Eastern Michigan University
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Joseph Breza

Assistant Professor

A headshot of Dr. Breza. 341 J Science Complex

734.487.1287

jbreza1@emich.edu

Education

  • Postdoctoral training (Neuroscience) Ohio State University, 2012-2014
  • Ph.D. (Neuroscience) Florida State University, 2011
  • M.S. (Psychobiology) Florida State University, 2008
  • B.S. (Psychology) Florida State University, 2003

Interests and Expertise

The sense of taste is critical for identifying nutrients (electrolytes, carbohydrates and proteins) from toxins (plant alkaloids).  Animals show innate preferences for nutrients and avoid ingesting toxins, but these stereotypical behaviors can be reversed with experience.  I am interested in the neural structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) of orosensation (taste, mechanosensation, and thermosensation) taste perception, and oromotor reflexes (licking, chewing, swallowing, and gaping).  Currently, I use a multifaceted approach (neurophysiology, immunohistochemistry, and optogenetics) to study the structure and function of orosensation in the murine-nervous system.  I also have interest in the structure and function of chemosensation (taste and smell) and behavior in other model organisms, such as insects and amphibians.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 301W Introductory Experimental Psychology (Undergraduate)
  • PSY 357 Sensation and Perception (Undergraduate)
  • NSCI 301 Introduction to Neuroscience (Undergraduate)
  • NSCI 401 Advanced Neuroscience (Undergraduate)
  • PSY 633 Cognitive Neuroscience (Graduate)

Selected Publications

Leijon SCM, Neves AF, Breza JM, Simon SA, Chaudhari N, Roper SD (2019) Oral thermosensing by murine trigeminal neurons: modulation by capsaicin, menthol, and mustard oil. bioRxiv 486480; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/486480

Travers SP, Breza JM, Harley J, Zhu J, and Travers JB. Neurons with diverse phenotypes project from the caudal to the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract. J Comp Neurol. 1-20, (2018).

Raymond MA, Mast TG, and Breza JM. An Open-source lickometer and microstructure analysis program. HardwareX 4(e00035), 2018.

Whiddon ZD, Rynberg ST, Mast TG, Breza JM. Aging Decreases Chorda-Tympani Nerve Responses to NaCl and Alters Morphology of Fungiform Taste Pores in Rats. Chem Senses 43(2): 117-28, 2018.

Mast TG, Breza JM, Contreras RJ. Thirst Increases Chorda Tympani Responses to Sodium Chloride. Chem Senses 42(8): 675-81, 2017.

Lu BO, Breza JM, and Contreras RJ. Temperature Influences Chorda Tympani Nerve Responses to Sweet, Salty, Sour, Umami, and Bitter Stimuli in Mice. Chem Senses41(9): 727-36, 2016.

Breza JM and Travers SP. P2X2 Terminal Field Demarcates a “Transition Zone” for Gustatory and Mechanosensory Processing in the Mouse Nucleus Tractus Solitarius. Chem Senses 41(6):515-24, 2016.

Wu W., Mast T.G., Ziembko C., Breza J.M., Contreras R.J. Statistical analysis and decoding of neural activity in the rodent geniculate ganglion using a metric-based inference system. PloS ONE. 8(5): e65439, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065439.201. (2013) PDF
 
Breza J.M., Contreras R.J. Anion size modulates salt taste in rats. J. Neurophysiol. 107:1632-1648. (2012) PDF
 
Lu B., Breza J.M., Nikonov A.A., Paedae A.B., and Contreras R.J. Leptin increases temperature-dependent chorda tympani nerve responses to sucrose in mice.. Physiol Behav. 107: 533-539. (2012) PDF
 
Breza J.M. and Contreras R.J. Acetic acid modulates salt taste in rats.. J. Neurophysiol. 108: 2405-2418. (2012) PDF
 
Torregrossaa A.M., Bales M.B., Breza J.M., Houpt T.A., Smith J.C., Contreras R.J. Water restriction and fluid temperature alter preference for water and sucrose solutions. Chem Senses. 37(3): 279-92. (2012) PDF
 
Breza J.M., Nikonov A.A., and Contreras R.J. Response latency to lingual taste stimulation distinguishes neuron types within the geniculate ganglion. J Neurophysiol. 103: 1771-1784. (2010) PDF
 
Breza J.M., Curtis K.S., Contreras R.J. Monosodium glutamate but not linoleic acid differentially activates gustatory neurons in the rat geniculate ganglion. Chem Senses. 32(9):833-46. (2007) PDF
 
Breza J.M., Curtis K.S., Contreras R.J. Temperature modulates taste responsiveness and stimulates gustatory neurons in the rat geniculate ganglion. J Neurophysiol. 95(2):674-85. (2006) PDF

Funding:

2018-current Lightly Salted: An Optogenetic Approach to Uncover the Role of Type I Cells in Salt Taste Transduction. ($429,792). National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 1R21 DC016990-01

2016 Summer Research/Creative Activity Award: The Taste of Light: Utilizing Optogenetics to Understand the Cells and Logic of Salt Taste. ($12,000).Eastern Michigan University

2015 Provost’s New Faculty Research Award: An Optogenetic Approach to Deciphering the Neural Circuitry of Salt Taste. ($5,000). Provost’s Office, Eastern Michigan University

2015 New Faculty Research Award: An Optogenetic Approach to Deciphering the Neural Circuitry of Salt Taste. ($2,000). Provost’s Office, Eastern Michigan University

2012–2014 Postdoctoral Training Grant: Comprehensive Training in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences (CTOC); National Institute of Dental and Cranial Facial Research, 2T32DE014320-11

2009–2011 Predoctoral Training Grant: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA); National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 1F31DC009920-01A2

2007–2009 Predoctoral Chemosensory Training Grant: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, DC00044