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Faculty in Biology

 

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Raad Nashmi, Assistant Professor

raad@uvic.ca

Office: CUNN 259b        Office Phone: 250-721-6169
Lab: CUNN 255 & 248     Lab Phone: 250-853-3898

Lab Page

Research Interests:
Neurobiology, synaptic transmission, nicotinic receptors, nicotine addiction

Our long-term goal is to understand the basic function of nicotinic receptors in modulating neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS) and to elucidate their role in a variety of neurological disorders including nicotine addiction. The transmission of information between neurons in the brain is governed by the release of neurotransmitters which bind to receptors on the surface of postsynaptic neurons. Our lab is interested in one class of ligand-gated ion channels called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Nicotine addiction begins with the activation of nicotinic receptors in the CNS. Furthermore, there is upregulation of nicotinic receptors in the brains of chronic smokers and in rodents exposed to chronic nicotine administration. We hypothesize that nicotinic signaling and neurotransmission is altered with chronic nicotine.

The research in our lab focuses on three themes:

  1. understanding the fundamental role of nicotinic receptors in modulating neurotransmission in specific neural circuits in the CNS;
  2. elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms of regulation of nicotinic receptor trafficking, expression and function;
  3. delineating mechanisms of nicotine addiction.

To address these issues we produced knock-in mouse lines, whereby a nicotinic receptor subunit was mutated to contain a fluorescent tag allowing us to localize the receptor in the CNS with exquisite detail. We use a multidisciplinary approach including confocal imaging to quantify the change in nicotinic receptors in individual neurons, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings to examine alterations in neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity in specific neural circuits, molecular biology and mouse genetics.

There is a position available for a graduate student in Dr. Nashmi's lab. Interested candidates should contact Dr. Nashmi by email (raad@uvic.ca) with attached CV.

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