Bryan Copits, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Neurosciences Program
Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program


  • How different types of neurons encoding somatosensory modalities are assembled into functional circuits

Research Abstract:

Somatosensory Circuit Assembly

We experience an incredible diversity of sensations in the world around us. While these signals can be encoded by receptors and channels in the nerves at your fingertip, they must be properly integrated to generate complex sensory perceptions, like the relief of itch by scratching or pleasure from a gentle touch. However, they can also be transformed into debilitating forms of allodynia, or "other pain," following nerve damage.

The Copits Lab studies how different types of neurons encoding somatosensory modalities are assembled into functional circuits. Here we combine transcriptomics with CRISPR-Cas genome editing to identify molecules that regulate synaptic wiring of sensory neurons into the brain and spinal cord and understand how alterations in these circuits impact sensory behaviors. In parallel, we are developing new optical and genetic tools to better understand circuit dynamics, with emphasis on neurodevelopmental disorders and chronic pain states.

Selected Publications:

A Paranigral VTA Nociceptin Circuit that Constrains Motivation for Reward
Parker, K. E., Pedersen, C. E., Gomez, A. M., Spangler, S. M., Walicki, M. C., Feng, S. Y., Stewart, S. L., Otis, J. M., Al-Hasani, R., McCall, J. G., Sakers, K., Bhatti, D. L., Copits, B. A., Gereau, R. W., Jhou, T., Kash, T. J., Dougherty, J. D., Stuber, G. D. & Bruchas, M. R., Jul 25 2019, In: Cell. 178, 3, p. 653-671.e19

A wireless closed-loop system for optogenetic peripheral neuromodulation
Mickle, A. D., Won, S. M., Noh, K. N., Yoon, J., Meacham, K. W., Xue, Y., McIlvried, L. A., Copits, B. A., Samineni, V. K., Crawford, K. E., Kim, D. H., Srivastava, P., Kim, B. H., Min, S., Shiuan, Y., Yun, Y., Payne, M. A., Zhang, J., Jang, H., Li, Y. & 5 others, , Jan 17 2019, In: Nature. 565, 7739, p. 361-365

Pain-Induced Negative Affect Is Mediated via Recruitment of The Nucleus Accumbens Kappa Opioid System
Massaly, N., Copits, B. A., Wilson-Poe, A. R., Hipólito, L., Markovic, T., Yoon, H. J., Liu, S., Walicki, M. C., Bhatti, D. L., Sirohi, S., Klaas, A., Walker, B. M., Neve, R., Cahill, C. M., Shoghi, K. I., Gereau, R. W., McCall, J. G., Al-Hasani, R., Bruchas, M. R. & Morón, J. A., May 8 2019, In: Neuron. 102, 3, p. 564-573.e6

Angiotensin II triggers peripheral macrophage-to-sensory neuron redox crosstalk to elicit pain
Shepherd, A. J., Copits, B. A., Mickle, A. D., Karlsson, P., Kadunganattil, S., Haroutounian, S., Tadinada, S. M., De Kloet, A. D., Valtcheva, M. V., McIlvried, L. A., Sheahan, T. D., Jain, S., Ray, P. R., Usachev, Y. M., Dussor, G., Krause, E. G., Price, T. J., Gereau, R. W. & Mohapatra, D. P., Aug 8 2018, In: Journal of Neuroscience. 38, 32, p. 7032-7057.

Differential Regulation of Bladder Pain and Voiding Function by Sensory Afferent Populations Revealed by Selective Optogenetic Activation
DeBerry, J. J., Samineni, V. K., Copits, B. A., Sullivan, C. J., Vogt, S. K., Albers, K. M., Davis, B. M. & Gereau, R. W., Feb 12 2018, In: Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 12, 5.

Last Updated: 2/22/2021 12:04:21 PM

Back To Top

Follow us: