New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA


Marie A. Moore Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine- New Bolton Center

Professor of Swine Production Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Research Areas: Swine production, Neurotransmitter release–auditory system, Synaptic mechanisms in auditory system, Swine health
PubMed Link
Contact Information:
University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
Dept of Clinical Studies
New Bolton Center
382 West Street Road

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release

exocytosis, endocytosis, synaptic transmission, neurotransmitter release

time-resolved detection of neurotransmitter release from single cells: cell membrane capacitance, amperometric voltametry, and voltage clamp of detector cells or sniffer patches; optical monitoring and modulation of intracellular calcium; fluorescent indicator dyes of calcium, and photolabile chelators of calcium; cell culture and brain slice-like preparations.

My laboratory focuses on pre-synaptic mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Hearing dictates that the inner hair cell of the cochlea must release transmitter for prolonged periods and with exquisite temporal fidelity. Mechanisms of neurotransmitter release are being studied to understand the cellular and molecular specializations utilized by different parts of the nervous system to meet their unique requirements for neurotransmission.

Primary area of research:
Basic sciences – Neuroscience with a special emphasis on synaptic mechanisms in the auditory system.
Clinical science – Swine health and well-being

Berry, A.S.F., M.K. Pierdon, A.M. Misic, M.C. Sullivan, K. O’Brien, Y. Chen, R.N. Baldassano, T.D. Parsons, D.P. Beiting. Remodeling of the maternal gut microbiome during pregnancy is shaped by parity. Accepted at Microbiome : , 2021.

Ceballos, M.C., K.C.R. Góis, and T.D. Parsons. The opening of a hinged farrowing crate improves lactating sows’ welfare Applied Animal Behaviour Science 230: 105068-105077, 2020.

Ceballos, M.C., K.C.R. Góis, T.D. Parsons, and M.K. Pierdon. Impact of Duration of Farrowing Crate Closure on Physical Indicators of Sow Welfare and Piglet Mortality. : , 2020.

Horback, K.M. and T.D. Parsons. Judgement bias testing in group-housed gestating sows Behavioral Processes 159: 86-92, 2019.

Horback K.M. and T.D. Parsons. Ontogeny of behavioral traits in commercial sows Animal 13: 1-8, 2018.

Pierdon, M.K. and T.D. Parsons. Effect of familiarity and mixing method on gestating sow welfare and productivity in large dynamic groups Journal of Animal Science 96: 5024-5034, 2018.

Mack, L.A., S. P. Rossini, S. J. Leventhal, T.D. Parsons. Differences in social behaviors and mortality among piglets housed in alternative lactational pen systems Prof. Animal Scientist 33: 261–275, 2017.

Horback, K.M., M.K. Pierdon, and T.D. Parsons Behavioral preference for different enrichment types in a commercial sow herd Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 184: 7-15, 2016.

Pierdon, M.K., A.M. Johns, and T.D. Parsons An investigation of sow interaction with ice blocks on a farm with group housed sows fed by electronic sow feeders J. Swine Health and Production 24: 309-314, 2016.

Horback K.M. and T.D. Parsons Temporal stability of personality traits in group-housed gestating sows Animal 10: 1351-1359, 2016.

B.A. (Biology & Neuroscience, Magna Cum Laude) Amherst College, 1982

V.M.D. (Veterinary Medicine) University of Pennsylvania, 1986

Ph.D. (Neuroscience) University of Pennsylvania, 1989

University of Pennsylvania, Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program (1982 to 1988)
Pre-Doctoral Fellow

University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, Supervisor: Brian M. Salzberg (1988 to 1989)
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Dept., AT&T Bell Labs (1988 to 1989)
Resident Visitor

School of Medicine, Emory University, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Supervisor: H. Criss Hartzell (1989 to 1992)
Research Associate

Abteilung Molekulare Zellforschung Max-Planck-Institut f. Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany, Supervisors: Wolfhard Almers & Bert Sakmann (1993 to 1995)
Research Associate