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Senior Investigator

Zayd M. Khaliq, Ph.D.

Cellular Neurophysiology Section

Building 35 Room 3C-1002
35 Convent Drive MSC 3700
Bethesda MD 20892-3700
Office: (301) 451-7221
Lab: (301) 451-7221

Dr. Khaliq received his B.A. in Physics from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Northwestern University in 2006. During his graduate work with Indira Raman, he studied the initiation and propagation of action potentials in cerebellar Purkinje neurons. During his postdoctoral fellowship with Bruce Bean at Harvard Medical School, he studied the ionic mechanisms of firing in dopamine-releasing neurons located in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra. He joined NINDS as an Investigator in 2011. His laboratory is focused on the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of neuronal firing within the midbrain dopamine system.

Dopamine-releasing neurons located in the midbrain play an essential role in movement and reward-based behaviors. Dysfunction of these neurons has been linked to a variety of brain disorders including addiction, schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson's disease. The goal of our research is to understand 1) how voltage-gated ion channels contribute to excitability and action potential firing of dopamine neurons and other neurons that participate in reward circuits, 2) how synaptic inputs interact with intrinsic membrane conductances to produce spiking patterns that are relevant to reward-based learning, 3) and how neuromodulatory inputs influence excitability of these neurons. We address these questions using patch-clamp techniques to record the activity of neurons in brain slices. We combine this approach with imaging, immunohistochemistry and the use of transgenic mice to identify specific populations of neurons within the reward circuit.

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  • Rebekah Evans, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Paul Kramer, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Dana Lewis
    Graduate Student – NIH/GWU GPP

  • Alexander Sukharev, Ph.D.
    Post baccalaureate Fellow

  • Renshu Zhang
    Research Technician

  • 1) Wu J, Kung J, Dong J, Chang L, Xie C, Habib A, Hawes S, Yang N, Chen V, Liu Z, Evans R, Liang B, Sun L, Ding J, Yu J, Saez-Atienzar S, Tang B, Khaliq Z, Lin DT, Le W, Cai H. (2019)
  • Distinct Connectivity and Functionality of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1a1-Positive Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons in Motor Learning
  • Cell Reports, 28 (5), 1167-1181
  • 2) Philippart F, Khaliq ZM (2018)
  • G(i/o) protein-coupled receptors in dopamine neurons inhibit the sodium leak channel NALCN
  • Elife; PMID: 30556810
  • 3) Tarfa RA, Evans RC, Khaliq ZM (2017)
  • Enhanced sensitivity to hyperpolarizing inhibition in mesoaccumbal relative to nigrostriatal dopamine neuron subpopulations
  • Journal of Neuroscience; PMID: 28219982
  • 4) Evans RC, Zhu M, Khaliq ZM (2017)
  • Dopamine inhibition differentially controls excitability of substantia nigra dopamine neurons through T-type calcium channels
  • Journal of Neuroscience; PMID: 28264982
  • 5) Hage TA, Sun Y, Khaliq ZM. (2016)
  • Electrical and Ca(2+) signaling in dendritic spines of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons
  • Elife;. May 10 PubMed PMID: 27163179
  • 6) Aflaki E, Borger DK, Moaven N, Stubblefield BK, Rogers SA, Patnaik S, Schoenen, FJ, Westbroek W, Zheng W, Sullivan P, Fujiwara H, Sidhu R, Khaliq ZM, Lopez GJ, Goldstein DS, Ory DS, Marugan J, Sidransky E (2016)
  • A New Glucocerebrosidase Chaperone Reduces α-Synuclein and Glycolipid Levels in iPSC-Derived Dopaminergic Neurons from Patients with Gaucher Disease and Parkinsonism
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 13;36(28):7441-52
  • 7) Hage TA, Khaliq ZM (2015)
  • Tonic firing rate controls dendritic Ca2+ signaling and synaptic gain in substantia nigra dopamine neurons
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 35(14), 5823-36
  • 8) Kimm T, Khaliq ZM, Bean BP (2015)
  • Differential Regulation of Action Potential Shape and Burst-Frequency Firing by BK and Kv2 Channels in Substantia Nigra Dopaminergic Neurons
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 35(50), 16404-17
  • 9) Khaliq ZM, Bean BP (2010)
  • Pacemaking in dopaminergic ventral tegmental area neurons: depolarizing drive from background and voltage-dependent sodium conductances
  • Journal of Neuroscience , 30(21), 7401-13
  • 10) Khaliq ZM, Bean BP (2008)
  • Dynamic, nonlinear feedback regulation of slow pacemaking by A-type potassium current in ventral tegmental area neurons.
  • Journal of Neuroscience; , 28(43), 10905-17
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