Department of Psychology

Rachel A. Kohman

faculty photo

Dr. Rachel A. Kohman, Assistant Professor

Postdoctoral Fellow, The Beckman Institute, Univerisity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009-2012.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University, 2007-2009.
Ph.D., Behavioral Neuroscience, Texas Christian University, 2007.

Teaching Laboratory, Rm 3098

UNCW, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 962-3494 |

My background is in interdisciplinary field of psychoneuroimmunology, studying the intersection of behavioral neuroscience and immunology. The long-term goal of my research program is to characterize the functional consequences of increased inflammation within the brain, identify the neural mechanisms of these changes, and identify interventions to attenuate the aversive effects of neuroinflammation. A large focus of my work is in understanding how factors such as age, sex, diet and exercise influence the response to an immune challenge and subsequent effects on cognitive function. Currently, my lab is evaluating the contribution of age-related increases in neuroinflammation to cognitive decline and reductions in hippocampal neurogenesis and whether increasing physical activity will reduce neuroinflammation. Additionally we're evaluating the effects of consuming a diet high in fat content on neuroinflammatory measures and the behavioral responses to an immune challenge. To address these and other questions my lab employs a variety of behavioral tests and biological techniques such as immunohistochemistry, real-time RT-PCR, ELISA, and confocal microscopy. The objective of this research is to gain a better understanding of the interactions between the brain and the immune system, to facilitate development of novel pharmaceutical treatments, and explores non-drug based therapies in the form of physical exercise to attenuate chronic neuroinflammation.

Students interested in gaining research experience in my lab should contact me via the email address above.

Selected Publications

Kohman RA. (2012). Aging Microglia: Relevance to Cognition and Neural Plasticity. In Psychoneuroimmunology: Methods and Protocols, edited by Qing Yan, Springer.

Kohman RA, DeYoung EK, Bhattacharya TK, Peterson LN, Rhodes JS. (2012). Wheel running attenuates microglia proliferation and increases expression of a proneurogenic phenotype in the hippocampus of aged mice. Brain Behav Immun. Jul, 26(5):803-10. PMID: 22056294.

Kohman RA, Clark PJ, Deyoung EK, Bhattacharya TK, Venghaus CE, Rhodes JS. (2012). Voluntary wheel running enhances contextual but not trace fear conditioning. Behav Brain Res. Jan 1, 226(1):1-7. PMID: 21896289.

Clark PJ, Kohman RA, Miller DS, Bhattacharya TK, Brzezinska WJ, Rhodes JS. (2011). Genetic influences on exercise-induced adult hippocampal neurogenesis across 12 divergent mouse strains. Genes Brain Behav., 10(3):345-53. PMID: 21223504.

Kohman RA, Crowell B, Urbach-Ross D, Kusnecov AW. (2009). Influence of age on behavioral, immune, and endocrine responses to the T-cell superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin. Eur J Neurosci., 30:1329-38. PMID: 19788578.