Alan Grinnell

Alan Grinnell

(310) 825-7870

Los Angeles, CA 90095 Dept. of Physiology,
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Office Phone Number:


Distinguished Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology
Professor, Physiology
Associate Dean, Life Sciences
Member, Brain Research Institute, Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area

Research Interests

Specific Preparations and On-going Projects: a. Using Xenopus nerve-muscle cell cultures, we are studying the properties of synapses. Patch electrode recordings can be made simultaneously from presynaptic varicosities and postsynaptic muscle cells, while reagents can be introduced intracellularly through another electrode on the neuronal cell body. This allows correlation of ionic currents with transmitter release and modulation of release, and analysis of molecular mechanisms of release. Current interest centers on characterizing the calcium domains that occur at synaptic active zones when depolarization opens calcium channels, triggering release. b. Using mature frog neuromuscular preparations, we are studying the mechanisms of regulation of transmitter release efficacy by muscle stretch and hyperosmolarity. Both involve presynaptic integrins, tension on which increases either intraterminal calcium or sensitivity to calcium. c. Another project is aimed at understanding the destabilization of ACh receptors in denervated endplates as a nerve reinnervates part of the junction. In addition, I have a long-standing interest in the echolocation capabilities of bats and neural correlates of echolocation.


Dr. Grinnell received his B.A. in 1958 and his PhD in 1962, both from Harvard. He did postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Prof. Bernard Katz, University College London (1962-64) and with Prof. T. H. Bullock, UCLA, (1964-65). He was appointed an Assitant Prof. of Biology at UCLA in 1964, Assoc. Prof. in 1966, and Full Prof. in 1971. Since 1972 he has been a Prof. in the Dept. of Physiology. In 1977 he was named Head of the Ahmanson Laboratory of Neurobiology in the BRI, and from 1978-2002 was Director of the Jerry Lewis Neuromuscular Research Center. IN 1997 he joined the Dept. of Physiological Science and chaired that department until 2001. Since 1990, he has been a Researtch Associate of the Fowler Museum of Cultural History.



A selected list of publications: