Robert Matthews
Last active: 3/10/2016


My research interests include discovering molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie synaptic plasticity. In particular, plasticity that results from stress, repeated exposure to drugs of abuse, high fat diets and their interactions. I use a combination of techniques that include stereotaxic surgery to place tracers, viral vectors and drugs into mice as well as immunohistochemistry, fluorescent in situ hybridization (i.e., RNAscope), wide-field, single and multi-photon confocal and super-resolution fluorescent imaging. I have extensive experience in these techniques including advanced microscopy training as part of my role as a staff member in the Vanderbilt Cell Imaging Shared Resource core facility. I also collaborate with other investigators on projects where my expertise in optogenetics and whole tissue clearing techniques (i.e., CLARITY) benefit ongoing research in energy metabolism, aging of the nervous system and diabetes.



The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. G-protein-independent coupling of MC4R to Kir7.1 in hypothalamic neurons. Ghamari-Langroudi M, Digby GJ, Sebag JA, Millhauser GL, Palomino R, Matthews R, Gillyard T, Panaro BL, Tough IR, Cox HM, Denton JS, Cone RD (2015) Nature 520(7545): 94-8
    › Primary publication · 25600267 (PubMed) · PMC4383680 (PubMed Central)
  2. The melanocortin-4 receptor is expressed in enteroendocrine L cells and regulates the release of peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide 1 in vivo. Panaro BL, Tough IR, Engelstoft MS, Matthews RT, Digby GJ, Møller CL, Svendsen B, Gribble F, Reimann F, Holst JJ, Holst B, Schwartz TW, Cox HM, Cone RD (2014) Cell Metab 20(6): 1018-29
    › Primary publication · 25453189 (PubMed) · PMC4255280 (PubMed Central)
  3. Excitatory drive onto dopaminergic neurons in the rostral linear nucleus is enhanced by norepinephrine in an α1 adrenergic receptor-dependent manner. Williams MA, Li C, Kash TL, Matthews RT, Winder DG (2014) Neuropharmacology : 116-24
    › Primary publication · 25018040 (PubMed) · PMC4188726 (PubMed Central)
  4. α(2A)-adrenergic receptors filter parabrachial inputs to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Flavin SA, Matthews RT, Wang Q, Muly EC, Winder DG (2014) J Neurosci 34(28): 9319-31
    › Primary publication · 25009265 (PubMed) · PMC4087209 (PubMed Central)
  5. A corticotropin releasing factor pathway for ethanol regulation of the ventral tegmental area in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Silberman Y, Matthews RT, Winder DG (2013) J Neurosci 33(3): 950-60
    › Primary publication · 23325234 (PubMed) · PMC3566560 (PubMed Central)
  6. Genetic inhibition of CaMKII in dorsal striatal medium spiny neurons reduces functional excitatory synapses and enhances intrinsic excitability. Klug JR, Mathur BN, Kash TL, Wang HD, Matthews RT, Robison AJ, Anderson ME, Deutch AY, Lovinger DM, Colbran RJ, Winder DG (2012) PLoS One 7(9): e45323
    › Primary publication · 23028932 (PubMed) · PMC3448631 (PubMed Central)
  7. Dopamine enhances fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the extended amygdala by a CRF-R1-dependent process. Kash TL, Nobis WP, Matthews RT, Winder DG (2008) J Neurosci 28(51): 13856-65
    › Primary publication · 19091975 (PubMed) · PMC2630395 (PubMed Central)
  8. Alcohol inhibits NR2B-containing NMDA receptors in the ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Kash TL, Matthews RT, Winder DG (2008) Neuropsychopharmacology 33(6): 1379-90
    › Primary publication · 17625498 (PubMed) · PMC2864636 (PubMed Central)
  9. Norepinephrine modulates glutamatergic transmission in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Egli RE, Kash TL, Choo K, Savchenko V, Matthews RT, Blakely RD, Winder DG (2005) Neuropsychopharmacology 30(4): 657-68
    › Primary publication · 15602500 (PubMed)
  10. A novel mouse brain slice preparation of the hippocampo-accumbens pathway. Matthews RT, Coker O, Winder DG (2004) J Neurosci Methods 137(1): 49-60
    › Primary publication · 15196826 (PubMed)
  11. Synaptic plasticity in drug reward circuitry. Winder DG, Egli RE, Schramm NL, Matthews RT (2002) Curr Mol Med 2(7): 667-76
    › Primary publication · 12420805 (PubMed)
  12. Electrophysiological characteristics of non-bursting, glutamate decarboxylase messenger RNA-positive neurons of the medial septum/diagonal band nuclei of guinea-pig and rat. Knapp JA, Morris NP, Henderson Z, Matthews RT (2000) Neuroscience 98(4): 661-8
    › Primary publication · 10891609 (PubMed)
  13. Neurotensin depolarizes cholinergic and a subset of non-cholinergic septal/diagonal band neurons by stimulating neurotensin-1 receptors. Matthews RT (1999) Neuroscience 94(3): 775-83
    › Primary publication · 10579568 (PubMed)
  14. Electrophysiological evidence for excitation of rat ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons by morphine. Matthews RT, German DC (1984) Neuroscience 11(3): 617-25
    › Primary publication · 6717805 (PubMed)
  15. Effects of zoxazolamine and related centrally acting muscle relaxants on nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Matthews RT, McMillen BA, Speciale SG, Jarrah H, Shore PA, Sanghera MK, Shepard PD, German DC (1984) Brain Res Bull 12(5): 479-86
    › Primary publication · 6467036 (PubMed)
  16. Similar potency ratios of amphetamine optical isomers for inhibition of dopamine uptake by synaptosomes of corpus striatum, olfactory tubercle and prefrontal cortex of the rat. Matthews RT, Shore PA (1984) Biochem Pharmacol 33(17): 2817-9
    › Primary publication · 6466390 (PubMed)
  17. Dopamine receptor antagonism by the novel antianxiety drug, buspirone. McMillen BA, Matthews RT, Sanghera MK, Shepard PD, German DC (1983) J Neurosci 3(4): 733-8
    › Primary publication · 6131948 (PubMed) · PMC6564456 (PubMed Central)
  18. Electrophysiology of AChE-positive neurons in basal forebrain slices. Griffith WH, Matthews RT (1986) Neurosci Lett 71(2): 169-74
    › Primary publication · 3785743 (PubMed)
  19. Effects of fencamfamine on single unit activity of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons in rats. Matthews RT (1988) J Neural Transm 71(1): 45-55
    › Primary publication · 3343595 (PubMed)
  20. Effects of BMY 14802, a potential antipsychotic drug, on rat brain dopaminergic function. Matthews RT, McMillen BA, Sallis R, Blair D (1986) J Pharmacol Exp Ther 239(1): 124-31
    › Primary publication · 2876091 (PubMed)
  21. Evidence for a functional role of dopamine type-1 (D-1) receptors in the substantia nigra of rats. Matthews RT, German DC (1986) Eur J Pharmacol 120(1): 87-93
    › Primary publication · 2868905 (PubMed)
  22. Effects of (+-)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on brain dopaminergic activity in rats. Matthews RT, Champney TH, Frye GD (1989) Pharmacol Biochem Behav 33(4): 741-7
    › Primary publication · 2575758 (PubMed)
  23. Cocaine enhances medial prefrontal cortex neuron response to ventral tegmental area activation. Peterson SL, Olsta SA, Matthews RT (1990) Brain Res Bull 24(2): 267-73
    › Primary publication · 2322861 (PubMed)
  24. Pineal serotonin is resistant to depletion by serotonergic neurotoxins in rats. Champney TH, Matthews RT (1991) J Pineal Res 11(3-4): 163-7
    › Primary publication · 1724461 (PubMed)
  25. Electrophysiologic characteristics of basal forebrain neurons in vitro. Griffith WH, Sim JA, Matthews RT (1991) Adv Exp Med Biol : 143-55
    › Primary publication · 1723243 (PubMed)
  26. A comparison of extracellular and intracellular recordings from medial septum/diagonal band neurons in vitro. Matthews RT, Lee WL (1991) Neuroscience 42(2): 451-62
    › Primary publication · 1680227 (PubMed)
  27. Cholinergic stimulation of the caudate nucleus in rats: a model of Parkinson's disease. Matthews RT, Chiou CY (1978) Neuropharmacology 17(10): 879-82
    › Primary publication · 745684 (PubMed)
  28. Effects of diethylcholine in two animal models of Parkinsonism tremors. Matthews RT, Chiou CY (1979) Eur J Pharmacol 56(1-2): 159-62
    › Primary publication · 467505 (PubMed)
  29. Effects of acute and chronic injections of carbachol in the rat caudate nucleus. Matthews RT, Chiou CY (1979) Neuropharmacology 18(3): 291-4
    › Primary publication · 440537 (PubMed)
  30. Choline and diethylcholine transport into a cholinergic clone of neuroblastoma cells. Matthews RT, Chiou CY (1979) Biochem Pharmacol 28(3): 405-9
    › Primary publication · 426858 (PubMed)