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Diane Piekut, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Faculty Appointments


OVERVIEW: Medical Education /Anatomical Gift Program

I am committed to and maintain extensive responsibilities in the medical school curriculum through participation in development and administrative functions as well as leadership roles in several key courses. I am involved particularly in teaching medical human anatomy throughout years 1-4 of our medical school curriculum and several residency programs. I am also involved in the development and implementation of clinical human anatomy elective courses. Additionally, I am the Director of the Anatomical Gift Program at the University of Rochester.


The focus of my research program is to determine the activation and plasticity of neurons, especially corticotropin releasing factor (CRF)-containing neurons, in response to a brain insult (i.e., stress, transient global forebrain ischemia, seizure). Current studies address 1) the effect of transient global ischemia and seizure on the neuroendocrine hypothalamus, particularly neural substrates involved in regulation of the pituitary-adrenal axis, and 2) the differential effects of acute and chronic stress on the regulation of specific mRNA and peptide expression in activated neurons. 3) In addition to its neuroendocrine function, CRF also functions as an excitatory neurotransmitter/neuromodulator in extrahypothalamic brain sites. Studies in this laboratory suggest that extrahypothalamic CRF is significantly increased following specific brain insults and may play a role in ischemic and seizure brain damage. Investigations, which address the association of CRF induction following a brain insult with neuropathological processes, the administration of a CRF receptor antagonist to protect against the neurodegeneration and direct neurotoxic effects of CRF on neurons, are being pursued. Elucidation of the mechanisms responsible for neuronal vulnerability to brain insults will aid in the development of therapeutic drug interventions which selectively target the neuronal population most susceptible to ischemic or seizure damage, and thereby protect against neurodegeneration. Immunocytochemical localization of neuropeptides /neurotransmitters, in situ hybridization of neuropeptide gene expression, and tissue culture techniques are being employed in this research.

Professional Background


Stonehill - Biology/Chemistry, B.S. 1968
Tufts University - Anatomy, M.S. 1971
Boston University - Anatomy, Ph.D. 1976


University of Rochester, Instructor and Fellow, Department of Anatomy 1976-1977
University of Rochester, Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy 1977-1980
University of Rochester, Assistant Professor, Neuroendocrinology/Center for Brain
Research, University of Rochester 1980-6/30/84
University of Rochester, Scientist, Neuroendocrine Unit 7/1/84-6/30/88
University of Rochester, Associate Professor of Surgery (Neuroendocrinology) Division of Neuroendocrinology 7/1/88-3/31/92
University of Rochester, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy 4/1/92-present


Faculty Marshall, School of Medicine and Dentistry Commencement Ceremony, 2007
Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education, 2006
Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education, 2004
George W. Merck Dean's Teaching Fellow, 2003-2005
NIH Research Career Development Award, 1984-1989
Manuel D. Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching Medical Gross Anatomy
Mellon Foundation Award, 1978
Outstanding Young Women of America, 1977, 1981
NIH Ad Hoc reviewer, Neurology A Study Section
NSF Ad Hoc reviewer.



BS | Stonehill College

MS | Tufts University

PhD | Boston University


NSF Ad Hoc reviewer

NIH Ad Hoc reviewer
Sponsor: Neurology A Study Section

Faculty Marshall
Sponsor: Univ. of Rochester Commencement Ceremony

Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education

Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education

2003 - 2005
George W. Merck Dean's Teaching Fellow

1984 - 1989
NIH Research Career Development Award

Outstanding Young Women of America

Mellon Foundation Award

Outstanding Young Women of America

Manuel D. Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching Medical Gross Anatomy

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Journal Articles

Robinson DA, Piekut DT, Hasman L, Knight PA. "Cadaveric Simulation Training in Cardiothoracic Surgery: A Systematic Review." Anatomical sciences education.. 2019 Jun 24; Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Hiwatashi A, Sidhu R, Lee RK, deGuzman RR, Piekut DT, Westesson PL. "Kyphoplasty versus vertebroplasty to increase vertebral body height: a cadaveric study." Radiology.. 2005 Dec; 237(3):1115-9.

Jaworski RL, Piekut D, Blair ML. "Pregnancy alters lateral parabrachial nucleus but not hypothalamic Fos expression following hypotensive hemorrhage." Brain research bulletin.. 2002 Mar 15; 57(5):595-602.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Immunocytochemical study of peptide receptors. (KniggeConference on Presynaptic Receptors - An Examination of Different Views)
Book Title: Presynaptic Receptors and the Question of Autoregulation of Neurotransmitter Rel
Author List: Berlove, D.J.; G.J. Michael; D.T. Piekut; K.M.
Edited By: S. Kalsner and T.C. Westfall
Published By: Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1990

Chapter Title: Use of anti-idiotype antibodies in receptor immunocytochemistry.
Book Title: Antibodies, Antigens and Molecular Mimicry, Methods in Enzymology.
Author List: Knigge, K.M.; D.T. Piekut; L.G. Abood; S.A. Joseph; D.J. Berlove; G.J. Michael.
Edited By: John J. Langone
Published By: Academic Press 1989 in Orlando, FL.

Chapter Title: Dual immunostaining procedure demonstrating neurotransmitter and neuropeptide co-distribution in the same brain section.
Book Title: Immunocytochemical Technology.
Author List: Joseph, S.A.; D.T. Piekut.
Edited By: G.V. Childs
Published By: Alan R. Liss, Inc. 1986 in N.Y.