John A Wemmie, MD, PhD

Summary statement: 

Role of acid sensing ion channels in fear related behavior

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(319) 384-3173
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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.

“This is a great place—perhaps the best place—to do cognitive neuroscience research with neurological patients. There is excellent functional imaging work going on here, too, as well as a very interesting assortment of molecular and cellular research.”