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Coleen M. Atkins, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery


Coleen Atkins, Ph.D.
Coleen Atkins, Ph.D.

Coleen M. Atkins, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Professor at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the Department of Neurological Surgery and director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in 1993 from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, with an honors thesis conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Chapman investigating the effects of nitric oxide on learning and memory. In 1999, she received her doctorate in Neuroscience under the training of Dr. David Sweatt at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, studying the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory. Dr. Atkins was a post-doctoral fellow at the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health & Sciences University with Dr. Thomas Soderling, determining the role of CaMKII in short versus long-term synaptic plasticity. In 2004, Dr. Atkins joined the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Dalton Dietrich to study synaptic dysfunction after traumatic brain injury.

The long-term research objectives of Dr. Atkins’ laboratory are to identify the cellular signaling mechanisms that underlie synaptic plasticity during memory formation and to determine how these synaptic plasticity mechanisms are altered during traumatic brain injury. Currently, Dr. Atkins is funded by the NIH to develop therapeutic strategies for learning and memory rehabilitation in chronic TBI survivors. Dr. Atkins is a member of the National Neurotrauma Society, TEAM Neuroscience and the Society for Neuroscience.  In 2013, she was awarded the Brain Injury Association of America’s Young Investigator Award. Dr. Atkins is president of the Miami Society for Neuroscience Chapter and highly active in Brain Awareness Week outreach activities as well as volunteering in her local community to promote the understanding of neuroscience to the general public.


Research Interests

Developing Novel Therapies for Traumatic Brain Injury

  • The research in our laboratory focuses on developing novel therapeutic interventions for traumatic brain injury.
  • We are identifying the biochemical changes that underlie the pathology in the brain after trauma using molecular biology, biochemistry and electrophysiology techniques.
  • We are developing therapeutic strategies targeting maladaptive electrophysiological alterations, inflammation, and intracellular biochemical signaling pathways that are dysregulated during chronic traumatic brain injury.
  • The ultimate aim of the laboratory is to translate our preclinical studies to the clinic by testing our novel therapeutic interventions validated in the laboratory in chronic TBI survivors.
PDE4B2 in Hippocampal Dendrites 300
PDE4B2 in Hippocampal Dendrites
3D Reconstruction of an Injured Brain 300
3D Reconstruction of an Injured Brain
Synaptic Loss after TBI 300
Synaptic Loss after TBI


Coleen Atkins, Ph.D.

  • The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
    1095 NW 14th Terrace (R-48)
    Miami, FL 33136
  • (305) 243-4698
  • (305) 243-3914



The Science and Engineering Fair (02/17/2017)

Industry and Academia: Drs. Coleen Atkins and W. Dalton Dietrich (10/19/2016)

Encouraging Traumatic Brain Injury Study Published (07/06/2016)

Dr. Dalton Dietrich and Colleagues Receive $1.6 Million NIH Award (06/30/2016)



  • National Neurotrauma Society/TEAM Neuroscience
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Miami Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, president
  • Nu Rho Psi Honor Society

Current Lab Projects include:

  • Therapies to Reduce Inflammation after Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Circuitry Remodeling in the Chronic Injured Brain
  • Interaction of Stress and Concussion

Find out about the Laboratory of Coleen M. Atkins


Name Phone Email
Dr. Fabiola Placeres 305-243-7113
Maria Dominguez Torres 305-243-7113
Chantal Sanchez 305-243-7113