Brian D. Gulbransen

Brian D.  Gulbransen
  • MSU Foundation Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Neuroscience Program
  • Biomed Phys Sci
  • 567 Wilson Rd Room 3181
  • East Lansing MI 48824
  • 517-884-5121


The goal of my research is to understand how inflammation in the nervous system (neuroinflammation) leads to long-term changes in neural circuitry. Within this context, we focus on the regulation of neural networks by glial cells, with particular interests in clarifying the role of glial cells in nervous system physiology and elucidating how glial changes during neuroinflammation contribute to the plasticity of neural circuits. We are addressing this issue by exploring how neuron-glia interactions in the enteric nervous system (ENS) regulate gut physiology. Current research focuses on the roles of these interactions in the generation of visceral pain, inflammatory responses, and gut motility. Understanding these mechanisms is important because it will lead to new therapies for common functional bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. 

We use an array of advanced techniques to study intercellular communication in the intestine at level of the cell, organ, and whole organism. Examples of current techniques include fluorescence microscopy with advanced ontogenetic reporters, advanced genetic models such as designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) and cell type specific gene knockout models, electrophysiology, in vivo organ physiology, in vitro organ physiology, and next generation genomic sequencing. 

I have a strong interest in mentoring and have a specific interest in promoting diversity in science. I currently act as the primary mentor for predoctoral students in several PhD programs and medical scientist training programs, mentor two postdoctoral fellows, and a number of undergraduate research assistants. My former trainees were successful, highly recruited, and are currently in postdoctoral positions at leading research institutions. 


University of Wyoming, B.S., 2003, Zoology and Physiology, minor Chemistry, with honors
University of Colorado at Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, Ph.D., 2007, Neuroscience 
University of Calgary, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Postdoctoral



Dr. Gulbransen at NCBI

Dr. Gulbransen at MSU Scholars