Flinn Lab

Dr. Flinn's Lab

Dr. Flinn’s research focuses on the role of metals in both behavior and physiology. Her research has emphasized the roles of zinc, copper and iron in learning and memory and also in macular degeneration. Her research currently focuses on two specific aspects of metals in behavior, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the extinction of learned fears. Her lab is developing genetically modified mice which model late onset Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of the disease. In Alzheimer’s mice, increased zinc causes an impairment in memory, which may be due to decreased copper. Current studies are examining memory, affiliative behaviors and circadian rhythms and the role of inflammation and zinc transporters in AD mice. The work on extinction has shown that increased levels of zinc, which may act through reducing copper levels, lead to an inability to extinguish a learned fear normally, a possible factor in PTSD.