Jay M. Baraban, M.D., Ph.D.

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Jay M. Baraban, M.D., Ph.D.

Joined the Scientific Council in 2001

Professor, Departments of Neuroscience
and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

To Dr. Baraban, one of the most fascinating questions facing neuroscience is how the nervous system continuously adapts to changes in the environment by learning new associations and ignoring old ones that are no longer valid. At the molecular level, this plasticity of the nervous system is mediated by signaling pathways that regulate neuronal morphology, the form and structure of nerve cells; and synaptic efficacy, the ease of communication between neurons. Defects in these processes underlie a wide range of psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Baraban and his team are studying the signaling pathways that mediate neuronal plasticity. Among the subjects under investigation are: a protein that triggers rapid changes in dendritic morphology (dendrites are messagecarrying extensions from neurons); a pair of proteins that target messenger RNAs, bearers of the genetic message, to the vicinity of synapses; and a gene that regulates appetitive responses to opiates. Dr. Baraban joined Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Solomon Snyder’s laboratory.

NARSAD Grants: Independent Investigator 1997