Dr. Raad Nashmi

Dr. Raad  Nashmi
Associate Professor
Office: CUN 259b

Areas of research focus

  • Neurobiology
  • Synaptic transmission
  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Cholinergic system

Description of Research

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 specific circuits in the brain to influence behaviour. The transmission of information between neurons in the brain is governed by the release of neurotransmitters which bind to receptors on postsynaptic neurons. Our lab is interested in how the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine activates one class of ligand-gated ion channels called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain.
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 and how specific cholinergic circuits modify behaviour;
  2. elucidate the molecular mechanisms of how nicotinic receptors are regulated;
  3. delineating how dysfunctional cholinergic signalling leads to various nervous system disorders.

We use a multidisciplinary approach including whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, confocal imaging, optogenetics and behaviour.

Select Publications

Estakhr J, Abazari D, Frisby K, McIntosh JM, Nashmi R (2017) Differential control of dopaminergic excitability and locomotion by cholinergic inputs in mouse substantia nigra. Current Biology 27: 1900-1914.

Leung J, Mcphee DM, Renda A, Penty N, Fahroomand F, Nashmi R and Delaney KR (2017) MeCP2-deficient mice have reduced α4 and α6 nicotinic receptor mRNA and altered behavioral response to nicotinic agonists.  Behavioural Brain Res 330: 118-126.

Renda A, Penty N, Komal P, Nashmi R (2016) Vulnerability to nicotine self-administration in adolescent mice correlates with age-specific expression of α4* nicotinic receptors.  Neuropharmacology 108: 49-59.

Komal P, Estakhr J, Kamran M, Renda A, Nashmi R (2015) cAMP-dependent protein kinase inhibits α7 nicotinic receptor activity in layer 1 cortical interneurons through activation of D1/D5 dopamine receptors. J Physiol 593(16):3513-3.

Taylor SR, Badurek S, DiLeone1 RJ, Nashmi R, Minichiello L, Marina R Picciotto MR (2014) GABAergic and glutamatergic efferents of the mouse ventral tegmental area.  J Comp Neurology 522: 3308-34.

Komal P, Gudavicius G, Nelson C, Nashmi R (2014) T cell receptor activation decreases excitability of cortical interneurons by inhibiting α7 nicotinic receptors. J Neurosci 34: 22-35.

Dau A*, Komal P*, Truong M, Morris G, Evans G, Nashmi R (2013) RIC-3 differentially modulates α4β2 and α7 nicotinic receptor assembly, expression and nicotine induced receptor upregulation. BMC Neuroscience 14: 47.  Note that * denotes equal contribution by authors.

Brown CE, Sweetnam D, Beange M, Nahirney PC, Nashmi R (2012)  α4* nicotinic acetylcholine receptors modulate experience-based cortical depression in the adult mouse somatosensory cortex.  J Neurosci 32: 1207-1219.

Bailey CD, Alves NC, Nashmi R, De Biasi M, Lambe EK (2012) Nicotinic α5 subunits drive developmental changes in the morphology and function of prefrontal cortex layer VI neurons. Biol Psychiatry 71: 120-128. 

Nashmi R, Xiao C, DeshpandeP, McKinney SL, Grady SR, Whiteaker P, Huang Q, McClure-Begley T, Lindstrom JM, Labarca C, Collins AC, Marks MJ, Lester HA (2007) Chronic nicotine cell specifically up-regulates functional α4* nicotinic receptors:  basis for both tolerance in midbrain and enhanced LTP in perforant path. J Neurosci 27: 8202-8218.