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Julian Meeks received a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from Saint Louis University in 2001. After serving in the laboratory of Jeffrey Diamond, PhD at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS, part of the National Institutes of Health) in 2000, he was inspired to pursue a PhD in the neurosciences. He received his PhD in neuroscience from Washington University in 2006, where he was supported by an individual Kirschstein NRSA grant from the NINDS. During his PhD research in Steven Mennerick's laboratory, Dr. Meeks identified several important roles of the axon initial segment (AIS) in generating and maintaining action potential signaling during healthy and pathophysiological states.
Dr. Meeks pursued his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Timothy Holy, PhD, where he was supported by individual fellowships from the W.M. Keck Foundation and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD, also part of the NIH). In his postdoctoral research, Dr. Meeks developed ex vivo procedures for studying difficult-to-access circuits in the mouse brain. He applied these procedures to study communication between neurons in the mouse accessory olfactory system (AOS), an olfactory pathway capable of affecting male-male aggression, maternal behavior, and mating. These studies identified several functional motifs and integration strategies used by AOS neurons to extract salient information from a complicated olfactory environment.
Dr. Meeks joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in the Department of Neuroscience in 2012. His laboratory will investigate mechanisms underlying so-called "intrinsic" behaviors elicited in mice through the accessory olfactory pathway. Dr. Meeks is especially interested in identifying how inhibitory interneurons in this pathway modify sensory information as it is processed in AOS circuits and, ultimately, how those modifications lead to changes in social and reproductive behaviors.