Tim Aumann is a research fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. His research interests are adult brain plasticity and neural control of movement. He currently heads the midbrain dopamine plasticity laboratory and is studying how our environment and the neural activity it stimulates in the midbrain controls the dopamine phenotype of midbrain neurons. We have discovered that the number of midbrain dopamine neurons can be increased or decreased by exposing adult mice or humans to different environmental stimuli such as the amount of light, pairing with the opposite sex, or novel physical activity. Administering drugs that alter the activity of midbrain neurons produces similar changes. We are also compiling evidence that these changes in number of midbrain dopamine neurons regulate midbrain dopamine-dependent behaviors. If so, our discovery may be useful for treating symptoms of too much or too little midbrain dopamine in e.g. drug addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, depression, Parkinson’s disease (PD), dyskinesia and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Selected recent publications:
1. Aumann, T.D., Raabus, M., Tomas, D., Prijanto, H., Churilov, L., Spitzer, N.C. & Horne, M.K. (2016) Differences in number of midbrain dopamine neurons associated with summer and winter photoperiods in humans. PLOS ONE (in press 06/20/2016).
2. Aumann, T.D. (2016) Environment- and activity-dependent dopamine neurotransmitter plasticity in the adult substantia nigra. J Chem Neuroanat 73:21-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.12.009.
3. Aumann, T.D. and Prut, Y. (2015) Do β-oscillations maintain motor system muscle representations? Trends in Neurosciences 38:77-85 doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.12.002.
4. Tomas, D., Prijanto, A.H., Burrows, E.L., Hannan, A.J., Horne, M.K. & Aumann, T.D. (2