Department of Neuroscience
Corigan Thetford Smothers, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Office: (843) 792-6374
BS, Zoology, 1984, Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
MS, Neuroscience, 1990, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Ph.D., Physiology, 1997, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
My research interests are focused on elucidating the mechanisms that underlie the effects of alcohol on central nervous system function. Alcohol inhibits the function of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptor that is involved in learning and memory. The sensitivity of NMDA receptors to alcohol is influenced by the subunit composition of the receptor. NMDA receptors are formed from the subunits NR1, NR2, and NR3 and each subunit imparts unique properties to the receptor. Determining how subunits composition alters alcohol sensitivity would provide novel insights in the mechanisms of how alcohol perturbs receptor function. In my research, site-directed mutagenesis and whole-cell voltage-clamp electrophysiology are used to study alcohol action on NMDA receptors.