Michele Jacob, PhD

Michele Jacob, PhD

Professor of Neuroscience

 

Education

BS, Biology, City College of New York
PhD, Cell Biology, Yale University
Postdoctoral Training, Columbia University; University of California, San Diego

Location

Campus: Boston
Office: Stearns 327
Laboratory: Arnold 305

Contact Information

Office Phone: 617-636-2429
Lab Phone: 617-636-4082
E-mail   Send an e-mail

Links

Research Web Site  Lab Research Page
Recent Publications  Abstract in PubMed

Graduate Programs

Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology, Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Neuroscience

 

Research Synopsis

My research goal is to identify molecular mechanisms, in vivo, that direct the proper assembly and function of excitatory synapses. Malfunction of these synapses is associated with autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and hearing loss. We have identified the adenomatous polyposis coli protein (APC) as a key synapse organizer. APC’s synaptic functions were undefined prior to our work. Our findings show that APC is essential, in vivo, for: positioning nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, neurexin and neuroligin at nicotinic synaptic sites; coordinating presynaptic and postsynaptic maturation of synapses in avian autonomic neurons; and normal maturation and plasticity of glutamatergic synapses in the mammalian brain and cochlea. Recently, we have developed a new transgenic mouse with targeted deletion of APC in excitatory neurons during synaptic differentiation. Human APC inactivating gene mutations correlate with autism and intellectual disabilities. APC cKO mice, compared with wild-type littermates, exhibit autistic-like behaviors, cognitive impairments, reduced hearing, aberrant synaptic plasticity, and altered levels of key plasticity and signaling proteins. Our two long term research goals are to define effective therapeutic interventions to enhance hearing restoration in deafened mammals and to ameliorate cognitive deficits and autism.

 

Lab Members

Jonathan Alexander, PhD Student in Neuroscience Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Tyler Hickman, PhD Student in Neuroscience Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Antonella Pirone, Postdoctoral Scholar Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page

 

Application for 2015 Admission

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The deadline for PhD programs is December 15, 2014.