Ph.D., M.A., The Johns Hopkins University
The primary focus of our research is to understand how aging, sex-steroid hormones, and environmental factors affect hippocampal function and hippocampal-dependent memory. This work is motivated by the rapidly expanding elderly population worldwide, which will greatly increase the prevalence of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Our ultimate goal is to help mitigate the impact of cognitive aging on the individual and society by facilitating the development of treatments to reduce or prevent age-related memory decline in humans. To this end, we utilize rodents as research subjects because rodent species offer an unparalleled opportunity to examine systems-level and cellular-level questions about memory formation in a mammalian system where the effects of aging, hormones, and environmental stimulation are similar to those in humans. Our studies combine a variety of approaches including behavioral, biochemical, pharmacological, genetic, and anatomical methods in order to gain a more detailed picture of the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of aging, estrogens, progestagens, and environmental enrichment on the hippocampus and hippocampal memory formation.
Psych 101: Introduction to Psychology
Psych 611-202: The Aging Brain
Psych 611-004: Neuropsychology of Aging
Zhao, Z., Fan, L., Fortress, A.M., Boulware, M.I., and Frick, K.M.(2012).Hippocampal histone acetylation regulates object recognition and the estradiol-induced enhancement of object recognition.Journal of Neuroscience, 32(7), 2344-2351.
Orr, P.T., Rubin, A.J., Fan, L., Kent, B.A., and Frick, K.M.(2012).The progesterone-induced enhancement of object recognition memory consolidation involves activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways in the dorsal hippocampus.Hormones and Behavior, 61(4), 487-495.
Boulware, M.I., Kent, B.A., and Frick, K.M.(2012).The impact of age-related ovarian hormone loss on cognitive and neural function.In: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences (Vol. 10): Behavioral Neurobiology of Aging, Pardon, M.-C. and Bondi, M. (Eds).Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag.pp. 165-184.
Frick, K.M.(2012).Building a better hormone therapy?:How understanding the rapid effects of sex steroid hormones could lead to novel therapeutics for age-related memory decline.Behavioral Neuroscience, 126(1), 29-53.
Zhao, Z., Fan, L., and Frick, K.M.(2010).Epigenetic alterations regulate estradiol-induced enhancement of memory consolidation.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 107(12), 5605-5610.
Fan, L., Orr, P.T., Zhao, Z., Chambers, C.H., Lewis, M.C., and Frick, K.M.(2010).Estradiol-induced object memory consolidation in middle-aged female mice requires dorsal hippocampal ERK and PI3K activation.Journal of Neuroscience, 30(12), 4390-4400.
Frick, K.M.(2009).Estrogens and age-related memory decline:What have we learned and where do we go from here?Hormones and Behavior, 55(1), 2-23.
Gresack, J.E., Schafe, G.E., Orr, P.T., and Frick, K.M.(2009).Sex differences in contextual fear conditioning are associated with differential ventral hippocampal ERK activation.Neuroscience, 159, 451-467.
Fernandez, S.M., Lewis, M.C., Pechenino, A.S., Harburger, L.L., Orr, P.T., Gresack, J.E., Schafe, G.E., and Frick, K.M.(2008).Estrogen-induced enhancement of object memory consolidation involves hippocampal ERK activation and membrane-bound estrogen receptors.Journal of Neuroscience, 28(35), 8660-8667.
Harburger, L.L., Lambert, T. J., and Frick, K.M.(2007).Age-dependent effects of environmental enrichment on spatial memory in male mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 185(1), 43-48.
Gresack, J.E., Kerr, K.M., and Frick, K.M.(2007).Life-long environmental enrichment differentially influences the mnemonic response to estrogen in young, middle-aged, and aged female mice. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 88, 393-408.