The neurophysiological laboratory is a recent addition to the Reynolds Oklahoma Center on Aging. The laboratory is led by Dr. Ferenc Deak who received is MD and PhD from Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary in 1994 and 2000, respectively. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at University of Texas - Southwestern in 2008 under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Sudhof, who received a Nobel Prize in 2013 for his work on the synaptic function. Dr. Deák's laboratory is focused on synaptic communication among neurons in the aging brain with an emphasis on molecular regulation of neurotransmission and its defects in dementia. His laboratory combines a large range of techniques from the molecular to the systems level to understand information processing and memory function of the nervous system. This information is synthesized with medical observations regarding the effect of aging on the brain, in general, and specifically Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative diseases. His aim is to assess the underlying pathophysiology and achieve progress in early diagnosis and effective treatment for these devastating diseases.
The specific focus of Dr. Deak's laboratory is the molecular mechanisms of synaptic neurotransmitter release and plasticity, the crucial element for information processing and higher human cognitive functions. He utilizes genetically engineered mouse models to study synaptic changes in the early stages of different neurodegenerative diseases. In addition he uses in vitro models to clarify mechanisms the role of specific genetic mutations in epileptic seizures and dementia. His laboratory has the ability to test small molecular compounds with putative therapeutic effects in these diseases. Specific state-of-the-art methods are used in his laboratory including molecular biology and biochemistry, primary neuronal cultures, extracellular recording from brain slices, fluorescence imaging of synaptic vesicle fusion and endocytosis and electrophysiology. He performs extracellular recording of long-term synaptic plasticity in hippocampal slices and intracellular patch clamp recordings from cultured cells. The scope of his experiments span single quantal release events (miniature synaptic potentials) to the analysis of neuronal network activity. He studies the regulation of short-term synaptic plasticity (synaptic depression and facilitation).
Dr. Deak's Bibliography