Uel Jackson McMahan

Professor Emeritus

Fax: 979-845-2891

Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building

Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building

Joined the Department in 2008

  • B.A., 1960, Westminster College (Fulton, Missouri), Biology
  • Ph.D., 1964, University of Tennessee Medical Units (Memphis), Anatomy
  • Instructor, 1965-1967, Yale University School of Medicine, Anatomy
  • Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor, 1967-1977, Harvard Medical School, Neurobiology
  • Professor, 1977-2008, Stanford University, Neurobiology
  • Director of the Interdepartmental Neurosciences Ph.D. program, 1986-1991, Stanford University,
  • Chair of Department of Neurobiology, 1987-1992, Stanford University,
  • Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies, 1989-1990, Stanford University


Professor of Neurobiology and of Structural Biology Emeritus at Stanford, 2008
Career Development Award from NIH, 1973-1977
Jacob Javits Neurosciences Investigator Award from NIH, 1984-1991 and 1991-1998
Fondation IPSEN/Fondation de France Prix (Plasticite Neuronale), 1998
Director of the Visiting Lecture Team Program for the International Brain Research Organization, UNESCO

McMahan and his research group provide one of the cornerstones for Texas A&M’s new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building and its related teaching and research efforts. His work focuses on how the nervous system’s synapses form in the embryo and function in the adult in various animal species. It relies on high-resolution imaging, chemical characterization and experimental manipulation of specific macromolecules and organelles, which altogether provide insights unobtainable via any other approach. The findings bear directly on the problems of understanding the molecular basis of human brain diseases and restoring brain function after trauma.

  1. Jung, JH, Szule, JA, Stouder, K, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ. Active Zone Material-Directed Orientation, Docking, and Fusion of Dense Core Vesicles Alongside Synaptic Vesicles at Neuromuscular Junctions. Front Neuroanat. 2018;12 :72. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2018.00072. PubMed PMID:30271328 PubMed Central PMC6146030.
  2. Jung, JH, Szule, JA, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ. Variable priming of a docked synaptic vesicle. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113 (8):E1098-107. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1523054113. PubMed PMID:26858418 PubMed Central PMC4776491.
  3. Szule, JA, Jung, JH, McMahan, UJ. The structure and function of 'active zone material' at synapses. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015;370 (1672):. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0189. PubMed PMID:26009768 PubMed Central PMC4455758.
  4. Harlow, ML, Szule, JA, Xu, J, Jung, JH, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ et al.. Alignment of synaptic vesicle macromolecules with the macromolecules in active zone material that direct vesicle docking. PLoS One. 2013;8 (7):e69410. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069410. PubMed PMID:23894473 PubMed Central PMC3718691.
  5. Szule, JA, Harlow, ML, Jung, JH, De-Miguel, FF, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ et al.. Regulation of synaptic vesicle docking by different classes of macromolecules in active zone material. PLoS One. 2012;7 (3):e33333. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033333. PubMed PMID:22438915 PubMed Central PMC3306385.
  6. Nagwaney, S, Harlow, ML, Jung, JH, Szule, JA, Ress, D, Xu, J et al.. Macromolecular connections of active zone material to docked synaptic vesicles and presynaptic membrane at neuromuscular junctions of mouse. J Comp Neurol. 2009;513 (5):457-68. doi: 10.1002/cne.21975. PubMed PMID:19226520 PubMed Central PMC4288958.
  7. Ress, DB, Harlow, ML, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ. Methods for generating high-resolution structural models from electron microscope tomography data. Structure. 2004;12 (10):1763-74. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2004.07.022. PubMed PMID:15458626 PubMed Central PMC4312110.
  8. Harlow, ML, Ress, D, Stoschek, A, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ. The architecture of active zone material at the frog's neuromuscular junction. Nature. 2001;409 (6819):479-84. doi: 10.1038/35054000. PubMed PMID:11206537 .
  9. Ress, D, Harlow, ML, Schwarz, M, Marshall, RM, McMahan, UJ. Automatic acquisition of fiducial markers and alignment of images in tilt series for electron tomography. J Electron Microsc (Tokyo). 1999;48 (3):277-87. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.jmicro.a023679. PubMed PMID:10425746 .
  10. Mathiesen, I, Rimer, M, Ashtari, O, Cohen, I, McMahan, UJ, Lømo, T et al.. Regulation of the size and distribution of agrin-induced postsynaptic-like apparatus in adult skeletal muscle by electrical muscle activity. Mol Cell Neurosci. 1999;13 (3):207-17. doi: 10.1006/mcne.1999.0744. PubMed PMID:10328882 .
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