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    Last Name

    Gilles E Martin PhD

    TitleAssistant Professor
    InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
    AddressUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
    303 Belmont Street
    Worcester MA 01605
      Other Positions
      InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine

      InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences



        1988 Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France) B.A., Neurophysiology
        1989 Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France) M.A., Neurobiology
        1993 Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France) Ph.D., Neurobiology


        1993 – 1995Postdoctoral Research Associate
        The Max-Planck Institute, Munich, Germany

        1995 – 2001Postdoctoral Research Associate
        Department of Neuropharmacology
        The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, CA

        2001-presentResearch Assistant Professor
        Department of Psychiatry
        The Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute
        University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

        The hallmark of all drugs of abuse, including alcohol, is their powerful addictive properties that linger for years after the last drug intake. It has been proposed that addiction and relapse may both result from altered mnemonic processes. At the cellular level, the most studied forms of memory formation are long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD). Unfortunately, very little is known about how alcohol controls LTP and LTD. In our laboratory, we study a slightly different form of synaptic plasticity called Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) which presents the advantage of being elicited under more physiological conditions.

        Drugs of abuse and memory

        Our main focus is to understand how drugs of abuse alter the way dendritic arborization process electrical signals. Our approach is twofold. First, we examine the molecular and cellular underpinnings of memory formation at synaptic level in medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens, a key brain region of the drug reward pathway. Second, we seek to better understand the effects of alcohol and opiates on these cellular mechanisms. Of particular interest is the role of specific electrical events in shaping synaptic plasticity, and their sensitivity to alcohol and opiates. These events are backpropagating action potentials (action potentials generated at the soma that invade retrogradely the dendritic arborization) and excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSPs).

        Techniques employed

        Our technical expertise lies primarily in our ability to use several electrophysiological patch-clamp techniques to record various electrical events, ranging from single channel activity to action potentials from primary cell cultures, isolated neurons and fresh brain slices.

        selected publications
        List All   |   Timeline
        1. Zhao-Shea R, DeGroot SR, Liu L, Vallaster M, Pang X, Su Q, Gao G, Rando OJ, Martin GE, George O, Gardner PD, Tapper AR. Increased CRF signalling in a ventral tegmental area-interpeduncular nucleus-medial habenula circuit induces anxiety during nicotine withdrawal. Nat Commun. 2015 Apr 21; 6:6770.
          View in: PubMed
        2. Dopico AM, Bukiya AN, Martin GE. Ethanol modulation of mammalian BK channels in excitable tissues: molecular targets and their possible contribution to alcohol-induced altered behavior. Front Physiol. 2014; 5:466.
          View in: PubMed
        3. Ji X, Martin GE. BK channels mediate dopamine inhibition of firing in a subpopulation of core nucleus accumbens medium spiny neurons. Brain Res. 2014 Nov 7; 1588:1-16.
          View in: PubMed
        4. Velázquez-Marrero C, Seale GE, Treistman SN, Martin GE. Large conductance voltage- and Ca2+-gated potassium (BK) channel ß4 subunit influences sensitivity and tolerance to alcohol by altering its response to kinases. J Biol Chem. 2014 Oct 17; 289(42):29261-72.
          View in: PubMed
        5. Ji X, Martin GE. New rules governing synaptic plasticity in core nucleus accumbens medium spiny neurons. Eur J Neurosci. 2012 Dec; 36(12):3615-27.
          View in: PubMed
        6. Jiang Y, Jakovcevski M, Bharadwaj R, Connor C, Schroeder FA, Lin CL, Straubhaar J, Martin G, Akbarian S. Setdb1 histone methyltransferase regulates mood-related behaviors and expression of the NMDA receptor subunit NR2B. J Neurosci. 2010 May 26; 30(21):7152-67.
          View in: PubMed
        7. Martin GE. BK channel and alcohol, a complicated affair. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2010; 91:321-38.
          View in: PubMed
        8. Treistman SN, Martin GE. BK Channels: mediators and models for alcohol tolerance. Trends Neurosci. 2009 Dec; 32(12):629-37.
          View in: PubMed
        9. Mulholland PJ, Hopf FW, Bukiya AN, Martin GE, Liu J, Dopico AM, Bonci A, Treistman SN, Chandler LJ. Sizing up ethanol-induced plasticity: the role of small and large conductance calcium-activated potassium channels. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Jul; 33(7):1125-35.
          View in: PubMed
        10. Martin GE, Hendrickson LM, Penta KL, Friesen RM, Pietrzykowski AZ, Tapper AR, Treistman SN. Identification of a BK channel auxiliary protein controlling molecular and behavioral tolerance to alcohol. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 11; 105(45):17543-8.
          View in: PubMed
        11. Pietrzykowski AZ, Friesen RM, Martin GE, Puig SI, Nowak CL, Wynne PM, Siegelmann HT, Treistman SN. Posttranscriptional regulation of BK channel splice variant stability by miR-9 underlies neuroadaptation to alcohol. Neuron. 2008 Jul 31; 59(2):274-87.
          View in: PubMed
        12. Martin G, O'Connell RJ, Pietrzykowski AZ, Treistman SN, Ethier MF, Madison JM. Interleukin-4 activates large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium (BKCa) channels in human airway smooth muscle cells. Exp Physiol. 2008 Jul; 93(7):908-18.
          View in: PubMed
        13. Kennedy NJ, Martin G, Ehrhardt AG, Cavanagh-Kyros J, Kuan CY, Rakic P, Flavell RA, Treistman SN, Davis RJ. Requirement of JIP scaffold proteins for NMDA-mediated signal transduction. Genes Dev. 2007 Sep 15; 21(18):2336-46.
          View in: PubMed
        14. Levine JB, Morrow EM, Berdichevsky Y, Martin GE. BKca channel in autism and mental retardation. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Jun; 164(6):977-8; author reply 978-9.
          View in: PubMed
        15. Pietrzykowski AZ, Martin GE, Puig SI, Knott TK, Lemos JR, Treistman SN. Alcohol tolerance in large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium channels of CNS terminals is intrinsic and includes two components: decreased ethanol potentiation and decreased channel density. J Neurosci. 2004 Sep 22; 24(38):8322-32.
          View in: PubMed
        16. Martin G, Puig S, Pietrzykowski A, Zadek P, Emery P, Treistman S. Somatic localization of a specific large-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel subtype controls compartmentalized ethanol sensitivity in the nucleus accumbens. J Neurosci. 2004 Jul 21; 24(29):6563-72.
          View in: PubMed
        17. Martin G, Guadaño-Ferraz A, Morte B, Ahmed S, Koob GF, De Lecea L, Siggins GR. Chronic morphine treatment alters N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in freshly isolated neurons from nucleus accumbens. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 Oct; 311(1):265-73.
          View in: PubMed
        18. Levine JB, Martin G, Wilson A, Treistman SN. Clozapine inhibits isolated N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors expressed in xenopus oocytes in a subunit specific manner. Neurosci Lett. 2003 Aug 7; 346(3):125-8.
          View in: PubMed
        19. Martin G, Siggins GR. Electrophysiological evidence for expression of glycine receptors in freshly isolated neurons from nucleus accumbens. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2002 Sep; 302(3):1135-45.
          View in: PubMed
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