Dr Will Norton

Lecturer

Adrian Building, Room 333

Tel - internal: 5078

Tel - external: +44 (0)116 252 5078

Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3330

Email: whjn1@le.ac.uk

Teaching

  • BS1070 (Adaptation and Diversity)
  • NS1015 (Introduction to neuroscience)
  • BS2000 (Core skills module)
  • BS3077 (Developmental Neurobiology)
  • BS3078 (Subtropical ecology and physiology)
  • BS3080 (Behavioural ecology)
  • BS3015 (Neuroscience futures)
  • BS3X00 (Research projects)

Publications

2015

Jones, L.J., McCutcheon, J.E., Young, A.M., Norton, W. (Corresponding author) (2015). Neurochemical measurements in the zebrafish brain. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 9:246.

Freudenberg, F., Carreño, H., Post, A.M., Reif, A., and Norton, W. (Corresponding author) (2015). Aggression in non-human vertebrates: Genetic mechanisms and molecular pathways. Am. J. Med. Genet. B Neuropsychiatr. Genet. Epub ahead of print.

Stewart AM, Ullmann JF, Norton WH, Parker MO, Brennan CH, Gerlai R, Kalueff AV. (2015) Molecular psychiatry of zebrafish. Mol Psychiatry. 20 (1):2-17.

Jones, L.J., Norton, W.H. (Corresponding author) (2015) Using zebrafish to uncover the genetic and neural basis of aggression, a frequent comorbid symptom of psychiatric disorders. Behav. Brain Res. 276:171-80

2013

Lange, M., Neuzeret, F., Fabreges, B., Froc, C., Bedu, S., Bally-Cuif, L., and Norton, W. (2013). Inter-individual and inter-strain variations in zebrafish locomotor ontogeny. PLoS One 8, e70172.

Norton, W. (Corresponding author) (2013). Towards developmental models of psychiatric disorders in zebrafish. Special issue “The world according to zebrafish: How neural circuits generate behaviour”. Front. Neural Circuits 7:79.

Tokarz J, Norton W, Möller G, Hrabé de Angelis M, Adamski J. (2013). Zebrafish 20β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 is important for glucocorticoid catabolism in stress response. PLoS One. 8 (1):e54851.

Lange, M., Neuzeret, F., Fabreges, B., Froc, C., Bedu, S., Bally-Cuif, L., and Norton, W.H. (2013) Inter-individual and inter-strain variations in zebrafish locomotor ontogeny PLoS One8(8):e70172.

Norton, W.H. (2013). Toward developmental models of psychiatric disorders in zebrafish Front. Neural Circuits7:79.

Cavodeassi, F., Bene, F.D., Fürthauer, M., Grabher, C., Herzog, W., Lehtonen, S., Linker, C., Mercader, N., Mikut, R., Norton, W., Strähle, U., Tiso, N., and Foulkes, N.S. (2013). Report of the Second European Zebrafish Principal Investigator Meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany, March 21-24, 2012 Zebrafish10(1):119-23.

Kalueff, A.V., Gebhardt, M., Stewart, A.M., Cachat, J.M., Brimmer, M., Chawla, J.S., Craddock, C., Kyzar, E.J., Roth, A., Landsman, S., Gaikwad, S., Robinson, K., Baatrup, E., Tierney, K., Shamchuk, A., Norton, W., Miller, N., Nicolson, T., Braubach, O., Gilman, C.P., Pittman, J., Rosemberg, D.B., Gerlai, R., Echevarria, D., Lamb, E., Neuhauss, S.C., Weng, W., and Bally-Cuif, L. (2013). Towards a comprehensive catalog of zebrafish behavior 1.0 and beyond Zebrafish10(1):70-86.

Tokarz, J., Norton, W., Möller, G., Hrabé de Angelis, M., and Adamski, J. (2013). Zebrafish 20beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 is important for glucocorticoid catabolism in stress response PLoS One8(1):e54851.

2012

Lange, M., Norton, W. (Co-corresponding author), Coolen, M.T.L., Chaminade, M., Faus-Kessler, T., Vernier, P., Lesch, K.P. and Bally-Cuif, L. (2012). The ADHD-susceptibility gene lphn3.1 modulates dopaminergic neuron formation and locomotor activity during zebrafish development. Mol. Psychiatry 17:855.

Amir-Zilberstein, L., Blechman, J., Sztainberg, Y., Norton, W., Reuveny, A., Borodovsky, N., Tahor, M., Bonkowsky, J.L., Bally-Cuif, L., Chen, A. and Levkowitz, G. (2012). Homeodomain protein otp and activity-dependent splicing modulate neuronal adaptation to stress. Neuron 72(2):279-291.

Tokarz J, Mindnich R, Norton W, Möller G, Hrabé de Angelis M, Adamski J. Discovery of a novel enzyme mediating glucocorticoid catabolism in fish: 20beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2. (2012). Mol Cell Endocrinol. 349 (2):202-13.

Lange, M., Norton, W., Coolen, M., Chaminade, M., Merker, S., Proft, F., Schmitt, A., Vernier, P., Lesch, K.P., and Bally-Cuif, L. (2012). The ADHD-linked gene Lphn3.1 controls locomotor activity and impulsivity in zebrafish Mol. Psychiatry17(9):855.

Lange, M., Norton, W., Coolen, M., Chaminade, M., Merker, S., Proft, F., Schmitt, A., Vernier, P., Lesch, K.P., and Bally-Cuif, L. (2012). The ADHD-susceptibility gene lphn3.1 modulates dopaminergic neuron formation and locomotor activity during zebrafish development Mol. Psychiatry17(9):946-954.

Amir-Zilberstein, L., Blechman, J., Sztainberg, Y., Norton, W.H., Reuveny, A., Borodovsky, N., Tahor, M., Bonkowsky, J.L., Bally-Cuif, L., Chen, A., and Levkowitz, G. (2012). Homeodomain protein otp and activity-dependent splicing modulate neuronal adaptation to stress Neuron72(2):279-291.

Norton, W.H.J., and Bally-Cuif, L. (2012) Unravelling the proximate causes of the aggression-boldness behavioural syndrome in zebrafish Behaviour149:1063-1079.

Kalueff, A.V., Stewart, A.M., Kyzar, E.J., Cachat, J., Gebhardt, M., Landsman, S., Robinson, K., Maximino, C., Herculano, A.M., Jesuthasan, S., Wisenden, B., Bally-Cuif, L., Lange, M., Vernier, P., Norton, W., Tierney, K., Tropepe, V., and Neuhauss, S. (2012). Time to recognize zebrafish ‘affective’ behavior Behaviour149:1019-1036.

Tokarz, J., Mindnich, R., Norton, W., Möller, G., Hrabé de Angelis, M., and Adamski, J. (2011). Discovery of a novel enzyme mediating glucocorticoid catabolism in fish: 20beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 Mol. Cell. Endocrinol.349(2):202-13.

Norton, W.H., Stumpenhorst, K., Faus-Kessler, T., Folchert, A., Rohner, N., Harris, M.P., Callebert, J., and Bally-Cuif, L. (2011). Modulation of Fgfr1a Signaling in Zebrafish Reveals a Genetic Basis for the Aggression-Boldness Syndrome J. Neurosci.31(39):13796-13807.

Research

Research in my laboratory focuses on genes, neural circuits and human diseases that are connected to aggression using zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model organism. Over the last two decades, zebrafish have become a premiere model to study neuroscience since they offer many of the key advantages of invertebrate models while sharing anatomic and genetic similarities with mammals, including humans.

Zebrafish have several attributes which also make them an excellent model to study the mechanistic basis of behaviour, including ease of maintenance, short generation time, genetic tractability and a full repertoire of mature behaviours. The large number of identified mutant lines, tools to manipulate genes (including Zinc-Finger nucleases and TALENs to knock-out genes), optogenetics and techniques to monitor neural activity (including calcium indicators and electrophysiology) make zebrafish an ideal model for behavioural neuroscience.

One area of our research centres on measuring the aggression levels in groups of adult zebrafish that harbour mutations in single genes. A key aspect of this work focuses upon measuring and comparing multiple behavioural changes in a single animal, giving insights into the pleiotropic action of the genes that control behaviour. Through comparison of the behavioural phenotype of different mutant families, we aim to uncover the general brain areas and genetic pathways that are linked to aggression in the vertebrate brain.

Furthermore, as part of the Aggressotype consortium, an EU-fund project to improve aggression subtyping, we are the in the process of screening to identify novel drugs to help treat patients that suffer from increased aggression.

A second aim of our research is to study the neurodevelopmental function of genes which are linked to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in human patients.

ADHD is a common psychiatric disorder that causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Although predominantly a childhood disease, ADHD can also be maintained into adulthood and lead to increases in aggression. However, despite the large number of disease-linked genes that have been identified in human ADHD patients, the changes in neural development that lead to symptoms of the disease are not well understood.

In our work, we use larval zebrafish to uncover the function of some of these ADHD-related genes. We have already identified ADHD-linked alterations to zebrafish behaviour, including hyperactivity and motor impulsivity. By combining gene expression analyses with measurements of behaviour, we thus aim to understand how alterations to gene function can contribute to the symptoms of ADHD.

Media

BBC Radio Leicester interview – 11 March 2014

I was interviewed with regard to my recent success in achieving a EU FP7 grant called Aggressotype.

The interview explains the work which will be carried out here in Biology as part of Aggressotype. This aims to identify novel drugs to reduce aggression levels, using larval zebrafish as a model organism. The rationale for carrying out this work in fish is discussed.

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Contact

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH

T: +44 (0)116 252 2922
E: npbenquiries@le.ac.uk

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