Theresa Currier Thomas

Theresa Currier Thomas

Associate Research Professor, Child Health
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(602) 827-2348

Work Summary

Dr. Currier Thomas leads the Translational Neurotrauma and Neurochemistry Laboratory at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. A Kentucky native with a BS in Agricultural Biotechnology from the University of Kentucky (1999), she furthered her expertise with a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology (2008) and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, University of Kentucky. Her groundbreaking research is centered on understanding the maladaptive neural changes following diffuse axonal injuries, particularly focusing on the late-onset and persisting post-concussive symptoms (PPCS). A significant aspect of her work involves exploring the interplay between sex differences and stress hormone regulation in the development of PPCS. Dr. Currier Thomas is at the forefront of developing early rehabilitation techniques and pharmacological interventions aimed at mitigating the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), contributing invaluable insights to the field of neurotrauma.

Research Interest

Dr. Currier Thomas serves as the Director of the Translational Neurotrauma and Neurochemistry Laboratory at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Hailing from Kentucky, she embarked on her academic journey with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biotechnology in 1999 from the University of Kentucky. She continued to deepen her expertise by earning a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology in 2008 from the same institution. Following her doctoral studies, Dr. Thomas further honed her skills through a postdoctoral fellowship at the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky. In her distinguished career, Dr. Thomas has dedicated herself to advancing the understanding of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her research encompasses a comprehensive examination of structural, functional, and molecular processes in the brain, with a special focus on synaptogenesis and post-injury neuroplasticity. This focus is pivotal in deciphering the mechanisms of circuit reorganization that occur over time post-TBI, contributing to chronic deficits and symptoms. In her quest to address these challenges, Dr. Thomas rigorously tests various pharmacological and rehabilitative strategies to mitigate long-term deficits caused by TBI that can guide and improve clinical care. A significant and pioneering aspect of Dr. Thomas’s work is her investigation into the role of endocrine (hormonal) deficiencies in the aftermath of TBI. Her research in this area aims to unravel the underlying causes and develop effective treatments for post-traumatic neurological deficits. Notably, Dr. Thomas has been a trailblazer in including females in TBI research, publishing groundbreaking work on sex differences in neurotransmission and the sequelae of TBI pathophysiology. Dr. Thomas collaborates extensively with esteemed physicians and scientists from Phoenix Children's Hospital, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, Phoenix VA Healthcare System, Arizona State University, and Midwestern University. Her collaborative approach not only advances the field of neurotrauma but also fosters a rich environment for scientific exchange and growth. Techniques include actively used in her lab include amperometry (electrochemistry) for real-time measurement of neurotransmission, region-specific protein and RNA quantification, histology/microscopy, and extensive behavioral testing. The following link will take you to a list of publications: Beyond her research, Dr. Thomas is deeply committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. She has been instrumental in creating a supportive community through mentorship, networking, professional development, and educational initiatives in her laboratory, department, university, and the broader Phoenix Valley. Her engagement extends nationally, particularly through her involvement with the National Neurotrauma Society. In her role as Co-Chair of the Department of Child Health’s Physician-scientist Faculty Mentor-Mentee Program in its inaugural year, and as a member of the Executive Committee for Women in Medicine and Science since 2018, Dr. Thomas has played a crucial role in shaping the future of medical science. Furthermore, she initiated and currently chairs the National Neurotrauma Society’s Mentor-Mentee Program, established in 2021. This program boasts 70 matched mentees across several countries, reflecting the far-reaching impact of her commitment to mentorship.