Faculty Image

Barry Waterhouse, Ph.D.

Professor, Neurobiology and Anatomy
Vice Dean, Biomedical Graduate and Postgraduate Studies

  • DEPARTMENT: Neurobiology and Anatomy 
  • RESEARCH INTERESTS:  Role of central monoaminergic systems in brain function and behavior
  • EDUCATION:  Ph.D., 1977, Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine
  • RESEARCH STAFF:  Brian Clark, Ph.D., Brenna Duffy
  • GRADUATE STUDENTS: Richard Chu, Daniel Chandler, Gerard Zhitnik, Rachel Navarra, Chris Gutoskey

Research Interests:

The primary research focus of the Waterhouse laboratory is to understand the role of the central monoaminergic systems in brain function and behavior. More specifically, the lab is concerned with the anatomy and physiology of the brainstem noradrenergic and serotonergic efferent systems as they relate to executive function and the sensory-processing capabilities of an organism.

These studies employ a broad spectrum of neuroanatomical, behavioral, and electrophysiological techniques including microiontophoresis, single unit extracellular recording from anesthetized animals, simultaneous spike train recordings from multiple arrays of single neurons in awake animals, computer-based acquisition and analysis of spike train data, behavioral paradigms for evaluating sustained and flexible attention, mapping of monoamine projections from source nuclei using retrograde tracer substances, and molecular phenotyping of laser captured neurons using rtPCR.

The underlying theme of this work is that synaptically released norepinephrine and serotonin operate as complementary neuromodulatory substances, which regulate the responsiveness of sensory neurons and sensory circuits to synaptic inputs. As such, these systems may play a significant role in the ability of the organism to orient and attend to novel or salient stimuli from the sensory surround.  More recent work focuses on regulation of prefrontal cortical circuit physiology and executive function. 

Clinical implications of this work which have led to related experimental studies are that these monoaminergic systems may underlie some of the behavioral actions of psychostimulant drugs such as cocaine and methylphenidate (Ritalin®) and the cognitive deficits that accompany normal aging, anxiety/PTSD, HIV neuroAIDS, and attention disorders such as ADHD.

Waterhouse Lab Website

Selected Grants Funded

"Phenotypic Diversity of Neurons Modulating Executive Function in ADHD"
Principal investigator: Wen-Jun Gao, Ph.D. (Neurobiology & Anatomy)
Co-investigator: Barry Waterhouse, Ph.D.
Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) Grant (2013)

Selected Publications

"Distinct age-dependent effects of methylphenidate on developing and adult prefrontal neurons"
Urban KR, Waterhouse BD, Gao W-J
Biol Psychiat. 6:1-9. PMID:22609367,  2012.

"Evidence for broad versus segregated projections from cholinergic and noradrenergic nuclei to functionally and anatomically discrete subregions of prefrontal cortex"
Chandler DJ and Waterhouse BD 
Frontiers in Behav Neurosci 6:20. PMID:22661934, 2012.

"Role of corticotropin-releasing factor acting at the locus coeruleus disrupts thalamic and cortical sensory-evoked responses"
Devilbiss DM, Waterhouse BD, Berridge CW, Valentino R
Neuropsychopharmacology 37:2020-30 PMID:22510725, 2012.

"Effects of repeated 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine administration on neurotransmitter efflux and sensory-evoked discharge in the ventral posterior medial thalamus"
Starr M, Page M, Waterhouse BD
J. Pharmacol Exptl Ther. 340:73-82. PMID:21984836, 2012.

"Atomoxetine facilitates attentional set shifting in adolescent rats"
Cain RE, Wasserman MC, Waterhouse BD, McGaughy
Dev Cogn Neurosci 1:552-559. PMID:21927630, 2011.

"Differential sensitivity to psychostimulants across prefrontal cognitive tasks: differential involvement of noradrenergic a1- and a2-receptors"
Berridge CW, Shumsky JS, Andrzejewski ME, McGaughy JA, Spencer RC, Devilbiss DM, Waterhouse BD
Biol. Psychiatry 201:467-473. PMID: 21890109, 2011.

"Phasic and tonic patterns of locus coeruleus output differentially modulate neuronal responsiveness to synaptic inputs in sensory networks of waking animals"
Devilbiss DM, Waterhouse BD
J Neurophysiology 105:69-87. PMID:20980542, 2011.

"Acute low-dose MDMA ({plus minus}3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine) administration selectively increases serotonin efflux in vibrissae-related sensory regions of rat thalamus"
Starr M, Page M, Waterhouse BD
J. Pharmacol. Exptl Ther. 327:20-31, 2008.

"Neurophysiological actions of methylphenidate in the primary somatosensory cortex"
Drouin C, Wang D, Waterhouse BD
Synapse 12:985-90. PMID:17854047, 2007.

"The locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system:  modulation of behavioral state and state-dependent cognitive processes"
Berridge CW and Waterhouse BD
Brain Res. Rev. 42: 33-84.  PMID:12668290, 2003.

In The News

"Focus on Focus"
Exel - Drexel University Research Magazine (2013)

"Rats & 'Senior Moments'"
Exel - Drexel University Research Magazine (2013)



  • Drexel University College of Medicine 
  • 2900 Queen Lane, G24
    Philadelphia, PA 19129
  • Phone:215-991-8411
  • Fax: 215-843-5810
  • bwaterho@drexelmed.edu

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