University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences

Bio for Karen Braas
Karen Braas

Karen Braas

Associate Professor
Research Scholar Pathway
Department of Neurological Sciences

Contact Information
Office Location:
Neurological Sciences, Health Sci Rsrch Facility Rm 422, Burlington, VT


1983-1986: Postdoctoral training, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
1976-1983: Ph.D., Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
1972-1976: B.A., Chemistry and Biology, Saint Xavier College, Chicago, IL

Academic Interests

As a research faculty member, I presently do not have any formal teaching assignments.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on neurotransmitters, receptors and their associated signaling pathways that guide neuronal function. Current research investigates expression, regulation and function of pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP, Adcyap1) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and the role of these neuropeptides in the stress response. Two questions are under investigation. The first involves the identification of small molecule PACAP receptor antagonists. I am collaborating with colleagues both here at the University of Vermont and at other institutions to identify small molecule receptor blockers; we will be using candidate molecules for molecular/cellular assays in vitro and behavioral assessments in vivo. The second, done in collaboration with Dr. Victor May, elucidate mechanisms regulating CNS PACAP expression during chronic stress. We are currently refining our abilities to measure PACAP levels in tissues and blood by radioimmunoassay; in combination with our molecular tools, we are assessing the signaling mechanisms that increase neuronal PACAP expression, and how promoters and 5' UTRs of PACAP transcript variants contribute to the overall levels of PACAP production.

Academic Appointments

2012-Present: Research Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
2002-2012: Research Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
1989-2001: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT


White, S. L., V. May, K. M. Braas (2000). Organization of the rat PACAP gene. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 921:370-372.

Beaudet, M. M., R. L. Parsons, K. M. Braas, V. May (2000). Mechanisms mediating pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide depolarization of rat sympathetic neurons. J. Neurosci. 20:7353-7361.

Braas, K. M. and V. May (1999). Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptides directly stimulate sympathetic neuron neuropeptide Y release through PAC1 receptor isoform activation of specific intracellular signaling pathways. J. Biol. Chem. 274:27702-27710.

Harakall, S. A., C. A. Brandenburg, G. A. Gilmartin, V. May and K. M. Braas (1998). Induction of multiple pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) transcripts through alternative cleavage and polyadenylation of proPACAP precursor mRNA. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 865:367-374.

Braas, K. M., V. May, S. A. Harakall, J. C. Hardwick, and R. L. Parsons (1998). Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide expression and modulation of neuronal excitability in guinea pig cardiac ganglia. J. Neurosci. 18:9766-9779.

To view more of Dr. Braas' publications, please visit PubMed.