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Faculty

colomboPaul Colombo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Ph.D., 1994, University of California, Berkeley
Curriculum Vitae

Email: pcolomb@tulane.edu
Phone: (504) 862-3359
Website: Lab Page

3062 Percival Stern Hall

Research Interests


New Orleans has a unique and vibrant musical culture, and members of the Colombo laboratory use musical training as model system to study brain plasticity. Experience-dependent plasticity associated with musical training generalizes beyond auditory processing to influence cognitive functions including attention, working memory, and inhibitory control. In one line of investigation, we study effects of musical training on executive functions, and on neural activity measured by EEG. In another line of research, we study effects of musical training on stress reactivity measured behaviorally and biochemically. Most recently, results of studies in young subjects have been used to formulate and test music-related interventions for preventing and ameliorating age-associated cognitive decline. We also study effects of music-based mentoring on neural, cognitive, and social development. Studies conducted in collaboration with community partners The Roots of Music, and Make Music NOLA, examine the effects of music-based mentoring on executive functions, self-efficacy, and the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the impact of music training on behavior and cognitive functions. For more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agcy2eNhATw&feature=youtu.be

Selected Publications


Pahng, A.R., & Colombo, P.J. (2016) Phosphorylation of tyrosine receptor kinase B in the dorsal striatum is associated with response learning, and may be a mechanism for interactions between neural systems specialized for memory. Behavioural Neuroscience Feb;131(1):33-41. doi: 10.1037/bne0000177.

Yang, H., Hou, H., Pahng, A., Gu, H. Nairn, A. Tang, Y.P., Colombo, P.J., & Xia, H. (2015) Protein phosphatase-1 inhibitor-2 is a novel memory suppressor. Journal of Neuroscience. Nov 11;35(45):15082-7.

Colombo, P.J. & Bohbot V. (2013) Dynamic interactions between memory systems. Hippocampus, 23: 971-972.

Kathirvelu B, Colombo P.J.  (2013). Effects of lentivirus-mediated CREB expression in the dorsolateral striatum: Memory enhancement and evidence for competitive and cooperative interactions with the hippocampus. Hippocampus, 23; 1066-1074.

Kathirvelu, B., East, B.S., Hill, A.R., Smith, C.A., Colombo, P.J. (2013). Lentivirus-mediated chronic expression of dominant-negative CREB in the dorsal hippocampus impairs memory for contextual fear conditioning and place learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 99 10-16.

Colombo, P.J. East, B.S. Jr., Crawley, M. E. & Hill, A.R. (2012).  Aging and the Brain. In V.S. Ramachandran (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 2nd Edition, London: Elsevier.

Smith, C.A., East, B.S., & Colombo, P.J. (2010). The orbitofrontal cortex is not necessary for acquisition or remote recall of socially transmitted food preferences Behavioural Brain Research, 208 243–249.

Brightwell, J.J., Smith, C.A., Neve, R.L., & Colombo, P.J. (2008). Transfection of mutant CREB in the striatum, but not the hippocampus, impairs long-term memory for response learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 89 27-35.

Smith, C.A., Countryman, R.A, Sahuque, L.L., & Colombo, P.J. (2007). Timecourses of Fos expression in rat hippocampus and neocortex following acquisition and recall of a socially transmitted food preference. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 88, 65-74.

Brightwell-Petta, J., Smith, C.A., Neve, R.L., & Colombo, P.J. (2007). Long-term memory for place-learning is facilitated by expression of cAMP response element-binding protein in the dorsal hippocampus. Learning and Memory, 14, 195-199.

Arumugam, H., Liu, X., Colombo, P.J., Corriveau, R. A., & Belousov, A. B. (2005). NMDA receptors regulate developmental gap junction uncoupling via CREB signaling. Nature Neuroscience, 8(12), 1720-1726.

Countryman, R.A., Kaban, N.L. & Colombo, P.J. (2005). Hippocampal c-fos is necessary for long-term memory of a socially transmitted food preference. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 84, 175-183.

Brightwell, J.J, Smith, C.A., Countryman, R.A, Neve, R.L. & Colombo, P.J. (2005). Hippocampal overexpression of mutant CREB blocks long-term but not short-term memory for a socially transmitted food preference. Learning and Memory, 12, 12-17.

Brightwell, J. J., Gallagher, M., & Colombo , P.J. (2004). Hippocampal CREB1, but not CREB2, is decreased in aged rats with spatial memory impairments. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 81,19-26.

Colombo, P.J. (2004). Learning-induced activation of transcription factors among multiple memory systems. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 82, 268-277.

Colombo, P. J., & Gold, P.E. (2004). Multiple memory systems. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 82, 169-170.

Colombo , P. J., Brightwell, J. J., & Countryman, R. A. (2003). Cognitive strategy-specific increases in phosphorylated CREB and c-Fos in the hippocampus and dorsal striatum. Journal of Neuroscience, 23, 3547-3554.

Colombo , P. J., & Gallagher, M. (2002). Individual differences in spatial memory among aged rats are related to protein kinase Cγ immunoreactivity in CA1 of hippocampus. Hippocampus, 12, 285-289.

Colombo, P.J. & Gallagher, M. (1998). Individual differences in spatial memory and striatal ChAT activity among young and aged rats. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 70, 314-327.

Colombo, P.J., Wetsel, W.C., & Gallagher, M. (1997). Spatial memory is related to hippocampal subcellular concentrations of calcium-dependent protein kinase C isoforms in young and aged rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 94, 14195-14199.

Gallagher, M., & Colombo, P.J. (1995). Ageing: The cholinergic hypothesis of cognitive decline.  Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 5, 161-168.


Dr. Colombo's Courses


  • Biological Psychology – PSYC/NSCI 4510
  • Music and Brain – PSYC/NSCI 4513
  • Brain and Behavior – PSYC/NSCI 3300

Department of Psychology • 2007 Percival Stern Hall • New Orleans, LA 70118 • Phone: 504-865-5331 • psych@tulane.edu