John Partridge

Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., Pharmacology
Vanderbilt University, 2000
(202) 687-5196

My varied research interests include determining the mechanisms and molecules governing synaptic transmission in the dorsal striatum using electrophysiological, genetic and biochemical methods. The striatum is a crucially important brain region involved in the smooth execution of motor control and other various functions. Disruptions in striatal physiology result in debilitating motor problems exemplified by Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. My research goals are to more fully understand the complex interactions of small molecule neurotransmitters in the striatum. These include investigating the relationships and crosstalk among glutamate, dopamine, acetylcholine and endocannabinoids governing normal and pathological states which dictate striatal output.

I am also interested in examining long-term changes in synaptic efficacy at excitatory synapses which impinge upon striatal neurons. To examine this dynamic aspect of striatal physiology, I use electrophysiological methods in combination with pharmacology, to detect basal and evoked synaptic events. Another strand of my research interests concerns the formation and maturation of central synapses. Present studies utilize transgenic mice to characterize differences in synaptic transmission parameters in genetically identifiable subtypes of neurons within the striatum.

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