Dr Andrew Penn

Dr Andrew Penn

Research Fellow (Neuroscience)

Telephone: 01273 877049
Email: a.c.penn@sussex.ac.uk

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Andrew Penn

Glutamate receptors and excitatory synaptic transmission in health and disease

The theme of our research is understanding the role of glutamate receptor ion channels and excitatory synaptic transmission in health and disease. Specific questions include:

  • How do human genetic mutations in glutamate receptor complexes modify excitatory synaptic transmission and cause disease?
  • What factors govern the stability of glutamate receptors during excitatory synaptic plasticity?
  • How methods can be developed to improve measurements of the spatiotemporal activity of excitatory synapses?

Depending on the question we use a range of techniques including computational modelling, tissue culture, patch-clamp electrophysiology and imaging. Projects will be adapted to suit individual background and preferences of the student.

  • We also have a collaborative SN PhD project available between the labs of Dr Andy Penn and Dr James Stone (Brighton and Sussex Medical School). The project will investigate whether properties of NMDA receptors and synaptic transmission in patient iPSC-derived neurons are associated with response to ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. Laboratory techniques could include cell culture, electrophysiology, pharmacology and brain imaging.

Key references

  • M. Elmasri, D. Hunter, G. Winchester, E. Bates, W. Aziz, D. Moolenaar Van Der Does, E. Karachaliou, K. Sakimura, A.C. Penn (2022) Common synaptic phenotypes arising from diverse mutations in the human NMDA receptor subunit GluN2A. Communications Biology. In press. (bioRxiv version: doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.06.240010)
  • Penn AC, Zhang CL, Georges F, Royer L, Breillat C, Hosy E, Petersen JD, Humeau Y, Choquet D.(2017) Hippocampal LTP and contextual learning require surface diffusion of AMPA receptors. Nature. 549(7672):384-388
  • Hafner AS, Penn AC, Grillo-Bosch D, Retailleau N, Poujol C, Philippat A, Coussen F, Sainlos M, Opazo P, Choquet D. (2015) Lengthening of the Stargazin Cytoplasmic Tail Increases Synaptic Transmission by Promoting Interaction to Deeper Domains of PSD-95. Neuron. 86(2):475-89
  • Constals A, Penn AC, Compans B, Toulmé E, Phillipat A, Marais S, Retailleau N, Hafner AS, Coussen F, Hosy E, Choquet D. (2015) Glutamate-induced AMPA receptor desensitization increases their mobility and modulates short-term plasticity through unbinding from Stargazin. Neuron. 85(4):787-803.

Visit the Penn Lab pages for more details and a full list of publications.

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