- B.A., 1979, Augustana College, Biology.
- M.S., 1981, Illinois State University, Biological Sciences.
- Ph.D., 1987, Iowa State University, Zoology, Neurobiology.
- Postdoctoral research: Iowa State University.
Joined the department in 1991.
Associations: Interdisciplinary Faculty of Neuroscience
Associate Dean for
College of Science
College Station, TX 77843-3258
Biological Sciences Building West
Biological Sciences Building West
|Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology
Research Summary My laboratory studies cellular mechanisms governing the formation of specific synaptic connections between neurons and their targets. These mechanisms include cell-cell recognition and target-dependent induction of the presynaptic secretion machinery. Some of our studies investigate synapse formation of identified motoneurons of the American pond snail, Helisoma trivolvis , following nerve injury in vivo and in cell culture. Since the synapse is the site of most interneuronal communication within the nervous system, an understanding of the development, regeneration and plasticity of these connections is crucial to an ultimate appreciation of neural integration and brain function.
We also study a rare form of regeneration called neural morphallaxis in the annelid worm, Lumbriculus variegatus. This organism is ideal for examining behavioral, physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms of development, regeneration and systems-level plasticity. We have defined the neural correlates of escape reflexes, which are reconfigured during morphallaxis. Recently we have begun investigations of synaptic molecules up-regulated specifically during morphallaxis. This model system is emerging as a valuable educational tool in the science classroom.
- Lybrand ZR & Zoran MJ (2012) Rapid neural circuit switching mediated by synaptic plasticity during neural morphallactic regeneration. Dev Neurobiol 72:1256-66 Full text
- Turner MB, Szabo-Maas TM, Poyer JC & Zoran MJ (2011) Regulation and restoration of motoneuronal synaptic transmission during neuromuscular regeneration in the pulmonate snail Helisoma trivolvis. Biol Bull 221:110-25 Full text
- Burkeen JF, Womac AD, Earnest DJ & Zoran MJ (2011) Mitochondrial calcium signaling mediates rhythmic extracellular ATP accumulation in suprachiasmatic nucleus astrocytes. J Neurosci 31:8432-40 Full text
- Szabo TM, Caplan JS & Zoran MJ (2010) Serotonin regulates electrical coupling via modulation of extrajunctional conductance: H-current. Brain Res 1349:21-31 Full text
- Repnikova E, Koles K, Nakamura M, Pitts J, Li H, Ambavane A, Zoran MJ & Panin VM (2010) Sialyltransferase regulates nervous system function in Drosophila. J Neurosci 30:6466-76 Full text
- Womac AD, Burkeen JF, Neuendorff N, Earnest DJ & Zoran MJ (2009) Circadian rhythms of extracellular ATP accumulation in suprachiasmatic nucleus cells and cultured astrocytes. Eur J Neurosci 30:869-76 Full text
- Martinez VG, Manson JM & Zoran MJ (2008) Effects of nerve injury and segmental regeneration on the cellular correlates of neural morphallaxis. J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol 310:520-33 Full text
- Szabo TM & Zoran MJ (2007) Transient electrical coupling regulates formation of neuronal networks. Brain Res 1129:63-71 Full text
- Tjalkens RB, Zoran MJ, Mohl B & Barhoumi R (2006) Manganese suppresses ATP-dependent intercellular calcium waves in astrocyte networks through alteration of mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum calcium dynamics. Brain Res 1113:210-9 Full text
- Peters JL, Earnest BJ, Tjalkens RB, Cassone VM & Zoran MJ (2005) Modulation of intercellular calcium signaling by melatonin in avian and mammalian astrocytes is brain region-specific. J Comp Neurol 493:370-80 Full text