Carol A. Barnes, PhD

Regents' Professor, Psychology and Neurology,

Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neural Systems Memory and Aging 

Director, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute

Associate Director of BIO5 Institute

Life Sciences North Room 349
P.O. Box 210221
Tucson, AZ, 85721-0221

(520) 626-2616
Email Address:
  • Carleton University, 1977 (Ph.D.)
Major Areas of Research Interest: 

The central goal of my research program is the delineation of brain changes during late ontogeny (senescence) and the functional consequences of these changes on information processing and memory in older organisms. A major emphasis of this work has been an examination of the relationship between age-related neurological change in the hippocampal formation (of rat), and the accompanying decline of spatial memory processes. Several areas of neurophysiological study are in progress: synaptic transmission and its modification through experience; postsynaptic integration and electrical excitability; and analysis of single unit activity in the intact freely moving animal. The methods used in our laboratory involve extra- and intracellular stimulation and recording in the in vitro hippocampal slice preparation and extracellular techniques in both the acute (anesthetized) and chronically prepared (unrestrained) animal. Behavioral tests of spatial perception and memory (known to require an intact hippocampus for their proper performance) are routinely used in conjunction with some of the neurophysiological experiments. The long-term goal of this work is a more complete understanding of the biological basis for the deterioration of cognitive function known to occur in the elderly. My current work also includes an assessment of therapeutic agents that may be promising in the alleviation or delay neural and cognitive changes observed with age.

Selected Publications: 

Burke SN. Barnes CA. Neural plasticity in the ageing brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 7(1):30-40, 2006.

Kelly KM. Nadon NL. Morrison JH. Thibault O. Barnes CA. Blalock EM. The neurobiology of aging. Epilepsy Research. 68 Suppl 1:S5-20, 2006.

Guzowski JF. Miyashita T. Chawla MK. Sanderson J. Maes LI. Houston FP. Lipa P. McNaughton BL. Worley PF. Barnes CA. Recent behavioral history modifies coupling between cell activity and Arc gene transcription in hippocampal CA1 neurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 103(4):1077-82, 2006.

Terrazas A. Krause M. Lipa P. Gothard KM. Barnes CA. McNaughton BL. Self-motion and the hippocampal spatial metric. Journal of Neuroscience. 25(35):8085-96, 2005.

Leutgeb JK. Leutgeb S. Treves A. Meyer R. Barnes CA. McNaughton BL. Moser MB. Moser EI. Progressive transformation of hippocampal neuronal representations in "morphed" environments. Neuron. 48(2):345-58, 2005.

Guzowski JF. Timlin JA. Roysam B. McNaughton BL. Worley PF. Barnes CA. Mapping behaviorally relevant neural circuits with immediate-early gene expression. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 15(5):599-606, 2005.

Sponsored Research Through MSRP: 

Jason Gerrard (MSRP 1997): "Age related changes in hippocampal correlations and reactivation."

NIH High School Student Research Program: 

-Andrea I. Groh, Palo Verde Magnet High School, 2001
-Kathryne Joyce Martin, Morenci High School, 2001
-Angelina A. Guerra, Baboquivari High School, 2002
-Heidi Rebecca Hofer, Sunnyside High School, 2002

-Dianna Padilla, Nogales High School, 2010

Last Updated: 
November 18, 2015