John A Wemmie, MD, PhD

john-wemmie
Psychiatry
Professor
Summary statement: 

Role of acid sensing ion channels in fear related behavior

Office phone: 
(319) 384-3173
Office number: 
1310
Office building: 
PBDB

My lab uses genetic manipulation in mice to study the effects of Acid Sensing Ion Channels (ASICs) on behavior.

Because one of these channels, ASIC1, is abundant in the amygdala complex, we tested whether it plays a role in Pavlovian fear conditioning. We found that ASIC1a knockout mice have reduced fear conditioning, whereas transgenic mice overexpressing ASIC1a have increased fear conditioning. These data suggest that ASICs may play an important role in fear, and raise the possibility that they might contribute to anxiety disorders in humans and might provide a pharmacological target for treating anxiety. Ongoing studies in my lab are exploring these possibilities.

“I am from Taiwan, which means in addition to learning neuroscience, I also need to learn the language and culture of the United States. Iowa, especially the neuroscience program, provides me with an extremely friendly environment in which to learn. People in the program are warm, open-minded, and very willing to help me with my language questions, culture shock, homesickness, etc. In Taiwan, we say, “When you are home, you rely on your family; when you are not home, you rely on your friends. ” I made many friends in Iowa. In school, we help each other with classes and research. After school, we go out together, play sports together, and every once in a while, travel together (to nearby big cities and to conferences). Pursuing a Ph.D. degree is a long and difficult process. I am so glad that I came to Iowa for my degree because my friends and advisers here have been the always, most immediate, and most helpful support to me.”