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Peter  Penzes

Peter Penzes, PhD

Associate Professor in Physiology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Ward Building Room 5-654
303 E Chicago Avenue
Chicago IL 60611

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Research Collaborators

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Alzheimer's Disease; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Brain, Nervous System; Cytoskeleton; Nervous System Diseases; Neuroscience; Schizophrenia; Signal Transduction

Description of Interests

SYNAPTIC STRUCTURAL PLASTICITY: FROM MOLECULES TO COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS AND DISEASE Research in my lab centers on signal transduction networks that regulate the structural and functional plasticity of excitatory synapses. Synaptic communication between neurons within brain circuits underlies cognitive functions, and is disrupted in numerous neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Most central excitatory synapses are located on dendritic spines, and spine structure is essential for normal and pathological brain function. Spine dynamics is crucial for the establishment, maintenance, and experience dependent modification of connectivity in neural circuits. Conversely, abnormal dendritic spine morphology occurs in patients with neurodegenerative, psychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. As spine morphology is closely associated with cognitive functions, understanding the mechanisms of regulation and dysregulation of spine plasticity is necessary to elucidate the neural bases of cognitive functions and disorders. The long-term goals of my research are: 1) to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that control synaptic structural plasticity. 2) to determine how they influence the development, functioning, and plasticity of brain circuits underlying cognition. 3) to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic pathology and determine their impact on disease endophenotypes. To to achieve these objectives, we employ a multidisciplinary array of molecular, cellular, imaging, transgenic, electrophysiological, and behavioral approaches, and have assembled an outstanding team of collaborators.

Professional Education

PhD: SUNY - Buffalo, Biochemistry (1997)

Most Recent Publications

Remmers C, Sweet RA, Penzes P.
Brain Research Bulletin. 2014 Jan;doi:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2013.12.006.
ISSN: 03619230

Srivastava DP, Woolfrey KM, Penzes P.
Pharmacological Reviews. 2013 Oct;65(4):1318-1350.doi:10.1124/pr.111.005272.
PMID: 24076546   ISSN: 00316997

Cahill ME, Remmers C, Jones KA, Xie Z, Sweet RA, Penzes P.
Journal of Neurochemistry. 2013 Sep;126(5):625-635.doi:10.1111/jnc.12330.
PMID: 23742124   PMCID: PMC3752328   ISSN: 00223042

Penzes P, Buonanno A, Passafaro M, Sala C, Sweet RA.
Journal of Neurochemistry. 2013 Jul;126(2):165-182.doi:10.1111/jnc.12261.
PMID: 23574039   PMCID: PMC3700683   ISSN: 00223042

View all 57 publications

External Professional Relationships

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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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