IIN Frontiers in Nanotechnology Seminar Series – Ryan Jankord
Dr. Ryan Jankord
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Sponsored by Northwestern University and the Air Force Center of Excellence
The purpose of our research is to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms by which performance can be enhanced. This talk will highlight two of the major research thrusts of our team: 1) stress neurobiology and 2) brain stimulation. The purpose of the stress neurobiology research is to understand the biological effects of a high stress environment and to identify genetic factors that convey resiliency for cognitive performance in that environment. To identify the critical genetic factors, a behavioral genetics mouse model was utilized to map the effects of stress on behavioral performance to specific chromosomal regions. The purpose of the brain stimulation research is to understand the mechanisms by which cognitive performance can be maintained or enhanced by studying the neurobiological effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Results show that tDCS can enhance the synaptic plasticity of the hippocampus, an important neuronal process for learning and memory. The use of multiple approaches to affect brain and behavior allows us to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms by which brain function can be modulated.
Dr. Ryan Jankord is the lead investigator for the Neurobiology of Cognitive Performance Team in the Applied Neuroscience Branch, Human Effectiveness Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The goal of his research team is to understand the biological mechanisms by which brain function and behavior are modulated. His team utilizes rodent models to better understand the link between behavioral phenotypes and neurobiological mechanisms. Since joining AFRL in 2010, Dr. Jankord has established the Applied Neuroscience Branch’s animal, genetic and molecular biology research program. Some highlights of this program include the identification of novel gene targets that predict performance and novel insights into the biological effects of non-invasive brain stimulation. Dr. Jankord obtained his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Missouri and did his postdoctoral fellowship in the Stress Neurobiology laboratory of Dr. James Herman at the University of Cincinnati. As a trainee, Dr. Jankord was the recipient of several National Institutes of Health (NIH) training awards, including the NIH K99/R00 award. Dr. Jankord currently serves as the principal investigator for two multi-year Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) awards. Dr. Jankord also holds an adjunct faculty position at Wright State University and serves as an advisor for thesis projects with graduate students from three departments (Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and Computer Science).