Melburn R. Park, Ph.D.

Melburn R. Park, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
855 Monroe Avenue, Suite 515
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5984
Fax: (901) 448-7193
Lab: 509 Link Building
Email: Melburn R. Park


  • Ph.D. Institution: State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Physiology
  • Postdoctoral: Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Neurobiology Department, Frankfurt, West Germany

Research Interests

This laboratory is involved in the study of the synaptic organization of the dorsal raphe nucleus of the mammalian brain. The dorsal raphe is one of several brain stem nuclei containing serotonergic cell bodies. The axons of the neurons ascend to numerous forebrain structures, including the globus pallidus, neostriatum, hypothalamus, and cerebral cortex. The function of these divergent and ubiquitous projections is not known, but there is evidence that they play a role in sleep, pain perception, emotional state, psychic disorders, and motor functions.

Basic facts concerning the neuronal organization and connections within the dorsal raphe nucleus are not known, such as the number of cell types and their characteristics, the synaptic connections of the nucleus, and the functional behavior of the circuitry. The laboratory approach is multidisciplinary, producing data about the physiological, anatomical, and pharmacological properties of neurons within the nucleus. The techniques used include intracellular recording of dorsal raphe neurons, intracellular staining of recorded neurons with horseradish peroxidase, autoradiographic and immunohistochemical labeling of neurons, light and electron microscopic analysis, pharmacological manipulation of chemical transmission, and use of anterograde and retrograde neural substances for the mapping of pathways.

The issue of cell types has a strong anatomical component although it is combined with functional classification as well. Past studies have limited themselves to a cursory descriptive anatomy and have not produced a satisfactory and consistent classification of cell types. Careful morphological study combined with physiological characterization should produce a clearer picture of the organization of this system.

Representative Publications

  • Hilton DL Jr, Einhaus SL, Meric AL 3rd, White RP, Schweitzer JB, Park MR, Robertson JT. Early assessment of neurologic deficits in the fluid percussion model of brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 1993 Summer;10(2):121-33. PubMed PMID: 8411216.
  • Schweitzer JB, Park MR, Einhaus SL, Robertson JT. Ubiquitin marks the reactive swellings of diffuse axonal injury. Acta Neuropathol. 1993;85(5):503-7. PubMed PMID: 8388148.
  • Park MR. Constant current source for iontophoresis. J Neurosci Methods. 1989 Jul;29(1):85-9. PubMed PMID: 2761301.
  • Wilson CJ, Park MR. Capacitance compensation and bridge balance adjustment in intracellular recording from dendritic neurons. J Neurosci Methods. 1989 Feb;27(1):51-75. PubMed PMID: 2918753.
  • Park MR. Monosynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials from lateral habenula recorded in dorsal raphe neurons. Brain Res Bull. 1987 Nov;19(5):581-6. PubMed PMID: 3690368.

View more references (pubmed link)

Contact Us

Anatomy and Neurobiology

855 Monroe Avenue #515
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5965
Fax: (901) 448-7193

Simon R. Bruesch
Professor and Chair

Matthew Ennis, Ph.D.
Email: Matthew Ennis