Department of Psychology

Todd C. Peterson

Todd C. Peterson

Dr. Todd C. Peterson, Assistant Professor
Post-doctoral fellowship, Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2018
Ph.D., Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Southern Illinois University, 2013
M.S., Behavior Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2010
B.A., Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2006

Teaching Laboratory Building, Rm 3096
601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 962-0530

email me laboratory website 

Relatively permanent changes to the nervous system occur in response to environmental conditions imposed upon an organism, including stimulus characteristics, behavioral processes, or neural insult. I am interested in the response of the central nervous system to insult specifically traumatic brain injury or stroke. These types of injury are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, for which there are few effective treatments.

One of the major consequences of neural insult is neuroinflammation. This cascade can be both beneficial and detrimental, and there is much to be learned about the dynamics of this complicated response. It is characterized by increases in pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines, leukocyte invasion, blood-brain barrier permeability, and glial activation. Astrocytes and microglia are glial cells that are activated following injury and have been shown to regulate the immune response. I am interested in elucidating the multicellular neuroinflammatory response in hopes of developing therapeutic treatments for central nervous system damage.

In particular, I am interested in studying the neuroinflammatory response to stroke, which is exacerbated following stroke. Obesity is a serious chronic inflammatory disease. People who are obese are 65% more likely to have a stroke. The interaction between this peripheral inflammatory condition and the neuroinflammatory response following stroke has not been well studied. I am interested in defining the underlying mechanistic underpinnings of the increased neuroinflammatory response seen in the obese. Shedding light on this process will lead to potential therapeutic treatments for stroke in the obese.

I grew up in the Midwest, but I have quickly been adapting to the beach lifestyle. When I am not working vigorously in the laboratory, I enjoy many sports including long distance running, volleyball, snowboarding, and most water sports (wakeboarding, kiteboarding, and surfing).

Select Publications

Peterson, T. C., Brahms, E., Lui, A., Buckwalter, M. S. (2020). Obesity drives delayed infarct expansion, inflammation, and distinct gene networks in a mouse stroke model. Translational Stroke Research, doi: 10.1007/s12975-020-00826-9.

Lechtenberg, K. J., Meyer, S. T., Doyle, J. B., Peterson, T. C., Buckwalter, M. S. (2019). b2-adrenergic signaling reduces microglial and monocyte proliferation and dampens the neuroinflammatory response following ischemic stroke. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 16 (1), 112-130. doi: 10.1186/s12974-019-1506-4.

Yousef, H., Czupalla, C. J., Lee, D., Chen, M. B., Burke, A., Zandstra, J., Berber, E., Lehallier, B., Mathur, V., Nair, R. V., Bonanno, L., Yang, A. C., Peterson, T. C., Hadeiba, H., Merkel, T., Zera, K. A., Korbelin, J., Schwaninger, M., Buckwalter, M. S., Quake, S., Butcher, E. C., Wyss-Coray, T. (2019). Aged blood impairs hippocampal neural precursor and activates microglial activity via brain endothelial cell VCAM1. Nature Medicine, 25 (6), 988-1000. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0440-4.

Chaney, A., Cropper, H. C., Johnson, E. M., Lechtenberg, K. J., Peterson, T. C., Buckwalter, M. S., James, M. L. (2018). 11CDPA-713 versus and 18FGE180: A preclinical comparison of TSPO-PET tracers to visualize acute and chronic neuroinflammation in a mouse model of ischemic stroke. Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Liddelow, S. A., Clarke, L. E., Bennett, M. L., Bennett, F. C., Munch, A. E., Guttenplan, A. E., Shirmer, L., Chung, W., Peterson, T. C., Wilton, D. K., Frouin, A., Napier, B. A., Panicker, N., Kumar, M., Dawson, V. L., Dawson, T. M., Buckwalter, M. S., Rowitch, D. H., Stevens, B., & Barres, B. A. (2017). Activated microglia induce neurotoxic astrocytes via Il-1α, TNFα, and C1q. Nature. 00, 1-7. Doi: 10.1038/nature21029.

Peterson, T. C., Maass, W., Anderson, J. R., & Hoane, M. R. (2015). Behavioral and histological characterization of fluid percussion injury and controlled cortical impact injury to the rat sensorimotor cortex. Behavioral Brain Research, 294, 254-263. Doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.08.007.

Peterson, T. C., Hoane, M. R., McConomy, K. S., Farin, F. M., Bammler, T. K., MacDonald, J. W., Kantor, E. D., & Anderson, G. D. (2015). A combination therapy of nicotinamide and progesterone for functional recovery following traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 32 (11), 765-779. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3530.

Peterson, T. C., Anderson, G., & Hoane, M. R. (2012). A comparison of the effects of nicotinamide and progesterone on functional recovery of cognitive behavior following cortical contusion injury in the rat. Journal of Neurotrauma, 29, 2823-2830. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2013.00129.

Peterson, T. C., Villatoro, L. O., Arneson, T., Ahuja, B., Voss, S., & Swain, R. (2012). Behavior modification after inactivation of the cerebellar dentate nuclei. Behavioral Neuroscience, 126, 551-562. doi: 10.1037/a0028701.