Northwestern Events Calendar


Disruption of Synaptic Transmission and Plasticity in Cognitive Disorders - Richard L. Huganir, PhD

When: Thursday, October 3, 2019
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Baldwin Auditorium, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Michelle Mohney   312.503.5602

Group: Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment

Category: Lectures & Meetings


The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine welcomes you to attend a lecture featuring:

Richard L. Huganir, PhD
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Director, Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Co-Director, Brain Science Institute
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Neurotransmitter receptors mediate signal transduction at synaptic connections between neurons in the brain and the regulation of receptor function is critical for synaptic plasticity. My laboratory has been elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of AMPA receptors, the major excitatory neurotransmitters receptors in the central nervous system. We have found that AMPA receptors are extensively posttranslationally modified by phosphorylation, palmitoylation and ubiquination. Protein phosphorylation is a major form of AMPA receptor regulation and the receptors are phosphorylated on serine, threonine and tyrosine residues by many different protein kinases. We have shown that phosphorylation of the receptor regulates its ion channel properties and membrane trafficking and that receptor phosphorylation is critical for the expression of several forms of synaptic plasticity and for learning and memory. We have also identified a variety of AMPA receptor interacting proteins, including GRIP1/2, PICK1, GRASP1, SNX27, KIBRA, and SynGAP1 that interact with AMPA receptors and are necessary for their proper subcellular trafficking. This AMPA receptor complex is important for several forms of synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. These studies indicate that the modulation of receptor function is a major mechanism for the regulation of synaptic transmission and is a critical determinant of animal behavior. Recent evidence has indicated that AMPA receptor function may be disrupted in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Specifically, mutations in SynGAP, GRIP1 and GRASP1 as well as AMPA receptor subunits have been found to be associated with cognitive disorders including intellectual disability, autism, and schizophrenia. SynGAP1 loss of function mutations are now thought to underlie 1% of intellectual disabilities. Recently we have characterized these disease-associated SynGAP1 mutations to examine their effect on SynGAP protein function, AMPA receptor trafficking, synaptic plasticity and behavior and are developing potential therapeutic approaches to treat these devastating disorders.

Dr. Richard Huganir is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Psychological and Brain Sciences and Director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he is also the Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Brain Science Institute. Dr. Huganir received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University in 1982 where he performed his thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Efraim Racker. He was a postdoctoral fellow with the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Paul Greengard, at Yale University School of Medicine from 1982-1984. Dr. Huganir then moved to the Rockefeller University where he was an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology from 1984-1988. Dr. Huganir moved to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1988 as an Associate Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Dr. Huganir was an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1988-2014. Dr. Huganir became the Director or the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience in 2006. Dr. Huganir’s career has focused on synapses, the connections between nerve cells, in the brain. Dr. Huganir’s studies have shown that the regulation of receptor function is a major mechanism for the regulation of neuronal excitability and connectivity in the brain and is critical for many higher brain processes, including learning and memory, and is a major determinant of behavior. Moreover, dysregulation of these mechanisms underlie many neurological and psychiatric diseases including Alzheimer’s, ALS, schizophrenia, autism, intellectual disability, PTSD as well as in chronic pain and drug addiction. Dr. Huganir is currently the Chair of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research Scientific Advisory Committee and a recent member of the NIMH Council and on the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group. Dr. Huganir is a past President of the Society for Neuroscience and has served as Treasurer of the Society for Neuroscience. He has received the Young Investigator Award and the Julius Axelrod Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the Santiago Grisolia Award, the Goldman-Rakic Award, the Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in