Bio-X Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Maciver's laboratory investigate the cellular, synaptic and molecular mechanisms of action of central nervous system drugs; especially barbiturates, opiates, anesthetics and abused inhalants, as well as experimental drugs.  At a systems level, the lab studies humans with behavioral measures, EEG, intracranial and depth electrodes to record brain responses to drugs.  At the synaptic and molecular levels, the mechanisms of action for CNS depressants are studied using electrophysiological recording techniques and selective pharmacological probes to enhance or inhibit specific neurotransmitter circuits. Most of the lab's synaptic level studies use brain slices from rodents to record small membrane currents and drug effects on synapses.  Neuronal circuit functions are studied using both freely-moving rodents or brain slice preparations.  Many drugs appear to act through a combination of pre- and post-synaptic actions on glutamate and GABA mediated neurotransmission.  These effects could explain drug actions causing memory loss (amnesia), altered cognitive function and loss of consciousness.