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Harrison College of Pharmacy

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Miranda Reed headshot

Miranda Reed

Unit: Drug Discovery and Development
Auburn University
Harrison College of Pharmacy
153 Pharmacy Research Building
Auburn, AL 36849
Phone: 334-844-7401
Fax: 334-844-8331



  • B.A., Psychology - Auburn, 2002
  • M.S., Experimental Psychology - Auburn, 2005
  • Ph.D., Experimental Psychology - Auburn, 2007

Professional History

2007-10: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroscience and Neurology, University of Minnesota. Mentors: Karen Hsiao Ashe & James Cleary. Major Emphasis: Alzheimer’s Disease. Departments: Neuroscience, Neurology

2010-15: Assistant Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience - Department of Psychology;  Member, Center for Neuroscience;  Member, Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research, West Virginia University

2015-23: Associate Professor - Department of Drug Discovery and Development;  Auburn University Harrison College of Pharmacy

2023-present: Professor - Department of Drug Discovery and Development;  Auburn University Harrison College of Pharmacy

Current Funding

Elucidation of Molecular Mechanisms of Prenatal Cannabinoid Exposure: Identification of Targets and Therapies
Funder: NIH/NIDA R01 DA046723
Date: 2020-2025
Role: Principal Investigator
Total Cost: $1,762,367

Elucidation of Molecular Mechanisms of Prenatal Cannabinoid Exposure: Identification of Targets and Therapies – Administrative Diversity Supplement
Funder: NIH/NIDA R01 DA046723-02
Date: 2021-2024
Role: Principal Investigator
Total Cost: $143,637

Establishment of a Center for Neuroscience
Funder: Auburn University - Presidential Award for Innovative Research
Date: 2018- Present
Role: Principal Investigator
Total Cost: $637,500

Role of Pre-synaptic Vesicle Mobility in Alzheimer’s disease.
Funder: Auburn University Internal Grants Program (AU IGP)
Date: 2020-2022
Role: Co-Investigator
Total Cost: $50,000

Regulation of Luteinizing Hormone to Prevent Cognitive Decline of Reproductive Senescence and Alzheimer’s Disease
Funder: Center for One Health Research Seed Grant Program
Date: 2020-2022
Role: Principal Investigator
Total Cost: $100,000

Laboratory Personnel

Graduate Students

  • Kawsar Chowdhury (Co-Advisor)
  • Jeremiah Pfitzer (Primary Advisor)
  • Emma Redmon (Primary Advisor)
  • Sharay Setti (Primary Advisor)
  • Warren Smith (Co-Advisor)
  • Miles Wiley (Co-Advisor)
  • Victoria Zona (Primary Advisor)

External Links

Research Interests

Overview - The overall goal of my research program is to identify how alterations in synapses and glutamatergic signaling can result in learning and memory deficits, as well as neurodegeneration, and to identify and develop therapeutics to target these alterations. My laboratory is currently pursuing four distinct but overlapping research projects and actively collaborates with other investigators. In addition, I have a strong interest in enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at Auburn University, particularly by increasing research opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

Long-term consequences of prenatal exposure to cannabis - In collaboration with Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam at Auburn University, we examine the long-term consequences of prenatal exposure to cannabinoids. Using a multidisciplinary approach including behavioral, electrochemical, electrophysiological, cellular and molecular methodologies, we aim to test the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to cannabinoids alters the signaling balance of GluN2A- and GluN2B- containing NMDA receptors, resulting in synaptic plasticity and cognitive deficits (PMID: 30771373 & PMID: 33912711). This work has resulted in 5-year NIH/NIDA R01 (MPI) award in 2020.

Synaptic and network alterations associated with cognitive dysfunction in aging and Alzheimer’s disease - We also study the molecular basis of memory loss in aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with a focus on alterations in glutamatergic signaling (PMID: 21172610; PMID: 19446369; PMID: 20031278; PMID: 26051935). We also examine why aging is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (PMID: 34769068; NIH/NIA R15, PI). Most recently, in collaboration with Dr. Doug Martin and Darren Beck at Auburn University and a Center for One Health Research award (MPI), we have begun examining whether dysregulation of luteinizing hormone (LH) during reproductive senescence contributes to memory decline of aging, and if normalization of LH levels via gene therapy can mitigate memory dysfunction of AD.

Role of hyperexcitability in mediating neurodegeneration - Effective regulation of activity in neural networks is essential; over- or under- stimulation can erode synaptic regulation, leading to alterations in learning and memory, and more concerning, neurodegeneration throughout vulnerable networks (PMID: 34591222; PMID: 29862310; PMID: 25821641). Using in vivo microelectrode array (MEA) technology (PMID: 28518111) and more recently optogenetics, my lab examines alterations in glutamatergic signaling as a mediator of the hyperexcitability observed in Alzheimer’s disease (PMID: 25319522). We are currently working to identify therpauetic targets to reduce extracellular glutamate levels and restore memory deficits (PMID: 26744018; PMID: 26146790; PMID: 35073787), in part thorough an ongoing collaboration with Biohaven Pharmaceuticals. Moreover, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Gramlich at Auburn University, we received an Auburn University Intramural Grants Program (AU-IGP) award in 2020 to examine the role of human tau in modulating presynaptic vesicle mobility and the resultant consequences on presynaptic glutamate and tau release into the extracellular space.  In addition, we have demonstrated that viral infections, a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, exacerbate neurodegenerative conditions by increasing hyperexcitability in the brain. This is part of a long-standing research collaboration with Dr. Gregory Konat from West Virginia University born from two NIH/NIGMS U54 CCTI awards. Notably, we have demonstrated that peripherally restricted viral challenge elevates extracellular glutamate in vivo (PMID: 27168075) and causes seizure hypersusceptibility (PMID: 28244106), effects mediated by the neuronal CXCL10/CXCR3 axis (PMID 32265633).

Identification of sensitive behavioral tasks for assessment of cognitive impairment - My lab also specializes in the identification and creation of highly sensitive behavioral tasks, as well as the use of advanced statistical measures to evaluate performance (PMID: 20381538; PMID: 25004446; PMID: 26132096). This line of work aided in an NIH/NINDS R21 award (MPI), and as part of a funded and ongoing internal award to establish a Center for Neuroscience at Auburn University (Co-Director), a behavioral core is being established to aid researchers across campus with their behavioral phenotyping needs.

Increasing research opportunities for underrepresented minorities - One my passions is the recruitment and mentoring of underrepresented minorities. I have mentored more than 60 undergraduates since starting my lab. Of these 60, more than 90% have gone to professional (PharmD or MD) or graduate programs.  I also serve as a faculty mentor in the McNair Scholars Program designed to serve first-generation and income-eligible students, or students from an underrepresented group (African American, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders) to assist them in achieving success at the undergraduate level to prepare them for doctoral studies. I also serve as a founding member of Auburn University’s Commission for Gender Equity, as well as a founding member of Auburn’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. My efforts have resulted in 3 years of funding for a prior graduate student from the AFPE for Underrepresented Minorities, an NIH administrative diversity supplement for a current graduate student, an NIH G-Rise diversity fellowship for a current graduate student, and a pending NIH R25 (Co-I; score = 20) to promote diversity in aging research.

Selected Publications

  • Pinky PD, Pfitzer JC, Senfeld J, Hong H, Bhattacharya S, Suppiramaniam V, Qureshi I, Reed MN. Recent Insights on Glutamatergic Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease and Therapeutic Implications. Neuroscientist. 2022 Jan 25:10738584211069897. PMID: 35073787
  • Hunsberger HC, Setti SE, Rudy CC, Weitzner DS, Pfitzer JC, McDonald KL, Hong H, Bhattacharya S, Suppiramaniam V, Reed MN. Differential Effects of Human P301L Tau Expression in Young versus Aged Mice. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 28;22(21):11637. PMID: 34769068
  • Petrisko TJ, Bloemer J, Pinky PD, Srinivas S, Heslin RT, Du Y, Setti SE, Hong H, Suppiramaniam V, Konat GW, Reed MN. Neuronal CXCL10/CXCR3 Axis Mediates the Induction of Cerebral Hyperexcitability by Peripheral Viral Challenge. Front Neurosci. 2020 Mar 24;14:220.  PMID: 32265633
  • Pinky PD, Bloemer J, Smith WD, Moore T, Hong H, Suppiramaniam V, Reed MN. Prenatal cannabinoid exposure and altered neurotransmission. Neuropharmacology. 2019 May 1;149:181-194. PMID: 30771373
  • Hunsberger HC, Setti SE, Heslin RT, Quintero JE, Gerhardt GA, Reed MN. Using Enzyme-based Biosensors to Measure Tonic and Phasic Glutamate in Alzheimer's Mouse Models. J Vis Exp. 2017 May 3;(123):55418. PMID: 28518111
  • Hunsberger HC, Konat GW, Reed MN. Peripheral viral challenge elevates extracellular glutamate in the hippocampus leading to seizure hypersusceptibility. J Neurochem. 2017 May;141(3):341-346. PMID: 28244106
  • Hunsberger HC, Weitzner DS, Rudy CC, Hickman JE, Libell EM, Speer RR, Gerhardt GA, Reed MN. Riluzole rescues glutamate alterations, cognitive deficits, and tau pathology associated with P301L tau expression. J Neurochem. 2015 Oct;135(2):381-94. PMID: 26146790
  • Weitzner DS, Engler-Chiurazzi EB, Kotilinek LA, Ashe KH, Reed MN. Morris Water Maze Test: Optimization for Mouse Strain and Testing Environment. J Vis Exp. 2015 Jun 22;(100):e52706. PMID: 26132096
  • Hunsberger HC, Rudy CC, Weitzner DS, Zhang C, Tosto DE, Knowlan K, Xu Y, Reed MN. Effect size of memory deficits in mice with adult-onset P301L tau expression. Behav Brain Res. 2014 Oct 1;272:181-95. PMID: 25004446
  • Hoover BR, Reed MN, Su J, Penrod RD, Kotilinek LA, Grant MK, Pitstick R, Carlson GA, Lanier LM, Yuan LL, Ashe KH, Liao D. Tau mislocalization to dendritic spines mediates synaptic dysfunction independently of neurodegeneration. Neuron. 2010 Dec 22;68(6):1067-81. PMID: 21172610

Last Updated: August 16, 2023