University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences

Bio for Cindy Forehand, Ph.D.
Cindy Forehand, Ph.D.

Cindy Forehand, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Graduate College

Professor, Tenured
Department of Neurological Sciences

Contact Information
Office Location:
Neurological Sciences, Health Sci Rsrch Facility Rm 426A, Burlington, VT


1981: Ph.D., University of North Carolina
1981-1985: Postdoctoral Training, Washington University

Academic Interests

I teach concepts of neuroscience to students at all levels. I am Course Director and lecture in the VIC Neural Science course for the first year medical students and graduate students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). I also lecture in two other VIC courses: Human Structure and Function; and Nutrition, Metabolism and the Gastrointestinal System. I developed a Human Neuroanatomy course that is a selective for students in the University undergraduate Neuroscience major; graduate students in programs other than NGP also take this course.  At the graduate level I also teach in the Developmental Neurobiology course and in a course entitled “Towards Career Success in Science”. At the postgraduate level, I teach in the Neuropharmacology course for psychiatry residents.

Research Interests

The long-term goal of my research program is to understand how connections in the nervous system are made and to determine how they may be altered by disease and injury. One set of experiments concerns the development of sensory afferent projections in the spinal cord with a focus on the way in which intersegmental and supraspinal connections are established. In particular, the mechanisms that link growth factor signaling with cytoskeletal components of the growing axons are being explored. Another area of research investigates mechanisms by which preganglionic neurons lying in specific segments of the spinal cord innervate sympathetic ganglia, resulting in a topographic map of body innervation. This work addresses two fundamental issues: 1) how positional information establishes the rostrocaudal axis in this system and 2) whether the spinal cord is intrinsically segmented. The segment-specific outgrowth of preganglionic axons can be altered by manipulation of the somitic mesoderm (through which the preganglionic axons project) during development. Manipulations that alter the specific outgrowth include surgical translocations of the somites, altering the anterior-posterior axis of the somites, and treating the somites with retinoic acid. A third area of study concerns the relationship between reproductive and metabolic signals that regulate hypothalamic development. The techniques used in these different studies include embryonic surgery, in vitro labeling of embryonic neural projections, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and ectopic gene expression using electroporation.

Administrative Interests

I have significant administrative roles in education as the Associate Dean of the Graduate College and the Director of the Foundations Level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum (VIC) for medical students.

Academic Appointments

2012-Present: Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont College of Medicine
1999-2012: Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine
1993-1999: Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine
1987-1993: Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine


Coutinho-Budd J.C., Ezerman E.B. and C.J. Forehand (2008). The Effect of cAMP Signaling on the Longitudinal Extension of Spinal Sensory Neurons in the Chicken Embryo. J. Anat. 213: 547- 554.

Whitsel, A.I., C.B. Johnson, and C.J. Forehand (2002). An in ovo chicken model to study the systemic and localized teratogenic effects of valproic acid. Teratology 66:153-63.

Berggren, K., E.B. Ezerman, P. McCaffrey and C.J. Forehand (2001). The expression and regulation of the retinoic-acid sythetic enzyme RALDH-2 in the embryonic chicken wing. Dev. Dyn. 221:1-16.

Berggren, K., P. McCaffery, U. Dräger and C.J. Forehand (1999). Differential distribution of retinoic acid synthesis in the chicken embryo as determined by immunolocalization of the retinoic acid synthetic enzyme, RALDH-2. Devel. Biol. 210:288-304.

Forehand, C.J., E.B. Ezerman, J.P. Goldblatt, D.L. Skidmore and J.C. Glover (1998). Segment-specific pattern of sympathetic preganglionic projections in the chicken embryo spinal cord is altered by retinoids. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 95:10878-10883.

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