Christine Byrd-Jacobs

Hi! Welcome to my website.


I am the Dean of the Graduate College at Western Michigan University, where I provide leadership and support for graduate education and graduate student needs. 

I am also a full professor of Biological Sciences and a neuroscientist who studies the ability of the adult brain to recover from damage and disease, using the zebrafish olfactory system as a model. 

Latest News from the Byrd Lab

Recent Publications and Presentations
*=Graduate Student co-author; **=Undergraduate co-author​

Var, S.R.* and C.A. Byrd-Jacobs. 2020. Role of macrophages and microglia in zebrafish regeneration. International Journal of Molecular Sciences in press.


Scheib, J.J.* and C.A. Byrd-Jacobs. 2020. Zebrafish astroglial morphology in the olfactory bulb is altered with repetitive peripheral damage. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 14:article 4; doi 10.3389.fnana.2020.00004.


Var, S.R.* and C.A. Byrd-Jacobs. 2019. Microglial response patterns following damage to the zebrafish olfactory bulb. IBRO Reports 7:70-79.


Calvo-Ochoa, E. and C.A. Byrd-Jacobs. 2019. The olfactory system of zebrafish as a model for the study of neurotoxicity and injury: Implications for neuroplasticity and disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20(7):1639-1657. Featured on cover.


Pozzuto, J.M.*, C. L. Fuller*, and C.A. Byrd-Jacobs. 2019. Deafferentation-induced alterations in mitral cell dendritic morphology in the adult zebrafish olfactory bulb. Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes 51: 29-40


Scheib, J.J.**, J.M. Pozzuto*, and C.A. Byrd-Jacobs. 2019. Reversible deafferentation of the zebrafish olfactory bulb with wax plug insertion. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 311:47-56.

          Congratulations to recent graduates
      from the Byrd Lab!
Dr. Susanne Var received her PhD and has begun a postdoctoral fellowship
at the University of Minnesota!
Dr. Erika Calvo-Ochoa completed her postdoctoral fellowship and has begun a
faculty position at Hope College!
Jackson Scheib finished his master's degree is in now in a doctoral program
at the University of Minnesota! 
Current Students
Tara Maser, PhD student
Bonnie Corpus, PhD student
Mamoon Ali, Master's student
Sydney Chen, undergraduate student


My research explores the potential of the adult brain to recover from damage, using methods that reduce sensory input to the olfactory part of the brain, the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb exhibits a high degree of plasticity naturally and has tremendous potential for recovery from loss of input and other forms of damage. The zebrafish is a good model system for our studies because teleosts have well established regeneration abilities. A better understanding of the degenerative and regenerative responses of the adult brain is important in clinical applications for recovery from injury and disease.

Areas we are currently investigating include the following:

How does the olfactory organ affect the maintenance of the structure and function of the olfactory bulb in adults? Using permanent or reversible deafferentation methods, we remove or decrease sensory input to the brain and examine resulting changes in brain structure and function. Recent efforts include examining changes in dendritic structure of mitral cells and alterations in neurogenesis patterns.

Does the immune response to neuronal damage hinder or help regeneration of adult brain structures? Examining the microglia of the olfactory bulb allows us to explore their role in neural plasticity. Microglia respond to damage and release a number of factors, and we are exploring these to determine if the microglial response facilitates regeneration or prevents it.

Are some olfactory sensory neuron subtypes in the olfacory organ more susceptible to damage and others more resistant? Following exposure to various chemicals, some cells in the nose die and others are spared, suggesting that there are differential effects on sensory neuron subtypes. This line of research relates to neuroprotection as well as the ability of fish to survive in polluted waters.

Western Michigan University

© 2016 by Dr. Byrd-Jacobs. Proudly created with

  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey
  • LinkedIn Clean Grey
This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now