Our ability to learn and remember information about our environment is thought to be underpinned by the process of synaptic plasticity. This means that during learning episodes, synapses are stimulated by specific patterns of activity and exposed to neuromodulators that lead to the induction of synaptic plasticity. Subsequently, plasticity is expressed either by the insertion or removal of postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptors or by changes in the amount of neurotransmitter released from the presynaptic terminal.
Research in our laboratory is focused on what regulates the induction of synaptic plasticity and the mechanisms underlying its expression. Currently we are studying,
1) The role of the neuromodulator acetylcholine in the hippocampus.
2) The patterns of activity that induce synaptic plasticity.
3) The regulation of neuronal excitability and the effect this has on the induction of synaptic plasticity.
4) The mechanisms underlying postsynaptic glutamate receptor trafficking.
This work is mainly performed using electrophysiological recordings from neurones in brain.
Please see also: http://www.bris.ac.uk/synaptic/people/66711/overview.html
5 Selected Publications
Chamberlain SEL., Sadowski JHL., Ruivo LMT., Atherton LA., Mellor JR. (2013) Long-term depression of synaptic kainate receptors reduces excitability by relieving inhibition of the slow afterhyperpolarization. J. Neurosci., 33 (22) : 9536-45.
Chamberlain SEL., González-González IM., Wilkinson KA., Konopacki FA., Kantamneni S., Henley JM., Mellor JR. (2012) SUMOylation and phosphorylation of GluK2 regulate kainate receptor trafficking and synaptic plasticity. Nat. Neurosci.,15 (6) : 845-52.
Buchanan K., Petrovic M., Chamberlain S., Marrion N., and Mellor J. (2010) Facilitation of long-term potentiation by muscarinic M1 receptors is mediated by inhibition of SK channels. Neuron., 68 (5) : 948-63.
Isaac J., Buchanan K., Muller R., and Mellor J. (2009) Hippocampal place cell firing patterns can induce long-term synaptic plasticity in vitro. J Neurosci., 29 (21) : 6840-50.
Martin S., Nishimune A., Mellor J., and Henley J. (2007) SUMOylation regulates kainate-receptor-mediated synaptic transmission. Nature, 447 (7142) : 321-5.
Awards, Fellowships and Honours
2014 Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award (until 2019)
2004 MRC research Fellow (until 2009)
1999 Wellcome Trust research Fellow (until 2004)