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Faculty/Staff Members


Phone: 4202
Office: A10

Jennifer Chotiner - PhD

Department Chair, Professor, Biological Sciences

PhD, University of California - Los Angeles, Neuroscience
BS, University of California - San Diego, Biology


Research Interests
“Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde

Long-term changes in the communication between neurons are thought to be the underlying mechanism for how information is stored in the brain. These changes result in more effective synaptic activity between neurons and are ultimately thought to be what forms a memory in the brain.

BUT... How do active synapses undergo these changes? What are the cellular processes that both establish and maintain these changes?

How do these changes remain specific only to those active synapses while seeming to not affect the inactive ones?

The research in my lab is aimed at answering these questions by examining how synaptic activity can specifically alter long-term cellular processes such as protein synthesis and gene expression. These answers will help unlock the secrets of how learning and memory occurs in the brain on a cellular level and provide potential strategies for recovering from neurological trauma and disease.



  1. Chotiner JK, Steward O. ERK signal transduction mechanisms mediating synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus. Neuroscience. Submitted.
  2. Huang F, Chotiner JK, Steward O. The mRNA for elongation factor 1alpha is localized in dendrites and translated in response to treatments that induce long-term depression. J Neurosci. 2005 Aug 3;25(31):7199-209.
  3. Chotiner JK, Khorasani H, Nairn AC, O’Dell TJ, Watson JB. Adenylyl cyclase-dependent form of chemical long-term potentiation triggers translational regulation at the elongation step. Neuroscience. 2003;116(3):743-52.
  4. Makhinson M, Chotiner JK, Watson JB, O’Dell TJ. Adenylyl cyclase activation modulates activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II autophosphorylation. J Neurosci. 1999 Apr 1;19(7):2500-10.
  5. Neurotransmitter Methods: Methods in Molecular Biology, Volume 72, ed. RC Rayne, 1998, In: Quarterly Review of Biology, 73 pp. 538-539.
  6. Chotiner JK, Johnson MW, Watson JB. Isolation and characterization of synaptoneurosomes from single rat hippocampal slices. J Neurosci Methods. 1997 Dec 1;77(2):151-6.

Honors and Awards

  • 1991-1992 Phi Beta Kappa, University Of California, San Diego
  • 1994-1995 Phi Beta Kappa, University Of California, San Diego
  • 1995-2001 Achievement Reward for College Scientist Fellowship, UCLA
  • 2000 Society for Neuroscience, Los Angeles Chapter Travel Fellowship
  • 2002-2005 NIH Training Grant, University of California, Irvine