John Leonard

PhD, Cornell University

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Office: 3055B SELE


Phone: (312) 996-4261


Web Site: John Leonard Departmental Page


Research Interests:

The goal of my Grin2adeltaPKC mouse project is to determine the importance, in a living animal, of the sites on a postsynaptic receptor that control synaptic strength. NMDA receptors reinforce the connection between neurons that are simultaneously active and thus link neurons into a network that is concerned with the same set of neural inputs. Regulation of postsynaptic sensitivity of other glutamate receptors is a role that has been well described for NMDA receptors in many, but not all brain regions. However, the regulation of the NMDA receptors themselves adds another layer of modulation to synaptic transmission. This plasticity of the plasticity trigger has been labeled “metaplasticity”, and its role in behavior is the key question under investigation in the proposal. Determination of the importance of PKC regulation of NMDA receptors in brain function and behavior will be directly tested by the elimination of these control sites on the Grin2a receptor subunit in a living mouse. My laboratory has produced the Grin2adeltaPKC mouse, and performed experiments of basic physiological and behavioral characterization. Exciting preliminary results suggest that there are phenotypic changes in the anxiety-related behavior of these mice. Early success of the Grin2adeltaPKC mouse project encourages production of a similar mouse with homologous PKC regulatory sites in the Grin2b subunit, to examine molecular interactions.