Our research focuses on the Akt signaling pathway and the characterization of molecular mechanisms underlying its involvement in physiologic and pathologic biological responses. Currently, we are working in two specific areas: (1) the role of Akt and its targets in normal and pathological cognition and synaptic plasticity; (2) the utility of Akt-dependent apoptosis suppression as prognostic marker and therapeutic target in cancer therapy.
One intracellular signaling pathway with significant implications in neuronal cell biology is modulated by the serine-threonine kinase Akt. Akt is an evolutionarily conserved serine-threonine kinase that promotes cell growth and survival in neurons and other cell types. Akt kinase activity is increased by signals as diverse as growth factor receptor stimulation at the plasma membrane and stimulation of different brain regions, and it is also enhanced following the acquisition of new memories. In support of a far-reaching role for intact Akt signaling in human cognition, coding variations have been described in individuals suffering from mental diseases. These findings have led us to our working hypothesis that impaired Akt signaling is involved in brain processes associated with cognition. To address this hypothesis experimentally, we are examining genetically modified mouse models of altered Akt signaling using neuronal cell biology, biochemistry and physiology, and also in behavioral paradigms.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
PhD from Other
MD from Other
Journal of biological chemistry. 2017 Jun 20; ?-?
5-HT1A receptor anti-apoptotic transduction pathways in suicide [Meeting Abstract]
Biological psychiatry. 2016 May; 79(9):61S-61S
Modeling the role of impaired akt kinase signaling in the susceptibility to stress [Meeting Abstract]
FASEB journal. 2016 Apr; 30(no):
CaMKK2 activates oncogenic Akt in ovarian cancer cells and is a promising therapeutic target [Meeting Abstract]
FASEB journal. 2016 Apr; 30(1 Suppl):714.8-?
Akt signaling in fear memory processing and depression-like behaviors [Meeting Abstract]
FASEB journal. 2015 Apr; 29(1 Suppl):931.5-n/a
Molecular cancer therapeutics. 2015 Jul; 14(7):?-?
Akt1 signaling in dopamine-dependent behaviors [Meeting Abstract]
FASEB journal. 2014 Apr; 28(1):?-?
Journal of biological chemistry. 2013 Oct 25; 288(43):30872-30882