thome, A., Gray, D.T., Erickson, C.A., Lipa P. and Barnes, C.A. (2016) Memory impairment in aged primates is associated with region-specific network dysfunction.  Molecular Psychiatry, 21:1257-1262.

Courses Taught: 

GERO/PSY/NRSC/CPH 424/524: Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Research Area: 
Research Program: