F A C U L T Y   P R O F I L E 


Professor of Pharmacology & Neuroscience

Growth of neuronal processes and formation of synapses during development and learning

Office: Physicians & Surgeons| 7th Floor | Room 517
Telephone: 212.305.1673
Fax: 212.305.8780

Current Research
We are interested in cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the growth of neuronal processes during development and after injury. We have focused on the growth cone, the specialized ending of a growing process whose interactions with environmental cues are critical in regulating the rate and direction of growth. We are seeking to define the intracellular changes within the growth cone caused by certain important cues and the signal transduction mechanisms that elicit those changes. We focus on the actin filament and microtubule systems of the growth cone. We also want to apply this knowledge to the analysis of the synapse formation that occurs during learning in the adult animal. We are examining the morphological events underlying the formation of new synapses and the growth of neuronal arbor associated with certain types of long-term synaptic plasticity, using low light level fluorescence imaging of live cells. We are currently examining the contribution to this growth of changes in protein synthesis and in the delivery of mRNA species to the synapse.

For our experiments, we use both vertebrate and invertebrate neurons studied in culture. Many of our studies involve the use of high resolution video microscopy. In addition, we use biochemical techniques such as gel electrophoresis and blotting detections (Western, Northern), single cell microinjection, and molecular techniques such as antisense depletion of particular proteins.

Selected Publications

1. Grabham P.W., G.E. Seale, M. Bennecib, D.J. Goldberg and R.B. Vallee (2007) Cytoplasmic dynein and Lis1 are required for microtubule advance during growth cone remodeling and fast axonal outgrowth. J. Neurosci. 27:5823-5834.

2. Grabham P.W., F. Wu, S. Schacher and D.J. Goldberg (2005) Initiating morphological changes associated with long-term facilitation in Aplysia is independent of transcription or translation in the cell body. J. Neurobiol. 64:202-212.

3. Grabham, P.W., Reznik, B. and Goldberg, D.J. (2003) Microtubule- and Rac 1-dependent F-actin in growth cones J. Cell Sci 116:3739-48

4. Grabham, P.W., Foley, M., Umeojiako, A. and Goldberg, D.J. (2000) Nerve growth factor stimulates coupling of b1 integrin to distinct transport mechanisms in the filopodia of growth cones. J. Cell Sci 113:3003-3012

5. Hatada, Y., Wu, F., Sun, Z-Y., Schacher, S. and Goldberg, D.J. (2000) Presynaptic morphological changes associated with long-term synaptic facilitation are triggered by actin polymerization at pre-existing varicosities J. Neurosci 20:RC82:1-5


Honors and Awards

Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award
Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching
Distinguished Lecturer of the Year



P&S Fundamentals Faculty Committee
P&S COI Policy Committee of Education and Clinical Care
P&S COI Review Committee of Education and Clinical Care
P&S Faculty Council
AMSNY Committee on Neuroscience