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Dr. John Weber

Please note that I will be on sabbatical leave from January through December of 2013, and will not be accepting any new students until January of 2014.

Dr. John Weber

Associate Professor, Cross Appointment to Faculty of Medicine

Phone: 709 777 7022
Office: H3416

  • B.S. Biology/Psychology from Eastern Michigan University
  • M.S. Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Montana
  • Ph.D. Pharmacology and Toxicology from the Medical College of Virginia
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at Erasmus University Rotterdam from 2000-2003
  • Assistant Professor at Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam from 2003-2006

Research description:

My current research program has two major areas of focus. The first area is studying the mechanisms that contribute to altered physiology and pathology associated with the cerebellum, an area of the brain associated with fine motor coordination and motor learning. This line of studies includes behavioral analysis of ataxic mutant mouse models, and the effects of adolescent alcohol exposure on long-term motor function and cell physiology. In addition to behavioral analyses, we measure alterations in calcium signaling in various cells of the cerebellum using fluorescent imaging techniques in cerebellar slices derived from rats or mice. We also plan to conduct electrophysiology measurements in cerebellar cells primarily using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique.

My second major area of research involves the study of agents that can protect the brain from traumatic insults and the aging process, particularly substances derived from natural products (e.g. species of berries native to Newfoundland and Labrador; oxyresveratrol). In this line of research I primarily utilize cell cultures from various brain regions and analyze biomarkers associated with neurodegenerative diseases as cells age, or after they are injured with in vitro models that produce mechanical strain, meant to mimic traumatic brain injury. I am particularly interested in the potential of repetitive mild injury to lead to the development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Keywords: calcium; drug discovery; ethanol; excitotoxicity; neuropharmacology; neurophysiology; trauma.

Courses taught:

  • Medicine 4300-Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy 3009-Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy 6004-Principles of General Pharmacology (graduate)
  • Integrated study of disease II-Neurology/Neuroscience (Medical students)
  • Medicine 6196-Systems Neuroscience (graduate)
  • Medicine 6197-Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (graduate)

Current lab members:

  • Swetha Kalidindi (M.S. student-Pharmacy)
  • Matthew Lamont (M.S. student-Neuroscience)
  • Lyudmila Chibrikova (undergraduate SWASP student)
  • Sinikka Okkola (Research Assistant)

  • (L-R) Sinikka Okkola (Research Assistant), Swetha Kalidindi (M.S. student-Pharmacy), Emily Shea (Honours student-Biochemistry), Lyudmila Chibrikova (undergraduate SWASP student), Matthew Lamont (M.S. student-Neuroscience). 

Professional Affiliations:

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • The Histochemical Society
  • International Society for Neurochemistry
  • American Society of Pharmacognosy
  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

Selected recent publications:

Weber JT, Lamont M, Chibrikova L, Vlug AS, Fekkes, D, Lorenz P, Kreutzmann P and Slemmer JE. (2012) Potential protective effects of oxyresveratrol against traumatic injury. European Journal of Pharmacology. 680: 55–62.

Lamont M and Weber JT. (2012) The role of calcium in synaptic plasticity and motor learning in the cerebellar cortex. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 36(4):1153-1162.

Weber JT. (2012) Altered calcium signaling following traumatic brain injury. Front Pharmacol. 3:60. doi:10.3389/fphar.2012.00060.

Belmeguenai, A, Carta M, Weber JT, Botta P, DeRuiter, M, De Zeeuw CI, Valenzuela CF and Hansel C. (2008) Alcohol impairs long-term depression at the cerebellar parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapse. J. Neurophysiol. 100: 3167-3174.

Slemmer JE, Ardeshiri A, Ardeshiri A, Zhu C, Landshamer S, Wagner E, Blomgren K, Sweeney MI, Culmsee C, Weber JT and Plesnila N. (2008) Causal role of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) for neuronal cell death following traumatic injury. Am. J. Pathol. 173: 1795-1805.

Slemmer JE, Shacka JJ, Sweeney MI and Weber JT. (2008) Antioxidants and free radical scavengers for the treatment of stroke, traumatic brain injury and aging. Current Medicinal Chemistry [invited review]. 15: 404-414.

Slemmer JE, Haasdijk ED, Engel DC, Plesnila N and Weber JT. (2007) Aldolase C-positive cerebellar Purkinje cells are resistant to delayed death after cerebral trauma and AMPA-mediated excitotoxicity. Eur. J. Neurosci. 26: 649-656.

Yuan Q, Qiu, DL, Weber JT, Hansel C and Knöpfel T. (2007) Climbing fiber-triggered metabotropic slow potentials enhance dendritic calcium transients and simple spike firing in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Mol. Cell. Neurosci., 596-603.

Recent conference poster presentations:

Chibrikova, L, Kelly E, Shea E, Hossain MZ and Weber JT. Berry extracts protect cortical cells from mechanically induced trauma. To be presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, October, 2012.

Lamont M and Weber JT. Altered calcium dynamics in the cerebellar granule cell layer of ataxic mutant mice. To be presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, October, 2012.

Hewitt S, Orr C, Chibrikova L, Fisher S and Weber JT. Analyzing the potential neuroprotective effects of antioxidants. Presented at the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences symposium in Toronto, June, 2012.

Weber JT, Forbes A, Cooze J, Roome B, Corbett L, Malone C, French V and Trask R. (2010) Comparison of the effects of various paradigms of adolescent ethanol exposure on long-term motor function. Soc. Neurosci. Abst. Program No. 267.1.

Hamodat S, Trask R, Hossain MZ and Weber JT. Analyzing the potential neuroprotective effects of native Newfoundland and Labrador berries. Presented at the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences symposium in Vancouver, June, 2010.

Hossain MZ, Musteata FM, Daneshtalab M and Weber JT. Chemical analysis of native Newfoundland berries. Presented at the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 2009.

Weber JT, Cooze J, Forbes A, French V. Effects of adolescent ethanol exposure on Purkinje cell viability. Presented at the Experimental Biology Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2009.

Forbes A, Malone C, Cooze J and Weber JT. Effects of adolescent ethanol exposure on long-term motor function. Presented at the 25th International Summer School of Brain Research in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. August 2008.