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  8. John Talpos
  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

John Talpos Ph.D.

Director, Division of Neurotoxicology

Dr. John Talpos
John Talpos, Ph.D.

(870) 543-7121

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 About  |  Publications  |  Division Scientists


Dr. John Talpos graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology and before attending the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He earned a Master of Philosophy degree while working with Dr. Trevor Robbins on the role of serotonin (5-HT) in impulsivity. Dr. Talpos then took a research position at Pfizer in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he performed various behavioral experiments in support of drug-development projects. He then returned to Cambridge to work on a project developing novel, touchscreen-based, translational models of human cognition for the drug-discovery process. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Ph.D. from the Department of Experimental Psychology and took a position as a post-doctoral fellow at Eli Lilly in the United Kingdom. Dr. Talpos moved to Janssen Research and Development in Belgium where he established a translational cognition lab to evaluate novel treatments for schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. While at Janssen, his primary responsibilities were to screen compounds for pro-cognitive effects and provide support and expertise for drug-hunting teams. He also managed several drug targets to the “hit to lead” stage. Externally, Dr. Talpos played an active role in the Cognitive Neuroscience Approaches to the Treatment of Impaired Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) initiative, serving as co-leader for the working memory and perception sections. He has also been involved in several large, public-private consortiums (Innovative Medicines Initiative projects) sponsored by the European Union designed to address bottle necks in the drug-discovery process for schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2016, Dr. Talpos joined FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and took over the multi-species Complex Brain Function lab. In 2018, Dr. Talpos became the de facto head of the NCTR nonhuman primate program and has been Deputy Director of the Division of Neurotoxicology since 2020. Dr. Talpos is also a member of the SmartTots executive committee, a public-private partnership between the FDA and the International Anesthesia Research Society, dedicated to the goal of ensuring safe surgery for infants and children.

Research Interests

Throughout Dr. Talpos’s career, his primary research interest has always been translational models of human cognition, with a special interest in working memory, executive function, visual perception, and the hippocampus. The goal of his research is to discover the mechanisms of cognitive disruption in order to correct these impairments. Before joining NCTR, Dr. Talpos focused on cognitive disruption in central nervous system (CNS) disorders, such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism. While he still retains a strong interest in CNS disorders, since joining NCTR his research focus has switched to studying cognitive dysfunctions triggered by neurotoxic insults. Currently, his research focuses on the developmental toxicity associated with exposures to anesthesia or analgesia. Dr. Talpos collaborates with many members of the division to incorporate diverse methods into his research, including molecular imaging approaches and MRI. Dr. Talpos also has several active collaborations with FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research designed to assess the potential neurotoxicity of anesthesia and analgesia.

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

Society for Neuroscience
2015 – 2019


Selected Publications

Genotoxicity Evaluation Using Primary Hepatocytes Isolated from Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta).
Seo J.E., Davis K., Malhi P., He X., Bryant M., Talpos J., Burks S., Mei N., and Guo X.
Toxicology. 2021, 462:152936. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2021.152936. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

MicroPET/CT Assessment of Neurochemical Effects in the Brain After Long-Term Methylphenidate Treatment in Nonhuman Primates.
Zhang X., Talpos J., Berridge M.S., Apana S.M., Slikker W. Jr., Wang C., and Paule M.G.
Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2021, 87:107017. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2021.107017. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Can SARS-CoV-2 Infect the Central Nervous System Via the Olfactory Bulb or the Blood-Brain Barrier?
Burks S.M., Rosas-Hernandez H., Alejandro Ramirez-Lee M., Cuevas E., and Talpos J.C.
Brain Behav Immun. 2021, 95:7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.12.031. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

This is Your Teen Brain on Drugs: In Search of Biological Factors Unique to Dependence Toxicity in Adolescence.
Kwan L.Y., Eaton D.L., Andersen S.L., Dow-Edwards D., Levin E.D., Talpos J., Vorhees C.V., and Li A.A.
Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2020, 81:106916. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2020.106916. Epub 2020 Jul 19.

Regions of the Basal Ganglia and Primary Olfactory System are Most Sensitive to Neurodegeneration After Extended Sevoflurane Anesthesia in the Perinatal Rat.
Burks S.M., Bowyer J.F., Walters J.L., and Talpos J.C.
Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2020, 80:106890. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2020.106890. Epub 2020 May 12.

Acetyl-l-carnitine Does Not Prevent Neurodegeneration in a Rodent Model of Prolonged Neonatal Anesthesia.
Walters J.L., Chelonis J.J., Fogle C.M., Ferguson S.A., Sarkar S., Paule M.G. (Retired), and Talpos J.C.
Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2020, 80:106891. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2020.106891. Epub 2020 May 3.

Sevoflurane Exposure Has Minimal Effect on Cognitive Function and Does Not Alter Microglial Activation in Adult Monkeys.
Walters J.L., Zhang X., Talpos J.C., Fogle C.M., Li M., Chelonis J.J., and Paule M.G.
Neurotoxicology. 2019, 71:159-167. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2018.12.008. Epub 2018 Dec 31.

Early Life Exposure to Extended General Anesthesia with Isoflurane and Nitrous Oxide Reduces Responsivity on a Cognitive Test Battery in the Nonhuman Primate.
Talpos J.C., Chelonis J.J., Li M., Hanig J.P., and Paule M.G.
Neurotoxicology. 2019, 70:80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2018.11.005. Epub 2018 Nov 14.

Symptomatic Thinking: The Current State of Phase III and IV Clinical Trials for Cognition in Schizophrenia.
Talpos J.C.
Drug Discov Today. 2017, 22(7):1017-1026. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2017.04.014. Epub 2017 Apr 29.

Dissociable Effects of NR2A and NR2B NMDA Receptor Antagonism on Cognitive Flexibility but not Pattern Separation.
Kumar G., Olley J., Steckler T., and Talpos J.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015, 232(21-22): 3991-4003. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-4008-9.

Opposing Effects of Glutamatergic and GABAergic Pharmacological Manipulations on a Visual Perception Task with Relevance to Schizophrenia.
Talpos J.C., Riordan J., Olley J., Waddell J., and Steckler T.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015, 232(21-22): 3967-76. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-3964-4.

Biased MGlu5-Positive Allosteric Modulators Provide In Vivo Efficacy Without Potentiating MGlu5 Modulation of NMDAR Currents.
Rook J.M., Xiang Z., Lv X., Ghoshal A., Dickerson J.W., Bridges T.M., Johnson K.A., Foster D.J., Gregory K.J., Vinson P.N., Thompson A.D., Byun N., Collier R.L., Bubser M., Nedelcovych M.T., Gould R.W., Stauffer S.R., Daniels J.S., Niswender C.M., Lavreysen H., Mackie C., Conde-Ceide S., Alcazar J., Bartolomé-Nebreda J.M., Macdonald G.J., Talpos J.C., Steckler T., Jones C.K., Lindsley C.W., and Conn P.J.
Neuron. 2015, 86(4): 1029-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.063.

A Touch-Screen Based Paired-Associates Learning (PAL) Task for The Rat May Provide a Translatable Pharmacological Model of Human Cognitive Impairment.
Talpos J.C., Aerts N., Fellini L., and Steckler T.
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2014, 122: 97-106. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2014.03.014.

Assessing Behavioural and Cognitive Domains of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Rodents: Current Status and Future Perspectives.
Kas M.J., Glennon J.C., Buitelaar J., Ey E., Biemans B., Crawley J., Ring R.H., Lajonchere C., Esclassan F., Talpos J., Noldus L.P., Burbach J.P., and Steckler T.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014, 231(6): 1125-46. doi: 10.1007/s00213-013-3268-5.

Animal Models of Working Memory: A Review of Tasks That Might be Used in Screening Drug Treatments for the Memory Impairments Found in Schizophrenia.
Dudchenko P.A., Talpos J., Young J., and Baxter M.G.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013, 37(9 Pt B): 2111-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.03.003.

NMDA Receptors, Cognition and Schizophrenia--Testing the Validity of the NMDA Receptor Hypofunction Hypothesis.
Gilmour G., Dix S., Fellini L., Gastambide F., Plath N., Steckler T., Talpos J., and Tricklebank M.
Neuropharmacology. 2012, 62(3): 1401-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.03.015.

Trial-Unique, Delayed Nonmatching-To-Location (TUNL): A Novel, Highly Hippocampus-Dependent Automated Touchscreen Test of Location Memory and Pattern Separation.
Talpos J.C., McTighe S.M., Dias R., Saksida L.M., and Bussey TJ.
Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2010, 94(3):341-52. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2010.07.006. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

A Novel Touchscreen-Automated Paired-Associate Learning (PAL) Task Sensitive to Pharmacological Manipulation of The Hippocampus: A Translational Rodent Model of Cognitive Impairments in Neurodegenerative Disease.
Talpos J.C., Winters B.D., Dias R., Saksida L.M., and Bussey T.J.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009, 205(1): 157-68. doi: 10.1007/s00213-009-1526-3.

A Comparison of Multiple 5-HT Receptors in Two Tasks Measuring Impulsivity.
Talpos J.C., Wilkinson L.S., and Robbins T.W.
J Psychopharmacol. 2006, 20(1): 47-58.


Division Scientists

Contact information for all division scientists:
(870) 543-7121

John J. Chelonis, Ph.D. 
Research Psychologist

Andrea Sutton, M.P.H, M.A.P.

Mi Li, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow

Alejandro (Alex) Manuel Ramirez Lee, Ph.D.
ORISE Fellow

Contact Information
John Talpos
(870) 543-7121
Technology & Discipline
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