Patrick Ronan, Ph.D.
- Researcher, Avera Research Institute
- Assistant Professor, USDSSM
- Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas
- Ph.D., Biology, University of South Dakota
- M.A., University of South Dakota
- B.A., Earlham College, Richmond, Ind.
Current Research: Dr. Ronan's research is directed at understanding the mechanisms underlying stress-induced behavioral disorders, such as depression and sleep disorders. In order to study the roles genes play in stress and anxiety he is employing the strategy of using non-replicationg viral vectors to introduce short DNA constructs to discreet regions of the rat brain that can silence the expression of target genes by a process known as RNA interference. This is an approach that could perhaps be used for gene therapy in humans. Students could be involved in behavioral testing, both assessing anxiety as well as arousal state (sleep studies). Limited data analysis along with EEG analysis as well as some stereotactic surgery if desired would pe possible. Basic histology techniques will be taught including tissue preservation, sectioning, staining, and mounting. Other lab techniques include immunohistochemistry and Western Blot analysis for detection of proteins in tissues, in situ hybridization and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to measure mRNA expression, fluorescent microscopy, including confocal microscopy, and working with recombinant DNA constructs.