Nicole Baganz, Ph.D.

Nicole Baganz

Director of Community Engagement and Programming, FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute | Research Assistant Professor, Biomedical Science (Secondary)

5353 Parkside Drive

Jupiter, FL 33458

Building RF, MC-22, Room 201A

p: 561-799-8100

Department: Biomedical Science


Nicole Baganz, Ph.D. recently joined the FAU Brain Institute as its Director of Community Engagement and Programming. She received her Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, efforts that led to the Guarino Award for the top graduate thesis, university-wide. Beginning with her doctoral studies, and continuing through her postdoctoral studies in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Dr. Baganz has pursued research into the mechanisms by which chemical signaling in the brain can be impacted by the immune system, with a specific interest in alterations in the action of the chemical serotonin. Among Dr. Baganz’ discoveries are findings that peripheral immune activation can alter serotonin inactivation and thereby lead to changes in mood-related behaviors. This work was recently honored with a Young Investigator Award by the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation. In addition to her scientific interests, Dr. Baganz has engaged extensively in community outreach and event programming to educate the public as to the promise and progress of brain research. For the latter activities, Dr. Baganz was awarded the 2015 Next Generation Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the largest body of scientists focused on brain research and brain disorders.


  • 2000: B.S., Biology, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI
  • 2004: M.S., Traditional Chinese Medicine, Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, Chicago, IL
  • 2009: Ph.D., Physiology/Neuroscience, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Work History

  • 2015–2016: Research Instructor, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • 2010–2015: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • 2009–2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TXM
  • 2004–2009: Teaching Assistant, Department of Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
  • 2003–2004: Instructor, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Pathophysiology, Lakeside School of Massage Therapy, Milwaukee, WI
  • 2003: Research Assistant, Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, Chicago, IL
  • 2002: Instructor, Anatomy and Physiology, Triton College, River Grove, IL

Scholarly Activity

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Robson, M.J., Zhu, C.B., Quinlan, M.A., Botschner, D.A., Baganz, N.L., Lindler, K.M., Thome, J.G., Hewlett, W.A., Blakely, R.D. (2016) Generation and characterization of mice expressing a conditional allele of the interleukin-1 receptor type 1. PLoS One. 3:e0150068.
  • Baganz, N.L., Lindler, K. M., Zhu, C.B., Smith, J.T., Robson, M.J., Iwamoto, H., Deneris, E.S., Hewlett, W.A., and Blakely, R. D. (2015) A requirement of serotonergic p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase for peripheral immune system activation of CNS serotonin uptake and serotonin-linked behaviors. Transl. Psych. 5:e671.
  • Kerr, T.M., Muller, C.L., Miah, M., Jetter, C.S., Pfeiffer, R., Shah, C., Baganz, N., Anderson, G.M., Crawley, J.N., Sutcliffe, J.S., Blakely, R.D., Veenstra-Vanderweele, J. (2013) Genetic background modulates phenotypes of serotonin transporter Ala56 knock-in mice. Mol. Autism. 4:e35.
  • Horton, R.E., Apple, D.M., Owens, W.A., Baganz, N.L., Cano, S., Mitchell, N.C., Vitela, M., Gould, G.G., Koek, W., Daws, L.C. (2013) Decynium-22 enhances SSRI-induced antidepressant-like effects in mice: uncovering novel targets to treat depression. J. Neurosci. 33:10534-43.
  • Baganz, N.L. and Blakely, R.D. (2013) A dialogue between the immune system and the brain, spoken in the language of serotonin. ACS Chem. Neurosci. 4:48-63.
  • Baganz, N.L. Guest Writer. Thoughts about depression from under the sheets. 2012 Nov 28. In Scicurious blog, first guest writer. [Internet] Scientific American © 2012. Available from:
  • Baganz, N.L., Horton, R.E., Holmes, A., Daws, L.C. (2010) Repeated swim impairs serotonin clearance via a corticosterone-sensitive mechanism: organic cation transporter 3, the smoking gun. J. Neurosci. 30:15185-95.
  • Baganz, N.L. (2011) Dinosaur Rainbow Monarchs. Vanderbilt House Organ, July 8-11. (Winner, non-fiction category in employee writing contest.)
  • Baganz, N.L., Horton, R.E., Calderon, A.S., Owens, W.A., Munn, J.L., Watts, L.T., Koldzic-Zivanovic N., Jeske, N.A., Koek, W., Toney, G.M., Daws, L.C. (2008) Organic Cation Transporter 3: Keeping the brake on extracellular serotonin in serotonin transporter deficient mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105:18976-81.
  • Daws, L.C, Moñtanez, S., Munn, J.C., Owens, W.A., Baganz N.L., Boyce-Rustay, J.M., Millstein, R.A., Weidholtz, L.M., Murphy, D.L., Holmes, A. (2006) Ethanol inhibits clearance of brain serotonin by a serotonin transporter-independent mechanism. J. Neurosci. 26:6431-8.

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  • 2015-2017 Vanderbilt University Trans-Institutional Program, “The Science of Music Research: Creating a Program for Music, Mind, and Society” (Principal Investigator: Ron Eavey)
  • 2014-2016 NARSAD Young Investigator Award, “Serotonergic IL-1R/p38 MAPK signaling: An Unsuspected Link Between Neuroimmune Signaling and the Enduring Impact of Early-Life Stress?” (Principal Investigator: Nicole Baganz)
  • 2013-2015 Silvio O. Conte Young Investigator Pilot Grant, “Serotonergic IL-1R/p38 MAPK signaling: An Unsuspected Link Between Neuroimmune Signaling and the Enduring Impact of Early-Life Stress?” (Principal Investigator: Nicole Baganz)
  • 2010-2012 NIH T32 Ion Channel Training Grant (Principal Investigator: Al George)

Honors and Awards

  • 2014-2016 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
  • 2015 Society for Neuroscience Next Generation Award
  • 2012–2014 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Travel Award
  • 2013 First Place, MTNCSfN Data Blitz
  • 2013 International Society for Neuroscience Travel Award
  • 2012 Best Poster, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day
  • 2008-2010 International Society for Serotonin Research Travel Award
  • 2009 Armand J. Guarino Award for Academic Excellence in Doctoral Studies
  • 2007 Society for Neuroscience Travel Award to IBRO
  • 2007 Best Poster, Center for Neurobiology Retreat
  • 2005–2007 Vernon Bishop Travel Award
  • 2005-2007 Bennie Schreck Scholarship
  • 2006 University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Ambassador Award Scholar Outreach activities
  • 2016 Invited Speaker, Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, Delray Beach, FL
  • 2015-2016 Faculty Mentor, Harmonies for the Elderly, Vanderbilt University Branch, Nashville, TN
  • 2012-2015 Captain, walk team to support the National Alliance on Mental Illness Davidson County Chapter, Nashville, TN
  • 2014-2015 Member, Vanderbilt Music and Mind Exposition Planning Committee, Nashville, TN
  • 2014-2015 Invited Speaker, Americana Music Association Conference, Nashville, TN
  • 2015 Invited Speaker, Nashville Rotary Club, Nashville, TN
  • 2015 Nashville Team Leader, “Symphonic Suite for Healing Nashville”, Music-Heals Project, Orange County, CA
  • 2015 Planning Committee Member and Invited Speaker, Society for Music Perception and Cognition conference hosted by Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • 2010-2014 Pharmacology Department Representative, Postdoctoral Association, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine offers students a variety of educational programs and degrees.
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