Davide Dulcis

Title(s)Associate Professor In Residence, Psychiatry
SchoolVc-health Sciences-schools
Address9500 Gilman Drive #
La Jolla CA 92093
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    Dr. Dulcis received his B.S. from University of Cagliari in Italy double majoring in Physiology and Biology. While earning his Ph.D. from University of Arizona in Neuroscience, he illustrated the role of neurotransmitters in cardiac function of neurogenic invertebrate hearts. During his post-doctoral training in the Neurobiology department at UC San Diego, he expanded his research repertoire to include activity-dependent and circuit-specific respecification of neurotransmitters affecting behavior. His research at UCSD led to the discovery that the transmitters expressed in neurons can be respecified by sensory stimuli, with matching respecification of postsynaptic receptor expression and associated changes in behavior (Nature, 2008; Science, 2013). He joined the Department of Psychiatry as Principal Investigator in January 2015. Research projects in his laboratory implement an interdisciplinary approach to identify activity-regulated genes involved in neurotransmitter plasticity which evolved to accommodate behaviors and that could provide new therapeutic strategies with translational application in a number of neurological conditions including mood disorders and drug abuse.

    Research Interests

    Dr. Dulcis' research projects focus on circuit-specific respecification of neurotransmitters in the developing and adult brain. His studies have shown that altering the activation of a simple neural circuit in the postembryonic brain by a natural stimulus (ambient light) changes the numbers of neurons expressing dopamine (Nature, 2008).

    Significantly, Dr. Dulcis found that newly dopaminergic neurons serve the same behavior as the native population of dopaminergic neurons. He recently discovered behaviorally relevant transmitter switching in the mature nervous system (Science, 2013).

    In his laboratory, Dr. Dulcis is testing the generality of this novel form of calcium activity-dependent plasticity (J. Neuroscience, 2011). He hypothesizes that other sensory modalities as well as psychostimulants, induce transmitter switching in neurons of the activated circuits affecting behavior (Develop. Neurobiology, 2012).

    Dr. Dulcis is currently carrying out studies to test whether selective circuit activation promotes transmitter respecification affecting behaviors in translational animal models relevant for a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions including depression (Europ. J. Pharmacology, 2015) and addiction.

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    1. Nicotine-Mediated Recruitment of GABAergic Neurons to a Dopaminergic Phenotype Attenuates Motor Deficits in an Alpha-Synuclein Parkinson's Model. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Feb 20; 24(4). Lai JI, Porcu A, Romoli B, Keisler M, Manfredsson FP, Powell SB, Dulcis D. PMID: 36835612; PMCID: PMC9960650.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    2. Seasonal changes in day length induce multisynaptic neurotransmitter switching to regulate hypothalamic network activity and behavior. Sci Adv. 2022 Sep 02; 8(35):eabn9867. Porcu A, Nilsson A, Booreddy S, Barnes SA, Welsh DK, Dulcis D. PMID: 36054362; PMCID: PMC10848959.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    
    3. Neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of circadian rhythm disruption in bipolar disorder: A critical multi-disciplinary literature review and agenda for future research from the ISBD task force on chronobiology. Bipolar Disord. 2022 05; 24(3):232-263. McCarthy MJ, Gottlieb JF, Gonzalez R, McClung CA, Alloy LB, Cain S, Dulcis D, Etain B, Frey BN, Garbazza C, Ketchesin KD, Landgraf D, Lee HJ, Marie-Claire C, Nusslock R, Porcu A, Porter R, Ritter P, Scott J, Smith D, Swartz HA, Murray G. PMID: 34850507; PMCID: PMC9149148.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    4. Converging evidence that short-active photoperiod increases acetylcholine signaling in the hippocampus. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2020 12; 20(6):1173-1183. Cope ZA, Lavadia ML, Joosen AJM, van de Cappelle CJA, Lara JC, Huval A, Kwiatkowski MK, Picciotto MR, Mineur YS, Dulcis D, Young JW. PMID: 32794101; PMCID: PMC7718303.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    5. Short-active photoperiod gestation induces psychiatry-relevant behavior in healthy mice but a resiliency to such effects are seen in mice with reduced dopamine transporter expression. Sci Rep. 2020 06 23; 10(1):10217. Kwiatkowski MA, Cope ZA, Lavadia ML, van de Cappelle CJA, Dulcis D, Young JW. PMID: 32576854; PMCID: PMC7311429.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    6. A cell type-specific expression map of NCoR1 and SMRT transcriptional co-repressors in the mouse brain. J Comp Neurol. 2020 09 01; 528(13):2218-2238. Iemolo A, Montilla-Perez P, Lai IC, Meng Y, Nolan S, Wen J, Rusu I, Dulcis D, Telese F. PMID: 32072640; PMCID: PMC7368833.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. Nicotine-induced dopamine plasticity: a gateway to neurotransmitter replacement? Neural Regen Res. 2020 Jan; 15(1):73-74. Lai IC, Dulcis D. PMID: 31535653; PMCID: PMC6862394.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3  
    8. Serotonergic Plasticity in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus Characterizes Susceptibility and Resilience to Anhedonia. J Neurosci. 2020 01 15; 40(3):569-584. Prakash N, Stark CJ, Keisler MN, Luo L, Der-Avakian A, Dulcis D. PMID: 31792153; PMCID: PMC6961996.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    9. Photoperiod-induced neurotransmitter plasticity declines with aging: An epigenetic regulation? J Comp Neurol. 2020 02 01; 528(2):199-210. Pritchard R, Chen H, Romoli B, Spitzer NC, Dulcis D. PMID: 31343079.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 7     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    10. Neonatal Nicotine Exposure Primes Midbrain Neurons to a Dopaminergic Phenotype and Increases Adult Drug Consumption. Biol Psychiatry. 2019 09 01; 86(5):344-355. Romoli B, Lozada AF, Sandoval IM, Manfredsson FP, Hnasko TS, Berg DK, Dulcis D. PMID: 31202491; PMCID: PMC7359410.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    11. Evidence for light-entrainment-induced switching between depression- & mania-relevant behaviors in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 09; 44(10):1679-1680. Young JW, Cope ZA, Romoli B, Schrurs E, Joosen A, van Enkhuizen J, Sharp RF, Dulcis D. PMID: 30787425; PMCID: PMC6784984.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    12. High-quality ultrastructural preservation using cryofixation for 3D electron microscopy of genetically labeled tissues. Elife. 2018 05 11; 7. Tsang TK, Bushong EA, Boassa D, Hu J, Romoli B, Phan S, Dulcis D, Su CY, Ellisman MH. PMID: 29749931; PMCID: PMC5988420.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 24     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    13. Photoperiod-Induced Neuroplasticity in the Circadian System. Neural Plast. 2018; 2018:5147585. Porcu A, Riddle M, Dulcis D, Welsh DK. PMID: 29681926; PMCID: PMC5851158.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 16     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    14. Opponent control of behavioral reinforcement by inhibitory and excitatory projections from the ventral pallidum. Nat Commun. 2018 02 27; 9(1):849. Faget L, Zell V, Souter E, McPherson A, Ressler R, Gutierrez-Reed N, Yoo JH, Dulcis D, Hnasko TS. PMID: 29487284; PMCID: PMC5829073.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 80     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    15. Mice with reduced DAT levels recreate seasonal-induced switching between states in bipolar disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 07; 43(8):1721-1731. Young JW, Cope ZA, Romoli B, Schrurs E, van Enkhuizen J, Sharp RF, Dulcis D. PMID: 29520059; PMCID: PMC6006292.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    16. Neurotransmitter Switching Regulated by miRNAs Controls Changes in Social Preference. Neuron. 2017 Sep 13; 95(6):1319-1333.e5. Dulcis D, Lippi G, Stark CJ, Do LH, Berg DK, Spitzer NC. PMID: 28867550; PMCID: PMC5893310.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 29     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    17. HIV-1 TAT protein enhances sensitization to methamphetamine by affecting dopaminergic function. Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Oct; 65:210-221. Kesby JP, Najera JA, Romoli B, Fang Y, Basova L, Birmingham A, Marcondes MCG, Dulcis D, Semenova S. PMID: 28495611; PMCID: PMC5537017.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 36     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    18. Davide Dulcis, Guest Editor. Neurotransmitter Plasticity/Special Issue. 2016; 73:1-42. Davide Dulcis. . View Publication.
    19. The ever-changing brain: Clinical implications. J Chem Neuroanat. 2016 Apr; 73:1-2. Dulcis D. PMID: 26535467.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    20. Investigating the mechanism(s) underlying switching between states in bipolar disorder. Eur J Pharmacol. 2015 Jul 15; 759:151-62. Young JW, Dulcis D. PMID: 25814263; PMCID: PMC4437855.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 28     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    21. Neurotransmitter switching in the adult brain regulates behavior. Science. 2013 Apr 26; 340(6131):449-53. Dulcis D, Jamshidi P, Leutgeb S, Spitzer NC. PMID: 23620046.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 137     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. Reserve pool neuron transmitter respecification: Novel neuroplasticity. Dev Neurobiol. 2012 Apr; 72(4):465-74. Dulcis D, Spitzer NC. PMID: 21595049; PMCID: PMC3192250.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    23. Contexts for dopamine specification by calcium spike activity in the CNS. J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 05; 31(1):78-88. Velázquez-Ulloa NA, Spitzer NC, Dulcis D. PMID: 21209192; PMCID: PMC3080040.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 19     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    24. Illumination controls differentiation of dopamine neurons regulating behaviour. Nature. 2008 Nov 13; 456(7219):195-201. Dulcis D, Spitzer NC. PMID: 19005547; PMCID: PMC2803045.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 60     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    25. Role of the neuropeptide CCAP in Drosophila cardiac function. J Neurobiol. 2005 Sep 05; 64(3):259-74. Dulcis D, Levine RB, Ewer J. PMID: 15898062.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 26     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    26. Glutamatergic innervation of the heart initiates retrograde contractions in adult Drosophila melanogaster. J Neurosci. 2005 Jan 12; 25(2):271-80. Dulcis D, Levine RB. PMID: 15647470; PMCID: PMC6725498.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 43     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    27. Remodeling of a larval skeletal muscle motoneuron to drive the posterior cardiac pacemaker in the adult moth, Manduca sexta. J Comp Neurol. 2004 Oct 11; 478(2):126-42. Dulcis D, Levine RB. PMID: 15349974.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    28. Innervation of the heart of the adult fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. J Comp Neurol. 2003 Oct 27; 465(4):560-78. Dulcis D, Levine RB. PMID: 12975816.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 34     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    29. Neuronal control of heart reversal in the hawkmoth Manduca sexta. J Comp Physiol A. 2001 Dec; 187(10):837-49. Dulcis D, Davis NT, Hildebrand JG. PMID: 11800040.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    30. Innervation of the heart and aorta of Manduca sexta. J Comp Neurol. 2001 Nov 19; 440(3):245-60. Davis NT, Dulcis D, Hildebrand JG. PMID: 11745621.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    31. Functional morphology of the dorsal vessel in the adult fly Protophormia terraenovae (diptera, calliphoridae). J Morphol. 1999 Apr; 240(1):15-31. Angioy AM, Boassa D, Dulcis D. PMID: 29847884.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    
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