Positions

Overview

  • Our laboratory has two major research interests: hippocampus-dependent memory formation and primary cilia. “Memory is the glue that holds our mental life together” (Kandel et al., 2014). Aberrant “glue” affects our cognitive capacities and causes many cognitive dysfunction-related disorders, including dementia, amnesia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and major depressive disorder (MDD). Elucidating the mechanisms underlying learning, declarative memory formation and retention is needed not only to understand how we acquire and retain experiences, skills, and knowledge, but also to develop mechanism-based therapies to combat these cognitive dysfunction-related disorders. Primary cilia are centriole-derived “cellular antennae” that function to detect numerous signals ranging from photons and odorants to neurotransmitters, hormones, and morphogens, and thus regulate a variety of physiological functions including sensation, cognition, energy balance, and development. Human diseases caused by malfunctions in primary cilia include developmental disorders, polycystic kidney disease, obesity, neurodegeneration, and cognitive impairment. In the central nervous system, both neurons and astrocytes possess a single primary cilium, but their cilia exhibit a dichotomy. Primary cilia in the brain are generally under-studied, and it remains to be elucidated how neuronal primary cilia modulate neuronal function and affect learning and declarative memory formation. The first goal of my research is to determine how neuronal signal, particularly ciliary cAMP signaling, affects neuronal excitability and modulates hippocampus-dependent memory formation. The second goal is to understand how neuronal and astrocytic primary cilia sense changes in the brain and modulate neural function in health and disease conditions. My long-term vision is to build bridges between fundamental research in neuroscience and translational research, facilitating the development of novel therapies to treat cognitive dysfunction-related disorders. My vision also includes increasing efforts to train the next generation of neuroscientists and bio-technologists, and to foster the growth of pre-health sciences majors.

    Research Interests: Primary Cilia, Learning, Hippocampus-Dependent Memory Formation, Cognitive Dysfunction-Related Disorders, Adenylyl Cyclases

    Research Approaches: molecular biology, biochemical analysis, cellular imaging, behavioral analysis, patch-clamp electrophysiology and field recording, EEG/EMG recording, in vivo deep-brain fiber-optic calcium imaging in freely behaving mice and optogenetics, pharmacological tools, viral vector delivery and transgenic animal models

    Lab Members: Yuxin Zhou, Matthew Strobel, Ashley Sterpka, Juan Yang, Liyan Qiu, Eleanor Braun, Angela Martell, Kostandina (Dina) Bicja, Brendon Lewis, Connor Pauplis, and Holly Farrell

    Funding: Our research is funded by National Institutes of Health Grants R21MH105746, K01AG054729, and P20GM113131, Cole Neuroscience and Behavioral Faculty Research Awards, UNH teaching assistantships and Summer TA Fellowships, and awards from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research.

    Research Highlight: UNH Researchers Find Synchronization of Memory Cells Critical For Learning and Forming Memories. https://neurosciencenews.com/memory-learning-cell-synchronization-15649/
    https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1096/fj.201902274R
  • Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title
    2020 Acid-Sensing Ion Channels Contribute to Type III Adenylyl Cyclase-Independent Acid Sensing of Mouse Olfactory Sensory Neurons.Molecular Neurobiology.  57:3042-3056. 2020
    2020 Diverged morphology changes of astrocytic and neuronal primary cilia under reactive insults.Molecular Brain.  13:28. 2020
    2020 Induction of activity synchronization among primed hippocampal neurons out of random dynamics is key for trace memory formation and retrieval.FASEB Journal.  34:3658-3676. 2020
    2019 Comparative Phosphoproteomic Profiling of Type III Adenylyl Cyclase Knockout and Control, Male, and Female Mice.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.  13:34. 2019
    2016 Ablation of Type III Adenylyl Cyclase in Mice Causes Reduced Neuronal Activity, Altered Sleep Pattern, and Depression-like Phenotypes.Biological Psychiatry.  80:836-848. 2016
    2016 Disruption of type 3 adenylyl cyclase expression in the hypothalamus leads to obesity.Integr Obes Diabetes.  2:225-228. 2016
    2015 An Olfactory Cilia Pattern in the Mammalian Nose Ensures High Sensitivity to Odors.Current Biology.  25:2503-2512. 2015
    2015 Overexpression of the type 1 adenylyl cyclase in the forebrain leads to deficits of behavioral inhibition.Journal of Neuroscience.  35:339-351. 2015
    2015 The type 3 adenylyl cyclase is required for the survival and maturation of newly generated granule cells in the olfactory bulb.PLoS ONE.  10:e0122057. 2015
    2014 Genetic disruption of the core circadian clock impairs hippocampus-dependent memory.Learning and Memory.  21:417-423. 2014
    2013 Isoflurane regulates atypical type-A γ-aminobutyric acid receptors in alveolar type II epithelial cells.Anesthesiology.  118:1065-1075. 2013
    2013 Electroolfactogram (EOG) Recording in the Mouse Main Olfactory EpitheliumBio-protocol.  3. 2013
    2012 Stimulation of electro-olfactogram responses in the main olfactory epithelia by airflow depends on the type 3 adenylyl cyclase.Journal of Neuroscience.  32:15769-15778. 2012
    2011 An anti-coagulation agent Futhan preferentially targets GABAA receptors in lungepithelia: implication in treating asthmaInternational journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology.  3:249-249. 2011
    2011 Functional modifications of acid-sensing ion channels by ligand-gated chloride channels.PLoS ONE.  6:e21970. 2011
    2010 Design and screening of ASIC inhibitors based on aromatic diamidines for combating neurological disorders.Behavioural Processes European Journal of Pharmacology European Journal of Pharmacology - Molecular Pharmacology Section.  648:15-23. 2010
    2010 The modulation of TRPM7 currents by nafamostat mesilate depends directly upon extracellular concentrations of divalent cations.Molecular Brain.  3:38. 2010
    2010 Diarylamidines: high potency inhibitors of acid-sensing ion channels.Neuropharmacology.  58:1045-1053. 2010
    2009 Platelet-derived growth factor selectively inhibits NR2B-containing N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in CA1 hippocampal neurons.Journal of Biological Chemistry.  284:8054-8063. 2009
    2008 Candidate amino acids involved in H+ gating of acid-sensing ion channel 1a.Journal of Biological Chemistry.  283:572-581. 2008
    2007 Zebrafish acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) 4, characterization of homo- and heteromeric channels, and identification of regions important for activation by H+.Journal of Biological Chemistry.  282:30406-30413. 2007
    2007 Permeating protons contribute to tachyphylaxis of the acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) 1a.Journal of Physiology.  579:657-670. 2007
    2006 Strong modulation by RFamide neuropeptides of the ASIC1b/3 heteromer in competition with extracellular calcium.Neuropharmacology.  50:964-974. 2006
    2006 Interaction of acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) 1 with the tarantula toxin psalmotoxin 1 is state dependent.Journal of General Physiology.  127:267-276. 2006
    2005 The tarantula toxin psalmotoxin 1 inhibits acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) 1a by increasing its apparent H+ affinity.Journal of General Physiology.  126:71-79. 2005
    Induction of Activity Synchronization among Primed Hippocampal Neurons out of Random Dynamics is Key for Trace Memory Formation and RetrievalFASEB Journal.  in press.

    Teaching Activities

  • Doctoral Thesis Taught course 2020
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2020
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2020
  • Senior Honors Thesis Taught course 2020
  • Doctoral Thesis Taught course 2019
  • Hon/Principles of Biol I Lab Taught course 2019
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2019
  • Intro to Research in Life Sci Taught course 2019
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2019
  • Doctoral Thesis Taught course 2019
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2019
  • Senior Honors Thesis Taught course 2019
  • Doctoral Thesis Taught course 2018
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2018
  • Senior Honors Thesis Taught course 2018
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2018
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2018
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2018
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2018
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2018
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2017
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2017
  • Honors/Intro Biol:Mol/Cellular Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Pharmacology Taught course 2017
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2017
  • Honors Senior Thesis Taught course 2016
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2016
  • Rsrch Exp/MCBS Taught course 2016
  • Education And Training

  • B.S. Biology, Nanchang University
  • M.S. Genetics, Fudan University
  • Ph.D. Physiology, University of Tuebingen
  • Full Name

  • Xuanmao Chen