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Cellular Neurophysiology Unit - Division of Intramural Research

Zayd M. Khaliq Image

Zayd M. Khaliq, Ph.D., Investigator

Dr. Khaliq received his B.A. in Physics from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Northwestern University in 2006. During his graduate work with Indira Raman, he studied the initiation and propagation of action potentials in cerebellar Purkinje neurons. During his postdoctoral fellowship with Bruce Bean at Harvard Medical School, he studied the ionic mechanisms of firing in dopamine-releasing neurons located in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra. He joined NINDS as an Investigator in 2011. His laboratory is focused on the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of neuronal firing within the midbrain dopamine system.

Research Interests

Dopamine-releasing neurons located in the midbrain play an essential role in movement and reward-based behaviors. Dysfunction of these neurons has been linked to a variety of brain disorders including addiction, schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson's disease. The goal of our research is to understand 1) how voltage-gated ion channels contribute to excitability and action potential firing of dopamine neurons and other neurons that participate in reward circuits, 2) how synaptic inputs interact with intrinsic membrane conductances to produce spiking patterns that are relevant to reward-based learning, 3) and how neuromodulatory inputs influence excitability of these neurons. We address these questions using patch-clamp techniques to record the activity of neurons in brain slices. We combine this approach with imaging, immunohistochemistry and the use of transgenic mice to identify specific populations of neurons within the reward circuit.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Khaliq Z.M., Bean B.P
    Pacemaking in dopaminergic ventral tegmental area neurons: depolarizing drive from background and voltage-dependent sodium conductances, Journal of Neuroscience, 2010, vol. 30(21), pp. 7401-13.
  • Khaliq Z.M., Bean B.P
    Dynamic, nonlinear feedback regulation of slow pacemaking by A-type potassium current in ventral tegmental area neurons, Journal of Neuroscience, 2008, vol. 28(43), pp. 10905-17.
  • Khaliq Z.M., Raman, I.M
    Relative contributions of axonal and somatic Na channels to action potential initiation in cerebellar Purkinje neurons, Journal of Neuroscience, 2006, vol. 26(7), pp. 1935-1944.
  • Levin S.I., Khaliq Z.M., Aman T.K., Grieco T.M., Kearney J.A., Raman I.M., Meisler M.H
    Impaired motor function in mice with cell-specific knockout of sodium channel Scn8a (NaV1.6) in cerebellar Purkinje neurons and granule cells, Journal of Neurophysiology, 2006, vol. 96(2), pp. 785-93.
  • Khaliq Z.M., Raman, I.M
    Axonal propagation of simple and complex spikes in cerebellar, Journal of Neuroscience, 2005, vol. 25(2), pp. 454-63.
  • Afshari F.S., Ptak K., Khaliq Z.M., Grieco T.M., Slater N.T., McCrimmon D.R., Raman I.M.
    Resurgent Na currents in four classes of neurons of the cerebellum, Journal of Neurophysiology, 2004, vol. 92(5), pp. 2831-43.
  • Khaliq Z.M., Gouwens N.W., Raman I.M.
    The contribution of resurgent sodium current to high-frequency firing in Purkinje neurons: an experimental and modeling study, Journal of Neuroscience, 2003, vol. 23(12), pp. 4899-912.

Selected Earlier Publications

Contact Information

Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35, Room 3C-1002
35 Convent Drive, MSC 3700
Bethesda, MD 20892

Telephone: 301-451-7221 (office), 301-451-7221 (laboratory)