Jon Waataja

Ph.D. 2007

Thesis Title:

Excitotoxic Loss of Post-Synaptic Sites is Distinct Temporally and Mechanistically from Neuronal Death

Current Position:

Research Scientist at EnteroMedics doing Preclinical Research

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

University of St. Thomas, BS Biochemistry and minor in Mathematics 2002

Major Advisor(s):

Stanley Thayer, Ph.D.

Graduate Research Description:

I am interested in studying synaptic changes that occur during excitotoxic-induced neuroegeneration. Excitotoxicity is caused by the excess release of glutamate and is thought to contribute to many neurodegenerative disorders including stroke, HIV associated dementia and Alzheimer's disease. I have developed a technique to track synaptic changes along with cell viability of single neurons over time. This has given us insights into the temporal relationship as well as mechanisms of synapse loss related to cell death.

Graduate Lab Rotations:

  • David Redish
  • Karen Ashe
  • Stan Thayer

Conferences Attended:

  • Society for Neuroscience annual meeting - Fall 1999-2006

Conference Presentations:

  • Presented at Society for Neuroscience annual meeting 2000, 2005, 2006

Selected Publications

  • Kim HJ, Waataja JJ, Thayer SA. (Journal Cover) Cannabinoids inhibit network driven-synapse loss between hippocampal neurons in culture.  J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2008 325:850-8 
  • Waataja JJ, Kim HJ, Roloff AM, Thayer SA.  Excitotoxic loss of post-synaptic sites is distinct temporally and mechanistically from neuronal death.  J Neurochem. 2008 104:364-75     
  • Gilbert GL, Kim HJ, Waataja JJ, Thayer SA. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol protects hippocampal neurons from excitotoxicity.  Brain Res. 2007 1128:61-9. 
  • Song JH, Waataja JJ, Martemyanov KA. Subcellular targeting of RGS9-2 is controlled by multiple molecular determinants on its membrane anchor, R7BP. J Bio Chem.2006 281:15361-9.
  • Waataja JJ, Tweden KS, Honda CN.  Effects of high frequency alternating current on axonal conduction through the vagus nerve.  J Neural Eng. 2011 Oct;8(5):056013.  Epub2011 Sep 15.

Graduate Committee Members:

  • Eric Newman
  • Paul Letourneau
  • Johnathan Merchant

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience

Home Town:

  • Golden Valley, MN
Jon Waataja