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- Jay Boulanger
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- Susan Ellis-Felege
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- Peter Meberg
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- Kathryn Yurkonis
Associate Professor of Biology and Department Chair
Starcher Hall Room 219
Office Tel: 701.777.4674
B.S. 1982, University of North Dakota
M.S. 1990, Ph.D. 1993, Northwestern University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Colorado State University
- Molecular and cellular neurobiology
- Neural plasticity
- Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton
My general area of interest is neural plasticity. The nervous system exhibits a tremendous capacity for change in response to injuries and environmental stimuli. For example, experience-dependent modification of connections between neurons is the basis for learning and memory. Other examples of neural plasticity include the regenerative growth of axons to re-innervate their targets after peripheral nerve injury, as well as the pathological sprouting of axons in the brain after seizures or stroke. It is of special interest to determine the mechanisms responsible for such changes in neuronal morphology, since understanding these mechanisms will enable the development of therapeutic interventions for inhibiting or enhancing neuronal growth after injury. For example, enhancing axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury would spur recovery from paralysis.
Actin dynamics influence diverse cellular processes, such as ion channel function, receptor clustering, and motility of neuronal growth cones and spines. In particular, I am studying a protein called actin depolymerizing factor (ADF), an important regulator of actin dynamics in response to a wide variety of extracellular signals that influence axonal outgrowth and synaptic function. For example, increasing the activity of ADF results in increased axonal outgrowth in cultured neurons. Methods used in these studies include primary neuronal cell culture, video microscopy and digital image analysis, protein analyses (western blots, proteomics, etc), and molecular biology techniques such as construction of recombinant adenoviruses for delivery of mutant gene constructs. Current projects: a) the function of ADF/cofilin in growth cones, and b) changes in actin and actin -binding proteins related to seizure-induced mossy fiber sprouting, using a proteomics approach.
Prospective Graduate Students
For more information about research opportunities in Dr. Meberg's lab, contact him directly. Additional information can also be obtained from the UND Graduate School and the UND Department of Biology, including application information.
NSF REU Site Grant 0851869: "Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Neuroscience", Co-PI with Dr. Van A. Doze
Meberg, P.J. and Miller, M.W. (2003) Culturing hippocampal and cortical neurons. Methods in Cell Biology 71:111-127.
Meberg , P. J. (2000) Signal-regulated ADF/ cofilin activity and growth cone motility. Molecular Neurobiology , Molecular Neurobiology 21:97-107.
Meberg , P. J. and Bamburg , J. R. (2000) Increase in neurite outgrowth mediated by overexpression of actin depolymerizing factor. Journal of Neuroscience 20:2459-2469.
Minamide , L. S., Streigl , A. M., Boyle, J. A., Meberg , P. J. and Bamburg , J. R. (2000) Neurodegenerative stimuli induce persistent ADF/cofilin-actin rods that disrupt the cytoskeleton and distal function of CNS neurons. Nature Cell Biology 2:628-636.
Meberg , P. J. , Kossel , A. H., Williams, C. V. and Kater , S. B. (1999) Calcium-dependent alterations in dendritic architecture of hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Neuroreport 10:639-644.
Meberg , P. J. , Ono, S., Minamide , L.S., Takahashi, M. and Bamburg , J. R. (1998) Actin depolymerizing factor and cofilin phosphorylation dynamics: response to signals that regulate neurite extension. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 39:172-190.
Meberg , P. J. , Kinney, W. R., Valcourt , E. G and Routtenberg , A. (1996) Gene expression of the transcription factor NF- k B in brain: regulation by synaptic activity. Molecular Brain Research 38:179-190.