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UBC Department of Psychology
Kenny 3535 - 2136 West Mall
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4
Phone: (604) 822-5053
Fax: (604) 822-6923

Hamson, Dwayne

Biographical Sketch & Research Interests
My current research focus is in understanding the basic mechanism(s) involved in keeping adult born neurons in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus alive. It is well accepted that this region produces new neurons in adulthood, but their exact function remains enigmatic, however, evidence indicates these new neurons are important for learning and memory. They also play a role in the regulation of the stress response and are necessary for antidepressant efficacy.

Neural precursor cells begin to divide and produce thousands of neurons each day in humans, non-human primates, and rodents, among other species. The vast majority of these neurons does not reach maturity, though, and die unless induced to survive and integrate into the local hippocampal circuitry. We have recently reported that androgens, acting via the androgen receptor, increase the survival of adult born neurons. Surprisingly, though, we did not observe these new neurons to express androgen receptors, suggesting androgens initiate a survival signal in some other part of the brain other than these new cells. Thus, as part of my research, I am examining the “site of action” problem of where androgens act to increase the survival of adult born neurons. However, given the importance of these newborn neurons to normal cognitive functioning and the observation that adult neurogenesis is decreased in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and in normal aging, my research plan also includes experiments designed to understand the role of the androgen receptor in conferring neuroprotection.

Representative Publications
G.J. Landry, H. Opiol, E.G. Marchant, I. Pavlovski, R.J. Mear, D.K. Hamson, R.E. Mistlberger (2012). Daily Sexual Reward Induces Circadian Anticipatory Activity Rhythms in the Male Rat. PLoS One 7(7):e40895.

M.R. Smith, D.K. Hamson, J. Poort, C.L., Jordan, S.M. Breedlove (2012). Ontogeny of androgen receptor expression in spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus motoneurons and their target muscles in male mice. Neuroscience Letters Feb 5 [ePub].

D.K. Hamson, C.L. Jordan, S.M. Breedlove (2010). The Testosterone Two Step is Really a Minuet. Neuron 66(2):167-169.

D.K. Hamson, J.A. Morris, S.M. Breedlove, C.L. Jordan (2009). Time Course of Adult Castration-Induced Changes in Soma Size of Motoneurons in the Rat Spinal Nucleus of the Bulbocavernosus. Neuroscience Letters 454(2):148-151.

D.K. Hamson, A.S. Csupity, J.G. Gaspar, and N.V. Watson (2009). Analysis of Foxp2 expression in the cerebellum reveals a possible sex difference. NeuroReport 20(6):611-616.

D.K. Hamson, A.S. Csupity, F.M. Ali, N.V. Watson (2009). Partner Preference and Mount Latency are Masculinized in Androgen Insensitive Rats. Physiology and Behavior 98(1-2):25-30.
I.C. Webb, D.F. Patton, D.K. Hamson & R.E. Mistlberger (2008). Neural correlates of arousal-induced circadian clock resetting: Hypocretin/orexin and the intergeniculate leaflet. European Journal of Neuroscience 27(4):828-835.

D.K. Hamson, B.A. Jones and N.V. Watson (2004). Distribution of androgen receptor immunoreactivity in the brainstem of male rats. Neuroscience 127(4):797-803.

D.K. Hamson and N.V. Watson (2004). Regional brainstem expression of Fos associated with sexual behavior in male rats. Brain Research 1006 2(1): 233-240.

D.K. Hamson, J.H. Hu, C. Krieger, N.V. Watson (2002). Lumbar motoneuron fate in a mouse model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. NeuroReport 13(17): 2291-2294.


D.K. Hamson, S.R. Wainwright, J.R. Taylor, B.A. Jones, N.V. Watson, L.A.M. Galea. (2013). Androgens Increase Survival of Adult Born Neurons in the Dentate Gyrus by an Androgen Receptor Dependent Mechanism in Male Rats. Endocrinology. Current status: revisions under review.

L. A. Galea, S. R. Wainwright, M. M. Roes, P. Duarte, C. Chow, D. K. Hamson (2013). The Hormonal Modulation and Functional Importance of Neurogenesis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology-¬invited review.

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a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

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Department of Psychology
2136 West Mall
Tel: 604.822.2755
Fax: 604.822.6923