Corinna Burger, PhD

Portrait of Corinna Burger, PhD
Associate Professor
Neurology
Address: 
73 Bardeen Medical Sciences Center
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
Telephone: 
(608) 263-0301
Focus Groups: 
Neuroscience/Neuropathology
Education: 
PhD, Neuroscience/Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Health Sci Crt.
Postdoc, Molecular Neuroscience, State University of New York
Postdoc, Molecular Neuroscience, University of Florida
Research Summary: 
Molecular Neuroscience, Behavior: Cognition and aging, Neurobiology of Disease, synaptic plasticity
Research Detail: 

My research program examines the molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and memory in aging, and gene therapy approaches for age related neurodegenerative disorders.  We use viral gene delivery to study cognition, to create animal models for neurodegenerative disorders, and to identify gene therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and cognitive aging.

My past work identified a number of genes in the hippocampus that are associated with cognitive aging.  One of the focuses of my research program is to validate the role of these genes at the functional level using molecular biology, electrophysiology and behavioral approaches to accomplish our goal.

During the last few years my research group examined in detail (1) the role of one of the candidate genes I identified in a genome-wide screen (Homer1c) in cognition both early in life and with senescence, (2) carried out preclinical studies for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) using glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and, (3) developed and optimized vectors for gene expression in the nervous system.  Our ultimate goal is to translate our findings to the clinic by identifying potential gene replacement or pharmaceutical treatments for neurodegenerative disorders

My primary goal is to continue my research in cognitive aging. We are in a position to provide novel insights regarding the mechanism underlying impaired learning and memory and provide new avenues for treatment and prevention.  Viral gene transfer allows us to ask specific questions about brain circuitry, signaling cascades, and timing of protein expression.  By over-expressing or knocking down a given gene, we can expect to see opposite effects.  In addition, we can inject the viral vectors between training and testing, to ask questions about consolidation/retrieval.  Finally, because we have spatial control over injection sites, we are able to dissect brain circuits at the molecular level.  The long-term goal in my research is to use these innovative approaches to elucidate the molecular and cellular pathways involved in learning, memory and aging.

Last, my long experience in the creation of genetic models of PD and development of gene therapy approaches to treat PD has allowed me to carry out preclinical studies for gene therapy in this disease.  Our results will be published shortly and will likely have an impact on future human PD gene therapy treatment trials.  We are funded by the Kinetics Foundation to develop optimal gene therapy treatments for PD and to improve gene targeting and regulation of transgene expression using regulatable vectors. Translation of the findings in my lab into the clinic is a significant aspect of my research program.

Selected Publications: 
Burger, C. and Nash, K. (2016). Small scale recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus Purification. In: Gene Therapy for Neurological Disorders. Methods in Molecular Biology series (Manfredsson, F.P. Ed.) 1382: 95-106.
Hullinger, R., and Burger, C. (2015). Learning impairments identified early in life are predictive of future impairments associated with aging. Behav Brain Res. 294:224-33.
Hullinger, R., O’Riordan, K., and Burger, C. (2015). Environmental enrichment improves learning and memory and long-term potentiation in young adult rats through a mechanism requiring mGluR5 signaling and sustained activation of p70s6k. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem 125:126-134.
O’Riordan, K., Gerstein, H., Hullinger, R., Burger C. (2014). Homer1c is required for mGluR5-mediated Hippocampal Plasticity Hippocampus. epub 2013 Oct 25. 24:p. 1-6.
Osting, S., Bennett, A., Power, S., Wackett, J., Hurley, S.A., Alexander, A.L., Agbandje-Mckena, M., and Burger, C. (2014). Differential Effects of Two MRI Contrast Agents on the Integrity and Distribution of rAAV2 and rAAV5 in the Rat Striatum. Mol. Ther. Methods and Clinical Development 1, 4; doi:10.1038/mtm.2013.4.
Hullinger, R., Ugalde, J., Purón-Sierra, L., Osting, S. Burger, C. (2013). The MRI contrast agent gadoteridol enhances distribution of rAAV1 in the rat hippocampus. Gene therapy 20:1172-7.
Gerstein, H., Lindstrom, M.J., and Burger, C. (2013). Gene delivery of Homer1c rescues spatial learning in a rodent model of cognitive aging. Neurobiol. Aging 34: 1963-1970. Epub Mar 21.
Gerstein, H., Hullinger, R., Lindstrom, M.J., and Burger, C. (2013). A Behavioral Paradigm to Evaluate Hippocampal Performance in Aged Rodents for Pharmacological and Genetic Target Validation. PLoS One May 7;8(5) e62360.
Potter, W., O’Riordan. K.J., Kirchner, A., Gerstein, H., Rutecki, P., Burger, C., and Roopra, A. (2013). Reduced juvenile long term depression in tuberous sclerosis complex is mitigated in adults by compensatory recruitment of mGluR5 and Erk signaling. PLoS Biology. August 15, 11(8) e1001627.
Gerstein. H., O’Riordan, K., Osting, S., Schwarz, M., and Burger, C. (2012). Rescue of Synaptic Plasticity and Spatial Learning Deficits in the Hippocampus of Homer1 Knockout Mice by Recombinant Adeno-Associated Viral Gene Delivery of Homer1c. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem. 97:17-29. Epub 2011 Sep 14
Westmark, P.R., Westmark, C.J., Wang, S., Levenson, J.M., O’Riordan K., Burger, C., and Malter, J.S. (2010). Pin1 and PKMζ sequentially control dendritic protein synthesis. Science Sign. 3, ra18.
Potter, W.B., O’Riordan, K.J, Barnett, D., Osting, S.M.K., Wagoner, M., Burger, C. and Roopra, A. (2010). Metabolic Regulation of neuronal plasticity by the energy sensor AMPK. PLoS One Feb 1;5(2):e8996.
Pehar, M., O’Riordan, K.J., Burns-Cusato, M., Andrzejewski, M.E., Li, H., Gil del Alcazar, C., Burger, C., Scrable, H., and Puglielli, L. (2010). The longevity-assurance activity of the p53:p44 system causes a selective degeneration of memory-forming and -retrieving areas of the mouse brain and early death. Aging Cell. 9:174-190.
O’Riordan, K., Gerstein, H., Hullinger, R., Burger C. (2014). Homer1c is required for mGluR5-mediated Hippocampal Plasticity Hippocampus. epub 2013 Oct 25. 24:p. 1-6.
Gerstein, H., Hullinger, R., Lindstrom, M.J., and Burger, C. (2013). A Behavioral Paradigm to Evaluate Hippocampal Performance in Aged Rodents for Pharmacological and Genetic Target Validation. PLoS One May 7;8(5) e62360. (PMCID:PMC3646843).
Gerstein, H., Lindstrom, M.J., and Burger, C. (2013). Gene delivery of Homer1c rescues spatial learning in a rodent model of cognitive aging. Neurobiol. Aging 34: 1963-1970. Epub Mar 21. (PMCID:PMC3651797).
Gerstein. H., O’Riordan, K., Osting, S., Schwarz, M., and Burger, C. (2012). Rescue of Synaptic Plasticity and Spatial Learning Deficits in the Hippocampus of Homer1 Knockout Mice by Recombinant AAV Gene Delivery of Homer1c. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem. 97:17-29. Epub 2011 Sep 14 (PMCID: NIHMSID 415303).
Westmark C.J., Westmark P.R., O'Riordan K.J., Ray B.C., Hervey C.M., Salamat M.S., Abozeid S.H., Stein K.M., Stodola L.A., Tranfaglia M., Burger C., Berry-Kravis E.M., Malter J.S. (2011). Reversal of Fragile X Phenotypes by Manipulation of AβPP/Aβ Levels in Fmr1 Mice. PLoS One. 6(10):e26549. Epub 2011 Oct 26. (PMCID:PMC3202540).
Pehar, M., O’Riordan, K.J., Burns-Cusato, M., Andrzejewski, M.E., Li, H., Gil del Alcazar, C., Burger, C., Scrable, H., and Puglielli, L. (2010). The longevity-assurance activity of the p53:p44 system causes a selective degeneration of memory-forming and -retrieving areas of the mouse brain and early death. Aging Cell. 9:174-190. (PMCID:PMC2848983).
Westmark, P.R., Westmark, C.J., Wang, S., Levenson, J.M., O’Riordan K., Burger, C., and Malter, J.S. (2010). Pin1 and PKMζ sequentially control dendritic protein synthesis. Science Sign. 3,. ra18. (PMCID:PMC2972507)
Manfredsson, F.P., Burger, C., Rising, A.C., Hasonal, K., Sullivan, L.F., Lewin, A.S., Huang, J., Piercefield,. E., Muzyczka, M., and Mandel, R.J. (2009). Tight Long-Term Dynamic Doxycycline Responsive Nigrostriatal GDNF Using a Single rAAV Vector. Mol Ther. 17: 1857-1867. (PMCID: PMC2835)
Burger, C., Lopez, M.C., Baker, H.V., Mandel, R.J., and Muzyczka N. (2008). Genome-wide analysis of aging and learning-related genes in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Neurobiol. Learn.Mem. 89:379-396. (PMCID: PMC2530823)
Burger, C., Lopez, M.C., Feller, J.A., Baker, H.V., Muzyczka N., and Mandel, R.J. (2007). Changes in transcription within the CA1 field of the hippocampus are associated with age related learning impairments. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem. 87: 21-41. (PMCID:Policy Exempt).
Burger, C., Nguyen, F.N., Deng, J., and Mandel, R.J. (2005). Systemic mannitol-induced hyperosmolality amplifies rAAV2 mediated striatal transduction to a greater extent than local co-infusion. Mol Therapy 11: 327-331. (PMCID:Policy Exempt).