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  2. John Larson

John Larson PhD

John Larson
  • Associate Professor of Physiology in Psychiatry
Contact Information
  • jrlarson [at]
  • (312) 413-4572
  • Room #:529

John Larson is Associate Professor of Physiology in Psychiatry and Director of Graduate Studies for the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. He received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the University of California, Irvine. His research interests are in understanding the role of synaptic plasticity mechanisms in learning and memory formation. Dr. Larson studies mouse models for diseases affecting learning and memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders. Of particular interest is the neurobiology of Fragile X Syndrome, a monogenetic disorder that is the most common inherited intellectual disability and the most common known cause of autism. Dr. Larson is also interested in the synaptic and cellular mechanisms responsible for neuronal damage after oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) as occurs in stroke.

  • psychiatry

    Cellular and molecular mechanisms for learning and memory; Olfaction (smell); Autism; Fragile X syndrome; Alzheimer’s disease; Comparative neurobiology

  • Cortical synaptic function and memory in mouse models for autism

  • Neurobiology of the naked mole-rat

  • Regulation of neuronal gene expression in learning

  • Synaptic plasticity and neuronal function in mouse models for Alzheimer’s disease

  • Olfactory learning and memory in mice

  • Aging and memory function in mice

  • Mechanisms for hypoxia tolerance in mammalian nervous system.

  • Smalheiser, N.R., Lugli, G., Thimmapuram, J., Cook, E.H., & Larson, J., Endogenous siRNAs and noncoding RNA-derived small RNAs are expressed in adult mouse hippocampus and are up-regulated in olfactory discrimination training. RNA (in press).

    Hu, Y.-S., Xu, P., Pigino, G., Brady, S.T., Larson, J., & Lazarov, O. Complex environment experience rescues impaired neurogenesis, enhances synaptic plasticity, and attenuates neuropathology in Familial Alzheimer’s Disease-linked APPswe/PS1E9 mice. FASEB Journal, 24 (2010) 1667-1681.

    Smalheiser, N.R., Lugli, G., Lenon, A., Davis, J.M., Torvik, V.I., & Larson, J. Olfactory discrimination training up-regulates and reorganizes expression of microRNAs in adult mouse hippocampus. ASN Neuro, 2(1): e00028 (PMCID: PMC2832745).

    Larson, J. & Park, T.J. Extreme hypoxia tolerance of naked mole-rat brain. NeuroReport, 20 (2009) 1634-1637 (PMID: 19907351).

    Patel, R.C. & Larson, J. Impaired olfactory discrimination learning and decreased olfactory sensitivity in aged C57Bl/6 mice. Neurobiology of Aging, 30 (2009) 829-837 (PMID: 17904696).

    Larson, J., Kim, D., Patel, R.C., & Floreani, C. Olfactory discrimination learning in mice lacking the fragile X mental retardation protein. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 90 (2008) 90-102 (PMCID: PMC2493566).

    Lazarov, O. & Larson, J. Environmental enrichment: from mouse AD model to AD therapy.  In: M.-K Sun (Ed.), Research Progress in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia (Vol. 3), New York: Nova (2008) pp. 303-328.

    Larson, J. Jessen, R.E., Kim, D., Fine, A.-K.S., & J. du Hoffmann. Age-dependent and selective impairment of LTP in anterior piriform cortex of mice lacking the fragile X mental retardation protein. Journal of Neuroscience, 25 (2005) 9460-9469 (PMID: 16221856).

    Larson, J. & Sieprawska, D. Automated study of simultaneous-cue olfactory discrimination learning in adult mice. Behavioral Neuroscience, 116 (2002) 588-599 (PMID: 12148926).

    Larson, J., Lynch, G., Games, D., & Seubert, P. Alterations in synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices from young and aged PDAPP mice. Brain Research, 840 (1999) 23-35 (PMID: 10517949).

Title Description Investigator(s) Category Status
Exercise Training and Protection from Hypoxic Brain Damage Stroke is one of the leading causes of both mortality and adult-acquired disability worldwide.  The loss of blood supply (ischemia) to the brain induces a rapid cascade of cellular reactions to loss of energy (ATP) production that causes neuronal death within minutes. Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Laboratory On-going
Neurobiology of the Naked Mole-Rat Naked mole-rats have an unusual lifestyle in that they combine a fully subterranean existence, extreme sociality, and a proclivity for living in large numbers. Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Laboratory On-going
Prenatal SSRI exposure on cognition & synaptic plasticity in autism mouse models This project aims to test whether prenatal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) exposure in a syndromic (monogenic) mouse model (Fmr1-KO) and idiopathic (polygenic) mouse model (BTBR) of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exacerbates existing cognitive and synaptic plasticity phenotypes or produces new ASD-related cognitive impairments and synaptic alterations.  Specific Aim 1 will determ Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Laboratory On-going