Felix Erich Schweizer
Professor, Neurobiology, University of California Los Angeles
650 Charles E Young Dr South
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Office Phone Number:
Director, Neuroscience GPB Home Area
Collaborator, Vestibular Neuroscience Laboratory
Member, Brain Research Institute, Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area
The basic function of the brain is to obtain information about the environment and to produce an appropriate response. Neurons are specialized cells that are performing much of this task. Neurons communicate with each other through specialized contact sites called synapses. Neurons can change the characteristics of these synapses. For example, a signal receiving neuron can respond to the same signal weakly or strongly. Such changes in strength are referred to as synaptic plasticity and appear to be one of the fundamental principles that allows the brain to work. Our laboratory investigates the dynamic molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity.
Felix E. Schweizer was born in Basel, Switzerland and conducted his graduate research in the laboratory of Prof. Max M. Burger under the direction of Dr. Theo Schafer. He received his PhD degree in biochemistry summa cum laude from the University of Basel in 1989. From 1990 to 1994, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University in the laboratory of Prof. Richard W. Tsien. From 1994 to 1998, he was postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University in the laboratory of Professor George J. Augustine. Dr. Schweizer joined the Department of Neurobiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1998 as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. Dr. Schweizer’s research interests concern the molecular mechanisms by which neurons communicate, the regulation of communication by neurons and how alterations in neuronal communication might contribute to neuronal diseases. The Schweizer laboratory uses electrophysiological and optical tools to investigate the dynamic molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of neurotransmitter release. We are particularly interested in the role of protein ubiquitination in regulating neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. In collaboration with Dr. James Wohlschlegel, we used multiplexed SILAC and identified synaptic proteins that are dynamically regulated. More recently, in collaboration with Dr. David Krantz, we are using pesticides linked to neuro-degenerative disorders as unbiased tools identify novel pathways that might be involved in early signs of degeneration. In addition, we are characterizing transmission at the first synapse of the vestibular system, i.e. between utricular sensory hair cells and primary afferent neurons. In collaboration with Dr. Larry Hoffman we are finding that changing the gravitational load alters synaptic structures. We are now using serial EM and EM tomography in addition to physiology and cell biology to define in more detail the transfer function between head-movement input and afferent nerve-firing output.
- Harrigan J, Brambila DF, Meera P, Krantz DE, Schweizer FE. The environmental toxicant ziram enhances neurotransmitter release and increases neuronal excitability via the EAG family of potassium channels.. Neurobiology of disease, 2020.
- Jenna Harrigan, Daisy F Brambila, Pratap Meera, David E Krantz, Felix E Schweizer . The environmental toxicant ziram enhances neurotransmitter release and increases neuronal excitability via the EAG family of potassium channels. Neurobiology of Disease, 2020.
- Sultemeier DR, Choy KR, Schweizer FE, Hoffman LF. Spaceflight-induced synaptic modifications within hair cells of the mammalian utricle.. Journal of neurophysiology, 2017.
- Tay A, Schweizer FE, Di Carlo D. Micro- and nano-technologies to probe the mechano-biology of the brain.. Lab on a chip, 2016.
- Yin JX, Maalouf M, Han P, Zhao M, Gao M, Dharshaun T, Ryan C, Whitelegge J, Wu J, Eisenberg D, Reiman EM, Schweizer FE, Shi J. Ketones block amyloid entry and improve cognition in an Alzheimer's model.. Neurobiology of aging, 2015.
- Martin CA, Myers KM, Chen A, Martin NT, Barajas A, Schweizer FE, Krantz DE. Ziram, a pesticide associated with increased risk for Parkinson's disease, differentially affects the presynaptic function of aminergic and glutamatergic nerve terminals at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction.. Experimental neurology, 2015.
- Kunze A, Tseng P, Godzich C, Murray C, Caputo A, Schweizer FE, Di Carlo D. Engineering cortical neuron polarity with nanomagnets on a chip.. ACS nano, 2015.
- Scharr AL, Mooney TA, Schweizer FE, Ketten DR. Aminoglycoside-induced damage in the statocyst of the longfin inshore squid, Doryteuthis pealeii.. The Biological bulletin, 2014.
- Grygoruk A, Chen A, Martin CA, Lawal HO, Fei H, Gutierrez G, Biedermann T, Najibi R, Hadi R, Chouhan AK, Murphy NP, Schweizer FE, Macleod GT, Maidment NT, Krantz DE. The redistribution of Drosophila vesicular monoamine transporter mutants from synaptic vesicles to large dense-core vesicles impairs amine-dependent behaviors.. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2014.
- Pereda AE, Schweizer FE, Zottoli SJ. On the training of future neuroscientists: insights from the Grass laboratory.. Neuron, 2013.
- Chang JW, Arnold MM, Rozenbaum A, Caputo A, Schweizer FE, Huynh M, Mathern GW, Sarafian TA, Watson JB. Synaptoneurosome micromethod for fractionation of mouse and human brain, and primary neuronal cultures.. Journal of neuroscience methods, 2012.
- Schweizer FE, Myers KM, Caputo A. In the zone: presynaptic function at high res.. Nature neuroscience, 2012.
- Quiñones PM, Luu C, Schweizer FE, Narins PM. Exocytosis in the frog amphibian papilla.. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO, 2011.
- Rinetti GV, Schweizer FE. Ubiquitination acutely regulates presynaptic neurotransmitter release in mammalian neurons.. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2010.
- Schweizer FE, Savin D, Luu C, Sultemeier DR, Hoffman LF. Distribution of high-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels in rat vestibular epithelia.. The Journal of comparative neurology, 2009.
- Huynh DP, Maalouf M, Silva AJ, Schweizer FE, Pulst SM. Dissociated fear and spatial learning in mice with deficiency of ataxin-2.. PloS one, 2009.
- Hutnick LK, Golshani P, Namihira M, Xue Z, Matynia A, Yang XW, Silva AJ, Schweizer FE, Fan G. DNA hypomethylation restricted to the murine forebrain induces cortical degeneration and impairs postnatal neuronal maturation.. Human molecular genetics, 2009.
- Schweizer FE. Exit chloride, enter glutamate.. Nature neuroscience, 2009.
- Ratnaparkhi A, Lawless GM, Schweizer FE, Golshani P, Jackson GR. A Drosophila model of ALS: human ALS-associated mutation in VAP33A suggests a dominant negative mechanism.. PloS one, 2008.
- Cruz-Martín A, Schweizer FE. Imbalance between excitation and inhibition among synaptic connections of CA3 pyramidal neurons in cultured hippocampal slices.. The European journal of neuroscience, 2008.
- Schweizer FE. Modifying theories is the fabric of scientific progress.. Nature, 2007.
- Willeumier K, Pulst SM, Schweizer FE. Proteasome inhibition triggers activity-dependent increase in the size of the recycling vesicle pool in cultured hippocampal neurons.. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2006.
- Schweizer FE, Ryan TA. The synaptic vesicle: cycle of exocytosis and endocytosis.. Current opinion in neurobiology, 2006.
- Chanda B, Blunck R, Faria LC, Schweizer FE, Mody I, Bezanilla F. A hybrid approach to measuring electrical activity in genetically specified neurons.. Nature neuroscience, 2005.
- Golshani P, Hutnick L, Schweizer F, Fan G. Conditional Dnmt1 deletion in dorsal forebrain disrupts development of somatosensory barrel cortex and thalamocortical long-term potentiation.. Thalamus & related systems, 2005.
- Egusa H, Schweizer FE, Wang CC, Matsuka Y, Nishimura I. Neuronal differentiation of bone marrow-derived stromal stem cells involves suppression of discordant phenotypes through gene silencing.. The Journal of biological chemistry, 2005.
- Edmonds BW, Gregory FD, Schweizer FE. Evidence that fast exocytosis can be predominantly mediated by vesicles not docked at active zones in frog saccular hair cells.. The Journal of physiology, 2004.
- Sippy T, Cruz-Martín A, Jeromin A, Schweizer FE. Acute changes in short-term plasticity at synapses with elevated levels of neuronal calcium sensor-1.. Nature neuroscience, 2003.
- Kruger L, Light AR, Schweizer FE. Axonal terminals of sensory neurons and their morphological diversity.. Journal of neurocytology, 2003.
- Gregory FD, Schweizer FE. Exocytosis with a snap.. Nature neuroscience, 2002.