My long-term aspiration is to understand the contribution of neonatal stress to the development of mental and age-related cognitive disorders. In my PhD research at Indiana University, I used a model of adverse early experience, maternal separation, to assess the role of glucocorticoid receptors both neonatally and in adulthood in mediating the detrimental effects of adverse early experience on a simple type of motor learning. My postdoctoral research under Dr. Bruce McNaughton, has been directed at understanding a brain network for performing coordinate transformation between person-centered and world-centered representations of the external environment. This network was predicted by two models, and includes the posterior parietal cortex, the hippocampus and structures in-between. I have also begun to explore the role of this parietal-hippocampal network in learning and remembering spatial sequences using behavioral tasks and by assessing memory replay during rest.
As an independent researcher I am interested in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms that allow us to translate between person-centered/world-centered representations and how these same systems participate in learning and memory. My work exploring these normal mechanisms will inform my parallel research on how these neural networks are altered by mental disorders and memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. This will allow me to achieve my long term goal to use the maternal separation model that I utilized during my PhD research to assess the contribution of neonatal stress to the development of mental and age-related cognitive disorders. Thus, I seek to develop a powerful program for assessing the interactive contributions of aging and neonatal stress to mental and age-related cognitive disorders.
- PhD at Indiana University.
- MS at Washington University in St. Louis.
- Wilber, A. A., Southwood, C. J., Sokoloff, G., Steinmetz, J. E., & Wellman, C. L. (2007). Neonatal maternal separation alters adult eyeblink conditioning and glucocorticoid receptor expression in the interpositus nucleus of the cerebellum. Developmental Neurobiology, 67, 1751-1764.
- Wilber, A. A., Southwood, C. J., & Wellman, C. L. (2009). Brief neonatal maternal separation alters extinction of conditioned fear and prefrontal NMDA receptor expression in adult rats. Developmental Neurobiology, 69, 73-87.
- Wilber, A. A., & Wellman, C. L. (2009). Neonatal maternal separation alters adult eyeblink conditioning and glucocorticoid receptor expression in cerebellar interpositus nucleus interneurons. Neuroscience Letters, 460, 214-218.
- Wilber, A. A., & Wellman, C. L. (2009). Neonatal maternal separation alters development of glucocorticoid receptor expression in the interpositus nucleus of the cerebellum. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 27, 649-654.
- Wilber, A. A., Lin, G.L., & Wellman, C. L. (2010). Glucocorticoid receptor blockade in the posterior interpositus nucleus reverses maternal separation-induced deficits in adult eyeblink conditioning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 94, 263-268.
- Wilber, A. A., Walker, A.G., Southwood, C. J., Rebec, G. V., & Wellman, C. L. (2011). Chronic stress alters neural activity in medial prefrontal cortex during retrieval of extinction. Neuroscience, 174, 115-131.
- Wilber, A. A., Lin, G. L., & Wellman, C. L. (2011). Neonatal corticosterone administration impairs adult eyeblink conditioning and decreases glucocorticoid receptor expression in the cerebellar interpositus nucleus. Neuroscience. 177, 56-65.
- Wilber, A. A., Clark, B. J., Forster, T.C., Tatsuno, M. & McNaughton, B.L. (2014) Interaction of egocentric and world-centered reference frames in the rat posterior parietal cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(16), 5431-5446.