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Section on Neuroplasticity Section on Neuroplasticity


Heather Cameron, Ph.D. | Investigator and Chief | Section on Neuroplasticity  
Dr. Cameron received her B.S. from Yale University and her Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University, where she worked with Bruce McEwen and Elizabeth Gould examining neurogenesis in the adult rat dentate gyrus. During a postdoctoral fellowship with Ron McKay at NINDS, she determined the magnitude of adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus and investigated the effects of stress hormones on neurogenesis in the aging rat hippocampus. Dr. Cameron joined the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at NIMH as an Investigator in 2001.

Mumeko Tsuda, Ph.D. | Staff Scientist

Mumeko earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Tsukuba in 2011, where she studied the effects of early life stress on the development of emotional and social behaviors in mice. After her Ph.D., Mumeko pursued her post-doctoral studies at NIMH as an IRTA fellow under Ted Usdin and then Heather Cameron. In 2018, Mumeko went on to build, develop, and manage the Rat Behavior Core at Uniformed Services University. Mumeko was then recruited back to the NIMH in 2023 as a Staff Scientist for the Cameron lab. She is interested in how adult hippocampal neurogenesis mediates components of social behavior in rodents. 

Michelle Brewer, M.S. | Lab Manager

Michelle received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Purdue University and her M.S. at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in Marine Microbiology from the University of California San Diego. She worked as a molecular biologist at Ligand Pharmaceuticals in San Diego for several years investigating intracellular hormone receptors, before moving to the east coast and working at NIMH. She joined the Cameron Lab several years ago bringing her expertise in molecular biology, and is the person who keeps everything running in the lab.

Adam Swiercz, Ph.D. | Post-doctoral Fellow

Adam received his Ph.D. from George Washington University, where he studied the role of the central renin-angiotensin system in fear memory consolidation and extinction. In addition to standard behavioral measures of fear learning in rodents (e.g., freezing and acoustic startle), Adam used surgically-implanted radio transmitters to examine changes in heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood pressure in the presence of drugs targeting renin-angiotensin receptors in the brain. He joined the Cameron lab as a postdoc in 2019 and is currently focused on how the hippocampus contributes to decision-making processes in situations that require adaptive behavior. Adam uses a variety of operant conditioning, radio telemetry, and immunohistochemical techniques to determine how inhibition of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus affects behavioral and physiological responses to conditions marked by uncertainty or conflict.   

Natalie Freedgood | Pre-doctoral Fellow

Natalie is a pre-doctoral IRTA fellow in the NIH Graduate Partnership Program with Brown University and was previously a post-baccalaureate IRTA fellow in the Cameron lab. She completed her B.S. in Psychology and Philosophy at Trinity College, where she studied the metabolic changes in the cerebrospinal fluid of pediatric epilepsy patients treated with a ketogenic diet. Her current research focuses on the functional dissociation between new neurons in the dorsal versus ventral dentate gyrus, and the role of new neurons in bias and conflict behaviors.

Neelan Mathivannan | Post-baccalaureate Fellow

Neelan is a post-baccalaureate fellow in the Section on Neuroplasticity. Neelan graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2022 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. He is interested in studying how adult hippocampal neurogenesis impacts the different strategies involved in approach-avoidance conflict rats.

Lab Alumni

  • Kathleen Huntzicker | Pre-doctoral Fellow
  • Youvin Chung | Post-baccalaureate Fellow
  • Rose-Marie Karlsson | Staff Scientist