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Synaptic Physiology Section - Division of Intramural Research


Jeffrey S. Diamond Image

Jeffrey S. Diamond, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Dr. Diamond received his B.S. from Duke University in 1989 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco in 1994, where he studied excitatory synaptic transmission in the retina with David Copenhagen. During a postdoctoral fellowship with Craig Jahr at the Vollum Institute, he investigated the effects of glutamate transporters on excitatory synaptic transmission in the hippocampus. Dr. Diamond joined NINDS as an investigator in 1999, was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering in 2000 and was promoted to senior investigator in 2007. His laboratory explores the dynamics and modulation of transmitter release, diffusion and receptor activation at excitatory and inhibitory synapses in the mammalian CNS.

Laboratory Staff

Huayu Ding, B.S., Graduate Student
Cole Graydon, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Justin Kerr, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Wade Kothmann, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Nicholas Oesch, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Alon Poleg-Polsky, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Melissa Ann F. Rampino, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Hua Tian, B.S., Biologist
Jun Zhang, Ph.D., Staff Scientist

Research Interests

Synapses mediate communication between neurons in the CNS. We have learned a great deal about the structural and molecular organization of these specialized contacts, but many important physiological questions remain unresolved. How do the morphological characteristics of the synaptic cleft and the biophysical properties of neurotransmitter receptors influence synaptic signaling? How do transporters, which bind free neurotransmitter and remove it from the extracellular space, limit the extent to which it diffuses from its point of release? Can neurotransmitter diffuse out of the synaptic cleft to activate receptors in neighboring synapses and, if so, how does this "spillover" degrade or enhance the information capacity of a neuronal network? How are these processes developmentally regulated? In the hippocampus, answers to these questions may give insight into the mechanisms by which learning and memory are implemented at the synaptic level. In the retina, they may help explain how visual information is transformed into a neural code and how the visual system's exquisite sensitivity and spatial acuity is preserved. We approach these questions experimentally using electrophysiological and imaging methods in hippocampal and retinal slice preparations.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Scimemi, A and Diamond, JS
    The number and organization of Ca2+ channels in the active zone shapes neurotransmitter release from Schaffer collateral synapses, J. Neurosci., 2012, vol. 32, pp. 18157-18176. Full Text/Abstract
  • Oesch, NW and Diamond, JS
    Ribbon synapses compute temporal contrast and encode luminance in retinal rod bipolar cells, Nat. Neurosci., 2011, vol. 14, pp. 1555-1561. Full Text/Abstract
  • Thomas, CG, Tian, H and Diamond, JS
    The relative roles of diffusion and uptake in clearing synaptically released glutamate change during early postnatal development, J. Neurosci., 2011, vol. 31, pp. 4743-4754. Full Text/Abstract
  • Grimes, WN, Zhang, J, Graydon, CW, Kachar, B and Diamond, JS
    Retinal parallel processors: More than 100 independent microcircuits operate within a single interneuron, Neuron, 2010, vol. 65, pp. 873-885. Full Text/Abstract
  • Scimemi, A, Tian, H and Diamond, JS
    Neuronal transporters regulate glutamate clearance, NMDA receptor activation, and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, J. Neurosci., 2009, vol. 29, pp. 14581-14595. Full Text/Abstract
  • Kalbaugh, TL, Zhang, J and Diamond, JS
    Coagonist release modulates NMDA receptor subtype contributions at synaptic inputs to retinal ganglion cells, J. Neurosci., 2009, vol. 29, pp. 1469-1479. Full Text/Abstract
  • Grimes, WN, Li, W, Chavez, AE and Diamond, JS
    BK channels modulate pre- and postsynaptic signaling at reciprocal synapses in retina., Nat. Neurosci., 2009, vol. 12, pp. 585-592. Full Text/Abstract

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Synaptic Physiology Section, NINDS
Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35, Room 3C-1000
35 Convent Drive, MSC 3701
Bethesda, MD 20892-3701

Telephone: 301-435-1896 (office), 301-435-1897 (laboratory), 301-435-1895 (fax)
Email: diamondj@ninds.nih.gov