John Kuwada

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830 N. University

Office Location(s): 3113A Nat. Sci.
Lab Address: 3113, 3119 Nat. Sci. 734.936.0495
Phone: 734.936.2842
Kuwada Lab Website

  • Fields of Study
    • Molecular Genetics of Nervous System Development and Function
  • About

    The Kuwada lab is interested in genes that regulate the development and function of neural circuits and the behaviors they subserve. The lab uses zebrafish since they are transparent and experimentally accessible at all stages of development allowing for analysis in living embryos with electrophysiology and various imaging based strategies to discern neural circuits. Importantly zebrafish genes can be studied with powerful methods for the generation of mutant and transgenic animals. Present projects include the analysis of several novel genes that regulate voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels in muscles and neurons and thus their excitability. How these genes regulate channels is being analyzed by live-imaging of target channels as they are being trafficked in cells, imaging based measurements of Ca2+ influx and by optogenetics, a method involving the activation and inhibition of neurons via the genetic introduction of light activatable channels into specific neurons. We have found that one of these genes is responsible for a human muscle disease and are using the zebrafish to study how dysfunction of this gene causes the congenital disease. The lab is also utilizing similar strategies to examine the neural basis of aggressive behaviors.

    Dr. Kuwada received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1980 where he was an NSF predoctoral fellow and was an NSF and NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego. In 1994 he was a Visiting Professor at Basel University and in 1999 a Visiting Scientist at the RIKEN Institute in Tokyo, Japan.