John H. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.

Title
Professor
Department
Departments of Neurology; Anatomy & Neurobiology
Institution
University of California, Irvine
Address
2101 Gillespie Building
Mail Code 4299
City, State, Zip
Irvine, CA 92697-4299
Phone
(949) 824-6774
E-mail
jweiss[at]uci.edu
Website
http://www.anatomy.uci.edu/weiss.html
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
1992

Research

A key focus of our laboratory is to examine molecular mechanisms of degeneration of brain neurons. Many of our studies are carried out in dissociated nerve cell cultures, a system that has the advantage over more complex systems of allowing precise control of the neuronal microenvironment and thereby facilitating determination of conditions that modulate neuronal behaviors (such as calcium accumulation or excitability) or survival. A current focus follows from the observation that neuronal death in certain degenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is selective; certain populations of neurons die while others seem unaffected by the disease. What differentiates the vulnerable neurons from the others? Several lines of evidence have led us to suggest that vulnerable neurons might differ from other neurons in their sensitivity to damage produced by activation of AMPA/kainate subtypes of glutamate receptors, in part because of expression of calcium permeable AMPA/kainate channels.