Robert Francis Hunt

Title(s)Associate Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Address1001 Health Sciences Road
Irvine CA 92697-3950
Phone(949) 824-7079
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0003-4490-871 Additional info
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    University of KentuckyPhD2010Physiology

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    Understanding the basic biology of the brain - how it develops and how it functions - remains one of the greatest challenges in science. Our work focuses largely on a group of nerve cells called inhibitory interneurons, the primary source of inhibition in the brain of most animals. We have discovered some of the ways in which disease-linked genes regulate the development and function of these cells and are beginning to learn how they operate at the circuit and behavioral level as well as in disorders of brain development such as epilepsy, intellectual disability and/or autism. To do this, we analyze mice with mutations in genes linked to epilepsy and, more recently, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from the skin of human patients.

    The lab is also designing circuit-based therapies to rewire different brain structures in living animals and reprogram their behavior. Historically, modern medicine has relied on pharmacological approaches to deliver drugs throughout the body. While these chronic drug strategies can work, they are quite crude and often result in unwanted side effects. By focusing on a circuit-level understanding of how the brain generates behavior, we recently discovered a way to stop seizures (and other behavioral problems) in severely epileptic mice. This approach involves grafting new inhibitory interneurons into areas of the brain important for seizure generation. Based on this work, we have an increasing interest in the generation of specific, well-defined cell types for use in cell therapy and continue to explore new avenues for rewiring the nervous system.
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    Generation of specialized human cell types in the mammalian brain
    NIH R21NS114728Apr 15, 2020 - Mar 31, 2022
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Rewiring the Injured Brain with GABA Progenitors
    NIH R01NS096012Feb 15, 2016 - Mar 31, 2026
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Functional engraftment of stem cell-derived cortical interneurons
    NIH R00NS085046May 1, 2015 - Apr 30, 2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Functional engraftment of stem cell-derived cortical interneurons
    NIH K99NS085046Sep 20, 2013 - Aug 31, 2015
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Functional integration of inhibitory interneuron progenitors in the adult brain
    NIH F32NS077747Jul 1, 2012 - Jun 30, 2014
    Role: Principal Investigator

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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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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Brain-wide reconstruction of inhibitory circuits after traumatic brain injury. Nat Commun. 2022 06 14; 13(1):3417. Frankowski JC, Tierno A, Pavani S, Cao Q, Lyon DC, Hunt RF. PMID: 35701434; PMCID: PMC9197933.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    2. Traumatic brain injury to primary visual cortex produces long-lasting circuit dysfunction. Commun Biol. 2021 11 17; 4(1):1297. Frankowski JC, Foik AT, Tierno A, Machhor JR, Lyon DC, Hunt RF. PMID: 34789835; PMCID: PMC8599505.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4  Translation:AnimalsCells
    3. Interneuron Dysfunction in a New Mouse Model of SCN1A GEFS. eNeuro. 2021 Mar-Apr; 8(2). Das A, Zhu B, Xie Y, Zeng L, Pham AT, Neumann JC, Safrina O, Benavides DR, MacGregor GR, Schutte SS, Hunt RF, O'Dowd DK. PMID: 33658306; PMCID: PMC8174035.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    4. Transplanted interneurons improve memory precision after traumatic brain injury. Nat Commun. 2019 11 14; 10(1):5156. Zhu B, Eom J, Hunt RF. PMID: 31727894; PMCID: PMC6856380.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    5. Epilepsy Therapy Goes Viral. Epilepsy Curr. 2019 09; 19(5):328-329. Lim BC, Hunt RF. PMID: 31462070; PMCID: PMC6864564.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    6. Chd2 Is Necessary for Neural Circuit Development and Long-Term Memory. Neuron. 2018 12 05; 100(5):1180-1193.e6. Kim YJ, Khoshkhoo S, Frankowski JC, Zhu B, Abbasi S, Lee S, Wu YE, Hunt RF. PMID: 30344048; PMCID: PMC6479120.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 24     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. Selective vulnerability of hippocampal interneurons to graded traumatic brain injury. Neurobiol Dis. 2019 09; 129:208-216. Frankowski JC, Kim YJ, Hunt RF. PMID: 30031783; PMCID: PMC6690377.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. Irritable No More: Activating Mossy Cells for the Treatment of Epilepsy. Epilepsy Curr. 2018 Jul-Aug; 18(4):251-252. Kim YJ, Hunt RF. PMID: 30254523; PMCID: PMC6145380.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    9. PAFAH1B1 haploinsufficiency disrupts GABA neurons and synaptic E/I balance in the dentate gyrus. Sci Rep. 2017 08 15; 7(1):8269. Dinday MT, Girskis KM, Lee S, Baraban SC, Hunt RF. PMID: 28811646; PMCID: PMC5557934.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    
    10. Interneuron Transplantation as a Treatment for Epilepsy. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2015 Dec 01; 5(12). Hunt RF, Baraban SC. PMID: 26627452; PMCID: PMC4665034.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 27     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    11. NPAS1 represses the generation of specific subtypes of cortical interneurons. Neuron. 2014 Dec 03; 84(5):940-53. Stanco A, Pla R, Vogt D, Chen Y, Mandal S, Walker J, Hunt RF, Lindtner S, Erdman CA, Pieper AA, Hamilton SP, Xu D, Baraban SC, Rubenstein JL. PMID: 25467980; PMCID: PMC4258152.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 31     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    12. 14-3-3ε and ζ regulate neurogenesis and differentiation of neuronal progenitor cells in the developing brain. J Neurosci. 2014 Sep 03; 34(36):12168-81. Toyo-oka K, Wachi T, Hunt RF, Baraban SC, Taya S, Ramshaw H, Kaibuchi K, Schwarz QP, Lopez AF, Wynshaw-Boris A. PMID: 25186760; PMCID: PMC4152612.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 57     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    13. Lhx6 directly regulates Arx and CXCR7 to determine cortical interneuron fate and laminar position. Neuron. 2014 Apr 16; 82(2):350-64. Vogt D, Hunt RF, Mandal S, Sandberg M, Silberberg SN, Nagasawa T, Yang Z, Baraban SC, Rubenstein JL. PMID: 24742460; PMCID: PMC4261952.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 70     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    14. Neural circuit mechanisms of post-traumatic epilepsy. Front Cell Neurosci. 2013; 7:89. Hunt RF, Boychuk JA, Smith BN. PMID: 23785313; PMCID: PMC3684786.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 60  
    15. GABA progenitors grafted into the adult epileptic brain control seizures and abnormal behavior. Nat Neurosci. 2013 Jun; 16(6):692-7. Hunt RF, Girskis KM, Rubenstein JL, Alvarez-Buylla A, Baraban SC. PMID: 23644485; PMCID: PMC3665733.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 132     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    16. The devil is in the details: stem cells for the treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy Curr. 2012 Nov; 12(6):213-5. Hunt RF, Baraban SC. PMID: 23447713; PMCID: PMC3577122.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    17. LIS1 deficiency promotes dysfunctional synaptic integration of granule cells generated in the developing and adult dentate gyrus. J Neurosci. 2012 Sep 12; 32(37):12862-75. Hunt RF, Dinday MT, Hindle-Katel W, Baraban SC. PMID: 22973010; PMCID: PMC3752080.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    18. A novel zebrafish model of hyperthermia-induced seizures reveals a role for TRPV4 channels and NMDA-type glutamate receptors. Exp Neurol. 2012 Sep; 237(1):199-206. Hunt RF, Hortopan GA, Gillespie A, Baraban SC. PMID: 22735490; PMCID: PMC3418450.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 38     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    19. Posttraumatic mossy fiber sprouting is related to the degree of cortical damage in three mouse strains. Epilepsy Res. 2012 Mar; 99(1-2):167-70. Hunt RF, Haselhorst LA, Schoch KM, Bach EC, Rios-Pilier J, Scheff SW, Saatman KE, Smith BN. PMID: 22047981; PMCID: PMC3290720.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 16     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    20. Synaptic reorganization of inhibitory hilar interneuron circuitry after traumatic brain injury in mice. J Neurosci. 2011 May 04; 31(18):6880-90. Hunt RF, Scheff SW, Smith BN. PMID: 21543618; PMCID: PMC3102318.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 46     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    21. Regionally localized recurrent excitation in the dentate gyrus of a cortical contusion model of posttraumatic epilepsy. J Neurophysiol. 2010 Mar; 103(3):1490-500. Hunt RF, Scheff SW, Smith BN. PMID: 20089815; PMCID: PMC2887624.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 49     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. Posttraumatic epilepsy after controlled cortical impact injury in mice. Exp Neurol. 2009 Feb; 215(2):243-52. Hunt RF, Scheff SW, Smith BN. PMID: 19013458; PMCID: PMC4694635.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 90     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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