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

Mary Lou Vallano, PhD

Mary Lou Vallano, PhD
Appointed 06/15/85
4601 Institute For Human Performance
505 Irving Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13210

315 464-5540

Current Appointments

Hospital Campus

  • Downtown

Research Programs and Affiliations

  • Biomedical Sciences Program
  • Neuroscience Program
  • Neuroscience and Physiology
  • Physiology Program
  • Research Pillars

Education & Fellowships

  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Yale University School of Medicine
  • PhD: Rutgers University, 1979

Research Interests

  • Neuronal survival and development.


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Neuronal survival and development.

Modification of synaptic neurotransmission at glutamatergic synapses and activation of Ca2+-dependent second messenger systems contribute to the processes of learning and memory, neuronal survival and differentiation. In addition, these systems play important roles in the neuronal dysfunction that is observed following stroke and ischemia, focal epilepsies and Alzheimer’s disease. Our research program is focused on analysis of the expression and functional responsiveness of distinct excitatory amino acid receptors (NMDA subtypes), modulation of responses by Ca+2-dependent protein kinases, and examination of the roles of these receptors and kinases in neuronal survival and differentiation. Dissociated neuronal cultures and knockout mice are used as model systems.

Selected References:

Gerber, A. M., Beaman-Hall, C. M., Mathur, A. and Vallano, M. L. Reduced blockade by extracellular Mg2+ is permissive to NMDA receptor activation in cerebellar granule neurons that model a migratory phenotype. J. Neurochem. 114:191-202, 2010.

Bui C. J., McGann A. C., Middleton F. A., Beaman-Hall C. M. and Vallano M. L. Transcriptional profiling of depolarization-dependent alterations in primary cultures of developing granule neurons. Brain Res. 1119: 13-25, 2006.

Gerber, A. and Vallano, M. L. Structural properties of the NMDA receptor and the design of neuroprotective therapies. Mini-Rev. Med. Chem. 6:109-120, 2006.

Vallano, M. L., Beaman-Hall, C. M., Bui, C. J. and Middleton F. A.. Depolarization and Ca2+ downregulate CB1 receptors and CB1-mediated signaling in cerebellar granule neurons. Neuropharmacol. 50:651-660, 2006.

Monaco E. A. III and Vallano M. L. Roscovitine triggers excitotoxicity in cultured granule neurons by enhancing glutamate release. Mol. Pharmacol. 68: 1331-1342, 2005.

Tremper-Wells, B. and Vallano, M. L. Nuclear calpain regulates Ca2+-dependent signaling via proteolysis of nuclear CaMKIV in neurons. J. Biol. Chem. 280: 2165-2175, 2005.

Monaco, E. A. III and Vallano, M. L. Role of protein kinases in neurodegenerative disease: cyclin-dependent kinases in Alzheimer's disease. Frontiers in Biosciences 10: 143-159, 2005.

Tremper-Wells, B. and Vallano, M. L. Nuclear calpain regulates Ca2+-dependent signaling via proteolysis of nuclear CaMKIV in cultured neurons. J. Biol. Chem. 280:2165-2175, 2005.

Choi, J. Y., C.M. Beaman-Hall, C. M. and Vallano, M. L. Granule neurons in cerebellum express distinct splice variants of the inositol trisphosphate receptor that are modulated by calcium. Amer. J. Physiol. Cell 287:C971-C980, 2004.

Faculty Profile Shortcut:

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.