Department of Neurobiology
Seal, Rebecca P., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Neurobiology
Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research
Address: 6058 BST3
   3501 Fifth Avenue
   Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3301
Telephone: 412-624-5183
Fax: 412-383-5267

The Seal laboratory studies the neural circuitry that drives behavior in health and disease. We are currently focused on the following circuits: i) peripheral and central pain circuits, ii) motor circuits affected by Parkinson’s disease iii) glutamate and GABA co-release by forebrain cholinergic neurons and iv) peripheral and central auditory circuits. We aim to discover fundamental principals and mechanisms of the nervous system as well as identify novel treatment strategies for nervous system disorders.

Experimental Approach: We use mice as a model system and techniques such as virally-mediated designer receptors (DREADDs) to selectively activate or inhibit neurons, virally-mediated anterograde and retrograde tools to trace circuits, slice electrophysiology with optogenetic stimulation, confocal and 2-photon microscopy, molecular biology, histology, biochemistry and behavior.

For more details visit the Seal Lab website at

Select Publications: (For a complete list go to PubMed or Google Scholar)

Peripheral and Central Pain Circuits:

Neural circuits for pain: Recent advances and current views.
Peirs C, Seal RP.
Science. 2016 Nov 4;354(6312):578-584.

Illuminating the Gap: Neuronal Cross-Talk within Sensory Ganglia and Persistent Pain.
Seal RP
Neuron. 2016 Sep 7;91(5):950-1.

Do the distinct synaptic properties of VGLUTs shape pain?
Seal RP
Neurochem Int. 2016 Sep;98:82-8.

Targeting Toll-like receptors to treat chronic pain.
Peirs C, Seal RP.
Nat Med. 2015 Nov 5;21(11):1251-2.

Dorsal Horn Circuits for Persistent Mechanical Pain.
Peirs C, Williams SPG, Zhao X, Walsh CE, Gedeon JY, Cagle NE, Goldring AC, Hioki H, Liu Z, Marell PS, Seal RP.
Neuron. 2015 Aug 19;87(4):797-812.

Injury-induced mechanical hypersensitivity requires C-low threshold mechanoreceptors.
Seal RP, Wang X, Guan Y, Raja SN, Woodbury CJ, Basbaum AI, Edwards RH.
Nature. 2009 Dec 3;462(7273):651-5.

Motor Circuits Affected by Parkinson's Disease:

Loss of VGLUT3 Produces Circadian-Dependent Hyperdopaminergia and Ameliorates Motor Dysfunction and l-Dopa-Mediated Dyskinesias in a Model of Parkinson's Disease.
Divito CB, Steece-Collier K, Case DT, Williams SP, Stancati JA, Zhi L, Rubio ME, Sortwell CE, Collier TJ, Sulzer D, Edwards RH, Zhang H, Seal RP.
J Neurosci. 2015 Nov 11;35(45):14983-99.

Glutamate and GABA Co-release by Forebrain Chollinergic Neurons:

Layer- and cell type-selective co-transmission by a basal forebrain cholinergic projection to the olfactory bulb.
Case DT, Burton SD, Gedeon JY, Williams SG, Urban NN, Seal RP.
Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 21;8(1):652.

Striatal Cholinergic Neurotransmission Requires VGLUT3.
Nelson AB, Bussert TG, Kreitzer AC, Seal RP.
J Neurosci. 2014 Jun 25;34(26):8772-7.

Striatal cholinergic interneurons drive GABA release from dopamine terminals.
Nelson AB, Hammack N, Yang CF, Shah NM, Seal RP, Kreitzer AC.
Neuron. 2014 Apr 2;82(1):63-70.

Peripheral and Central Auditory Circuits:

Restoration of hearing in the VGLUT3 knockout mouse using virally mediated gene therapy.
Akil O, Seal RP, Burke K, Wang C, Alem A, During MJ, Edwards RH, Lustig LR.
Neuron. 2012 Jul 26;75(2):283-93.

Sensorineural deafness and seizures in mice lacking vesicular glutamate transporter 3.
Seal RP, Akil O, Yi E, Weber CM, Grant L, Yoo J, Clause A, Kandler K, Noebels JL, Glowatzki E, Lustig LR, Edwards RH.
Neuron. 2008 Jan 24;57(2):263-75.


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