Will Birdsong
1150 W Medical Center Dr, MSRBIII A220B
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
[email protected]

Available to mentor

Will Birdsong
Assistant Professor
  • About
  • Links
  • Qualifications
  • Research Overview
  • Recent Publications
  • About

    Dr Birdsong is a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology. He is a member of the Edward F. Domino Research Center and Affiliate of the Michigan Neuroscience Institute. He is actively involved in research and education and trains students in the Pharmacology and Neuroscience graduate Programs.

    • Birdsong Lab Webpage
    • Postdoctoral Fellow
      Oregon Health & Science University, Vollum Institute, 2014
    • PhD
      Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, 2008
    • BS
      University of Oregon, Eugene, 2000
    Research Overview

    The Birdsong lab is investigating the molecules and circuits involved in mediating pain perception and addiction. We’re particularly interested in the mechanisms by which opioids modulate synaptic transmission and the results of this activation on circuit function. Our current work focuses on opioid signaling in thalamo-cortical and thalamo-striatal circuits.

    Our studies utilize electrophysiological and imaging techniques to study the function and pharmacology of mu, delta, and kappa opioid receptors in modulating synaptic transmission. We combine these approaches with optogenetic and pharmacological manipulation of circuitry in mouse and rats to better understand how drugs of abuse such as morphine and fentanyl change communication between the thalamus, cortex, and striatum to affect pain and addiction related behaviors.

    Recent Publications See All Publications
    • Journal Article
      Chronic Morphine Induces Adaptations in Opioid Receptor Signaling in a Thalamostriatal Circuit That Are Location Dependent, Sex Specific, and Regulated by μ-Opioid Receptor Phosphorylation.
      Jaeckel ER, Herrera YN, Schulz S, Birdsong WT. J Neurosci, 2024 Jan 17; 44 (3): DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0293-23.2023
      PMID: 37985179
    • Journal Article
      The opioid peptide met-enkephalin modulates thalamo-cortical excitation inhibition balance in a medial thalamus-anterior cingulate cortex circuit
      Arias-Hervert ER, Birdsong WT. Neuropharmacology, 2024 Jan 1; 242: DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2023.109785
    • Journal Article
      The Endogenous Opioid Met-Enkephalin Modulates Thalamo-Cortical Excitation Inhibition Balance in a Medial Thalamus-Anterior Cingulate Cortex Circuit.
      Hervert EA, Birdsong W. bioRxiv, 2023 Jul 13; DOI:10.1101/2023.07.13.547220
      PMID: 37503144
    • Journal Article
      Chronic morphine induces adaptations in opioid receptor signaling in a thalamo-cortico-striatal circuit that are projection-dependent, sex-specific and regulated by mu opioid receptor phosphorylation.
      Jaeckel ER, Arias-Hervert ER, Perez-Medina AL, Herrera YN, Schulz S, Birdsong WT. bioRxiv, 2023 Feb 14; DOI:10.1101/2023.02.13.528057
      PMID: 36824766
    • Journal Article
      Agonist-Specific Regulation of G Protein-Coupled Receptors after Chronic Opioid Treatment.
      Adhikary S, Koita O, Lebowitz JJ, Birdsong WT, Williams JT. Mol Pharmacol, 2022 May; 101 (5): 300 - 308. DOI:10.1124/molpharm.121.000453
      PMID: 35193934
    • Journal Article
      Mu Opioid Receptors Acutely Regulate Adenosine Signaling in Striatal Glutamate Afferents.
      Adhikary S, Jaeckel ER, Birdsong WT. J Neurosci, 2022 Mar 23; 42 (12): 2404 - 2417. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1039-21.2022
      PMID: 35091505
    • Preprint
      μ opioid receptors acutely regulate adenosine signaling in a thalamo-striatal circuit
      Adhikary S, Birdsong WT. bioRxiv, DOI:10.1101/2021.05.25.445648
    • Journal Article
      Chronic Morphine Exposure and μ‐opioid Receptor Phosphorylation Deficiency Enhances Opioid Sensitivity of Thalamo‐Striatal Synapses
      Jaeckel E, Perez‐Medina A, Herrera Y, Arias‐Hervert E, Birdsong W. The FASEB Journal, 2021 May; 35 (S1): DOI:10.1096/fasebj.2021.35.s1.03937