Grace Blair


Virginia Tech

Translational Biology in Medicine and Health, Third Year Ph.D. Candidate

Graduate Research Assistant in Laboratory of Dr. Steven Poelzing

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Honors Program

Graduation: December, 2014

Degree: B.S. Biology, Chemistry minor      GPA: 3.90

Manuscript Publications


  • Audrey Branch, Amy Monasterio, Grace Blair, James K. Knierim, Michela Gallagher, Rebecca P. Haberman. (2019) Aged Rats with Preserved Memory Dynamically Recruit Hippocampal inhibition in a local/global cue mismatch environment. Neurobiology of Aging.


  • Alice Stamatakis, Maaike M. Helene Van Swieten, Marcus L. Basiri, Grace A. Blair, Pranish Kantak, and Garret D Stuber. (2016) Lateral hypothalamic area glutamatergic neurons and their projections to the lateral habenula regulate feeding and reward. Journal of Neuroscience.


  • Alice M. Stamatakis, Joshua H. Jennings, Randall L. Ung, Grace A. Blair, Richard J. Weinberg, Rachael L. Neve, Frederick Boyce, Joanna Mattis, Charu Ramakrishnan, Karl Deisseroth, and Garret D. Stuber (2013) VTA dopamine neurons release GABA in the lateral habenula to promote reward. Neuron.


Accepted Abstracts

  • Katrina Colucci-Chang, Grace Blair, Allison Tegge Ph.D, Steven Poelzing Ph.D. Changing perinexal width changes excitability in guinea pig hearts in extracellular stimulation. 2020 Biophysical Society Conference, San Diego, CA.

Poster Presentations

  • Grace Blair, Tom Steeves, Wynn Legon, John Rossmeisl, Susan L. Campbell, Eli Vlaisavljevich. (2019) Non-thermal Focused Ultrasound Therapy for Neuromodulation. Poster presented at: 2019 Transdisciplinary Communities Research Symposium; 2019 Apr. 2; Blacksburg, VA.


  • Audrey Branch, Grace Blair, Xiuping Fu, Michela Gallagher, Jay Baraban, Rebecca Haberman.. Hippocampal CA3 miRNA and mRNA Transcriptomes Distinguish Aged Rats with Impaired and Preserved Memory. Poster Presented at: Society for Neuroscience 2017; 2017 Nov. 11-15; Washington, D.C.



Grant Writing

  • Co-authored the proposal for Adaptive Brain and Behavior Research Destination Area Seed Grant: Investigation of Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound (LIFU) for Non-invasive Neuromodulation for the Treatment of Neurological Disorders. (PIs: Eli Vlaisavljevich, Susan Campbell, John Rossmeisl). Awarded $25,000. 2019.
  • Co-authored the proposal for Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation, Research Award program: High risk track. Mechanistic Study of Focused Ultrasound (FUS) Neuromodulation at the Cellular Level using a Custom FUS Electrophysiology Platform. (PI: Eli Vlaisavljevich). 2019.

Prior Research Experience

  • Research Technologist, Gallagher Lab, Johns Hopkins University (October 2016 – April 2018): Contributed to a variety of projects regarding gene expression and regulation of neural activity in a rodent model of Alzheimer’s; assisted/taught undergraduate researchers molecular biology techniques; maintained laboratory inventory/organization
  • Research Assistant, Stuber Lab, UNC Chapel Hill (September 2012-December 2014): Assisted with an investigation of neuronal circuits between sub nuclei of the hypothalamus and their role in feeding and reward using optogenetic techniques.
  • Research Assistant, Frank Lab, UCSF (June-August 2014): Built an implantable headset (for rodent use) including 21 electrodes, 1 stimulating electrode, and 1 optical fiber; trained 3 naïve rats to perform on a linear maze; built various electrical cables/components (pre-amps, infrared reward ports, etc).

Laboratory/Research Skills

  • Optical mapping using Langedorff-perfusion of guinea pig heart, whole-cell patch clamping of cortical neurons, In situ hybridization, Immunohistochemistry, iDISCO brain clearing, Lightsheet microscopy, Confocal microscopy, Optogenetic techniques (production of optogenetic tools–patch cables, implantable fibers, etc.), stereotactic rodent surgery, execution/design of animal behavior models


Mountain biking, paragliding, oil painting