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Catherine Weisz, Ph.D.

Section on Neuronal Circuitry

Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35A Room 3E-450
Convent Drive
MD 20892-3729
Office: (301) 827-9014
Lab: (301) 402-6836

Dr. Weisz received a B.S. degree in Neurobiology from Cornell University, a M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her graduate work involved studies of synaptic inputs and electrical properties of cochlear type II spiral ganglion afferent neurons in the laboratories of Dr. Paul Fuchs and Dr. Elisabeth Glowatzki. Post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Karl Kandler at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine investigated the development of circuits between brainstem neurons involved in sound localization. Dr. Weisz joined the NIDCD in 2015 as Investigator and Acting Chief of the Section on Neuronal Circuitry. Dr. Weisz’s laboratory investigates the synaptic transmission and electrical properties of descending neuronal circuitry in the auditory brainstem and cochlea.

We use mouse models to study synaptic inputs and outputs of brainstem olivocochlear efferent neurons that project to the cochlea. Projects in the lab use the techniques of whole cell patch clamp recordings from auditory neuron somata and dendrites, combined with optogenetics and imaging of neuronal activity. Using these tools we dissect the synaptic inputs to the olivocochlear efferents in the brainstem, to determine how they are activated and modulated. Projects in lab also examine how the activity of the efferent neurons changes after noise trauma, or during disease. Parallel experimentation investigates the complex outputs of olivocochlear efferent neurons in the cochlea, using dendritic recording techniques from spiral ganglion afferent neurons and hair cells, paired with imaging techniques. The in-depth investigation of synaptic circuitry of olivocochlear efferent neurons will give insight into roles that the neurons play in both the healthy and diseased cochlea, and will be used to provide targets for therapeutic manipulation of the efferent system.

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  • Lester Torres, M.S.
    Biologist and Lab Manager

  • 1) Weisz, C.J.C., Givens, R.S., Rubio, M.E., Kandler, K. (2016)
  • Excitation by inter-axonal GABA spillover in a sound localization circuit
  • J. Neurosci (In Press)
  • 2) Sturm, J.J. and Weisz, C.J.C. (2015)
  • Efferent hyperactivity in the medial olivocochlear system is a common feature of tinnitus and hyperacusis in humans
  • J. Neurophys, Neuroforum 2015 Nov, 114(5), 2551-4
  • 3) Weisz, C.J.C., Glowatzki, E., Fuchs, P (2014)
  • Excitability of Type II Cochlear Afferents
  • J. Neurosci. 2014 Feb 5, 34(6), 2365–73
  • 4) Clause, A., Kim, G, Weisz, C.J.C., Rubsamen, R.,Vetter, D., Kandler, K (2014)
  • The precise temporal pattern of pre-hearing spontaneous activity is necessary for tonotopic map refinement
  • Neuron, 2014 May 21, 82(4), 822–835
  • 5) Weisz, C.J.C., Lehar, M., Hiel, H., Glowatzki, E., Fuchs, P.A. (2012)
  • Synaptic Transfer from Outer Hair Cells to Type II Afferent Fibers in the Rat Cochlea
  • J. Neurosci Jul 11, 32(28), 9528-36
  • 6) Weisz, C., Glowatzki, E., Fuchs, P (2009)
  • The postsynaptic Function of Type II Cochlear Afferents
  • Nature 461, 2009 Oct 22, 1126-9
  • 7) Weisz, C.J.C., Raike, R.S., Soria-Jasso, L.E., Hess, E.J. (2005)
  • Potassium channel blockers inhibit the triggers of attacks in the calcium channel mouse mutant tottering
  • J. Neurosci, 2005 April, 25(16), 4141- 4145
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