Everson Laboratory


Health Research Center

General Interests

Physiology, Endocrinology, Metabolism

View Carol Everson, PhD Bio
Carol Everson Laboratory

Research Areas

Intervening in mild traumatic brain injury to improve outcomes. Our laboratory is investigating practical interventions that may be implemented in the field to improve outcomes after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Each intervention under study – sleep augmentation, sleep restriction, caffeine, and sedation – is known to profoundly affect cerebral blood flow and metabolism, which are integral to injury sequelae. These interventions are being evaluated for changes to the extent and course of brain injury (i.e., local coherence of brain neural activity, functional brain connectivity, and microstructural disturbances) and for changes to hormonal and behavioral co-morbidities in mTBI. The results will provide basic proof of concept for practical and low-cost means to improve mTBI outcomes during acute and subacute postinjury intervals.

This initiative is supported by a grant awarded by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command, Department of Defense. Collaborators include Drs. Brian Stemper and Matthew Budde, Department of Neurosurgery; Dr. Aniko Szabo, Institute for Health and Equity; and Dr. Thomas Hammeke (retired), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine.

Deconstructing sleep disruption as a major risk factor for relapse in opioid use. The threat of relapse to opioid use is severe and unrelenting: 40-60% of individuals who misuse or become addicted to opioids relapse weeks or months after opioid withdrawal. Profound sleep disturbances during abstinence have long been suspected of perpetuating vulnerability to relapse. Our laboratory has shown that persistent sleep disruption dysregulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis—a likely biological basis of vulnerability. Therefore, we are interrogating the HPA axis to isolate the mechanism that may be maintained in a dysregulated state by persistent sleep restriction during opioid abstinence. Furthermore, two clinically relevant approaches to situations where too little or too much HPA-axis output is suspected will be tested for treatment efficacy. The functional outcome measure will be the degree of mitigation of opioid drug seeking. Characterization of vulnerable phenotypes will include stress-induced changes glucocorticoids, pain sensitivity, and responses to novel environments which may predict vulnerability.

This is a multi-principal investigator project with Dr. Everson, Dr. Christopher Olsen, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Dr. Hershel Raff, Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Surgery. Collaborating scientists include Dr. Aniko Szabo in the Institute for Health and Equity and Dr. Cheryl Stucky in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy. This project is supported by a grant award from the National Institutes of Health HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative.

Dr. Carol Everson and team working in lab

Rachel Jackson performing experiment in Dr. Carol Everson lab

Recent Publications