neuro-phys

One of many research initiatives in assistant professor Rick Matthews' lab focuses on the role of extracellular matrix and cell surface glycoproteins in the developing nervous system and in learning, memory, plasticity and diseases. This slide shows extracellular matrix (ECM) staining on a glioma initiating cell.

Neuroscience Program Faculty

Program Director/Department Chair: Barry Knox, PhD

  • William Brunken, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Epigenetic regulation of brain and ocular development; the role of extracellular matrix in ocular development and disease. 

  • Blair Calancie, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests: CNS plasticity after trauma; intraoiperative electrophysiology.
  • Peter Calvert, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of protein transport and localization in retinal neurons; mechanisms of retinal degenerative diseases
  • David Carter, MD, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests: Enhancing Central Nervous System (brain & spinal cord) plasticity & repair; Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy
  • Stephen Faraone, PhD
    Distinguished Professor
    Research Interests:

    My group seeks to discover new medicines for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism based on discoveries in genetics.  These two disorders frequently occur together and cause numerous problems for patients and their families.  We need new medicines for these disorders because the ones we use now are only partially effective or cannot be used widely because they cause other problems.  Importantly, no medicines can currently cure or prevent these disorders.  The Faraone Lab searches for genes that cause ADHD and autism and figures out how these genes differ from genes in other children.  We then study how these genes work together with networks of other genes in brain cells.  By learning how defects in risk genes for ADHD and autism disturb the functioning of these networks, we find new targets for medicines.

  • Stephen Glatt, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Dr. Glatt is Director of the Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology & Neurobiology Laboratory (PsychGENe Lab).  The mission of the PsychGENe Lab is to develop and apply methods for finding the causes of mental health and mental illness.  The vision of the lab is that we will discover those causes and use that information to design interventions that treat or prevent these disorders, or foster resilience to them.  We are running numerous research projects aimed at finding the genes and environmental risk factors for a wide variety of disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and substance abuse disorders, among others.  Our pipeline seeks to identify “risk genes” for these disorders by studying affected individuals and families and then to reveal how such genes alter brain biology leading to a vulnerability to mental illness.

  • Brian Howell, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: The signal transduction events that regulate the functional organization of neurons in the brain, and the phenotypes caused by defects in the genes that encode these signaling molecules.
  • Huaiyu Hu, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Molecular studies of brain malformations.
  • Burk Jubelt, MD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    CNS acute and chronic polio- and entero-virus infections; Growth factors for Post-Polio Syndrome; Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Motor Neuron Gene Expression

  • Wendy Kates, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    My lab studies brain development and brain function in individuals with genetic disorders.  The main focus of our work is on a genetic disorder called 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS).  Individuals with 22q11DS are at a 25-fold greater risk for developing schizophrenia than individuals in the general population.  We examine the effects of genetic mutation, brain development, and neuropsychological function in youth with this disorder, in order to identify the factors that place youth at highest risk for developing schizophrenia.  Eventually, our research may allow us to identify and provide early interventions to youth at high risk for schizophrenia, potentially easing the huge toll that schizophrenia takes on families.  Another focus of our work is to determine the effectiveness of computer-based, on-line, cognitive interventions in youth with genetically based intellectual disorders.  Our hope is that by demonstrating the effectiveness of on-line, cognitive interventions, we can reach and benefit many youth who may not have access to centers that are providing such interventions in person.

  • Paul Kent, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Mechanisms of sensory coding in the olfactory system; seizure mechanisms in hippocampal slices; optical imaging techniques.
  • Barry Knox, PhD
    Professor and Chair
    Research Interests: Visual transduction, Gene Expression, Membrane proteins
  • Michael Lyon, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Age-related changes in the laryngeal muscles and vocal folds.
  • Paul Massa, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Regulation of innate immune responses to viruses.

  • Russell Matthews, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Role of glycoproteins in oncogenesis and brain development
  • Frank Middleton, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Molecular basis of cortical-basal ganglia and cortical-cerebellar circuit formation and dysfunction in neurological and psychiatric disease.

  • Brad Motter, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Visual Neurophysiology; Visual Attention; Visual Search Behavior
  • Eric Olson, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of cerebral cortex development.
  • Francesca Pignoni, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:
    Neurogenesis; Retinal Progenitor Cells Specification and Proliferation; Genetic Control of Stem Cell Identity and Maintenance; Disease Genes Analysis in Drosophila
  • Jeremy Shefner, MD, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests: Clinical Therapeutics of ALS and other motor neuron disorders.  Animals models of the physiology and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Peripheral nerve physiology.
  • Eduardo Solessio, PhD
    Assistant Professor
  • Daniel Tso, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Neuronal mechanisms of visual perception, studied through physiological, anatomical and functional imaging techniques.
  • Mary Lou Vallano, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests: Neuronal survival and development.
  • Richard Veenstra, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests: Regulation of connexin-specific-gap-junctions; gap junction channel biophysics.
  • Andrea Viczian, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests: Mammalian retinal stem cells formation; molecular mechanism of retinal cell fate decisions; using cell replacement therapy to heal the blinded eye.
  • Richard JH Wojcikiewicz, PhD
    Professor and Interim Chair
    Research Interests:

    Intracellular signaling via InsP3 receptors and their regulation by the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and Bcl-2 family proteins.

  • Yunlei Yang, MD, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests:

    Deciphering and manipulating the cellular signaling circuits for feeding behaviors using approaches including electrophysiology, pharmacogenetics and optogenetics.

  • Steven Youngentob, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Research demonstrates a highly predictive relationship between alcohol exposure of an unborn child during pregnancy and the chance of later alcohol abuse during the already “at risk” age of adolescence.  Also, the younger these children first experience alcohol the greater the likelihood of continued abuse.  Yet, the processes underlying this increasing pattern of alcohol use and abuse are poorly understood.  The senses of smell, taste, and oral irritation, which combine to give us our perception of flavor, can be modified by experience throughout life, including during development in the womb.  Why is this important?  Because we learn through experience by way of flavor cues in amniotic fluid and even a mother’s breast-milk what foods the mother ate and prefers and, in turn, what is presumably good to eat.  Unfortunately, this normally beneficial process is also at play when a mother drinks alcohol, and the flavor qualities of the drug are known to be important determinants of preference and intake behavior.  Work in our lab focuses on understanding the processes by which exposure of the unborn child during pregnancy induces changes in the systems involved in the preference for alcohol odor and the acceptability of alcohol’s flavor.  This, in turn, contributes to the risk of initial alcohol use and continued adolescent abuse.  Further, we wish to understand how adolescent experience with the drug increases the fetal effect and causes the alcohol-induced changes to continue into adulthood.

  • Li-Ru Zhao, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Brain plasticity, Brain repair, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, CADASIL, Traumatic brain injury, Live brain imaging, Stem cell biology and therapy, Cell signaling, Cell-cell interaction.

  • Sijun Zhu, MD, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests:

    Genetic mechanisms of Drosophila neural stem cell self-renewal and specification.

  • Michael Zuber, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests: The molecular basis of retinal stem cell formation; regulating retinal stem/progenitor cell proliferation; using retinal stem/progenitor cells to heal the injured or degenerating retina.

Additional Collaborators

  • Paul Gold, PhD
    Professor, Biology (Syracuse University)
    Research Interests: Aging, Cell Signaling and Communication, Learning, Memory, and Plasticity, Neurological and Psychiatric Conditions.
  • James Hewett, PhD
    Associate Professor, Biology (Syracuse University)
    Research Interests: Neuroscience and Central Nervous System Neurobiology and Pathology: Neuromodulators and Epilepsy: Arachidonic Acid Metabolism and Cyclooxygenase-2: Cytokines and Interleukin-1beta: Signal Transduction and Gene Expression.
  • Sandra Hewett, PhD
    Professor, Neuroscience, Biology (Syracuse University)
    Research Interests: Mechanisms underlying cell death in the central nervous system: the interplay between excitotoxicity and inflammation.
  • Donna Korol, PhD
    Associate Professor, Biology (Syracuse University)
    Research Interests: Neural mechanisms of learning and memory across the lifespan.
  • Katharine (Kate) Lewis, PhD
    Associate Professor, Biology (Syracuse University)
    Research Interests: Specification and patterning of spinal cord interneurons; Formation of functional neuronal circuitry; Evolution of spinal cord patterning and function; Dorsal-ventral neural tube patterning; zebrafish development.