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Peter G. Shrager, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Appointment: (585) 276-3000


I have 45 years of experience in biophysics and electrophysiology, with an emphasis on ion channels and on signal generation, propagation and transmission. I have been principal investigator on many grants and projects and my laboratory is very well-equipped for these studies. I have worked with many electrophysiological and molecular techniques, and many different biological preparations. I have developed the system for optic nerve recording that will be used in these studies. I have successfully mentored graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have progressed to excellent research careers.

Professional Background

EDUCATION: Columbia College, New York, Liberal Arts/Engineering, A.B.1962 Columbia Engineering, New York Electrical Engineering B.S.1963 University of California, Berkeley, Biophysics Ph.D.1969 POSTDOCTORAL TRAINING: Duke University, Durham, NC, Physiology 1969-1971 Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Molecular Biology 1995 FACULTY APPOINTMENTS: University of Rochester Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy 1996-present University of Rochester Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology 1996-present University of Rochester Professor of Biophysics 1993-1996 University of Rochester Professor of Physiology 1991-1996 University of Rochester Associate Professor of Physiology 1981-1991 University of Rochester Associate Professor of Physiology 1976-1981 University of Rochester Assistant Professor of Physiology 1971-1976 HONORS AND AWARDS: Phi Beta Kappa Tau Beta Pi (engineering) Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering) NIH Predoctoral Fellowship NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship NIH Research Career Development Award Mellon Fellow First-Year Teaching Award and First-Year teaching commendations Graduate Student Society Faculty Teaching Award Fenn Mentor Award


The focus of this laboratory is on the interaction between neurons and glial cells, particularly myelinating glia. There are two primary areas of interest. Myelinated axons are not uniform, but rather consist of highly discrete domains, populated by unique proteins that confer specialized functional properties. The axon initial segment contains a high density of voltage-dependent sodium channels, as well as an associated set of cytoskeletal, adhesion, and matrix components, all of which allow this region to be the site of integration of synaptic inputs, resulting in the initiation of the action potential. Nodes of Ranvier have a similar composition, but reach that structure through a very different developmental mechanism. Nodes and adjacent paranodes and juxtaparanodes, along with compact myelin in the internodes, allow rapid, reliable, and efficient conduction of impulses. Our laboratory studies the molecular interactions between components of axons and Schwann cells (PNS) or oligodendroglia (CNS) that result in this unique structure. A wide variety of techniques, both molecular and electrophysiological are employed. A second major area is in recovery from spinal cord injury, and other traumatic diseases of the CNS. While axon regeneration can be robust in the PNS, it is markedly limited in the CNS. Among the mechanisms responsible, it has been demonstrated that remaining myelin at the injury site contains several proteins that are inhibitory to neurite outgrowth. This inhibition is mediated by receptors present on neurons that form a complex capable of initiating an intracellular signaling cascade. Using the optic nerve as a well-defined tract of CNS axons, and a series of mutant mice with the relevant proteins genetically deleted, a mechanism is sought through which regeneration can be improved. A question arose in the course of this work. Since these inhibitors and receptors are not likely to have evolved for this purpose, do they mediate other functions in the CNS? It has subsequently been shown that both the inhibitory proteins and their receptors are expressed by neurons at excitatory synapses. Further, in collaboration with Roman Giger, this laboratory has been investigating the role of this system in synaptic plasticity. Of particular interest, long term potentiation and depression, thought to be electrophysiological correlates of memory formation in the hippocampus, are regulated by this growth-inhibitory system. While this is studied for its intrinsic value in neurobiology, it is also relevant in spinal cord injury, where plasticity in remaining neurons is thought to play an important role in recovery of function. Recent publications (2010-2012) Raiker, S.J., Lee, H., Duan, Y., Koelzer, K.T., Shrager, P. and Giger, R.J. 2010 Oligodendrocyte-myelin glycoprotein and Nogo negatively regulate activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience 30:12432-12445. Winters, J., Lenk, G., Giger-Mateeva, V., Shrager, P., Meisler, M. and Giger, R..J. 2011 Congenital CNS hypomyelination and reduced number of mature oligodendrocytes in the Fig4 null mouse. Journal of Neuroscience, in review. Einheber, S., Maurel, P., Meng, X., Rubin, M., Lam, I., Mohandas, N., An, X., Shrager, P., Kissil, J. and Salzer, J. 2011 The 4.1B cytoskeletal protein is required for the normal domain organization of myelinated axons. Glia (online) 10-26-2012 DOI: 10:1002/glia22430.


Faculty Appointments


BS | Columbia University
Electrical Engineering

PhD | Univ of Cal Berkeley


Phi Beta Kappa

Tau Beta Pi (engineering)

Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering)

NIH Predoctoral Fellowship

NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship

NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship

NIH Research Career Development Award

Mellon Fellow

First-Year Teaching Award

Graduate Student Society Faculty Teaching Award

Fenn Mentor Award

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Journal Articles

Jones JM, Dionne L, Dell'Orco J, Parent R, Krueger JN, Cheng X, Dib-Hajj SD, Bunton-Stasyshyn RK, Sharkey LM, Dowling JJ, Murphy GG, Shakkottai VG, Shrager P, Meisler MH. "Single amino acid deletion in transmembrane segment D4S6 of sodium channel Scn8a (Nav1.6) in a mouse mutant with a chronic movement disorder." Neurobiology of disease.. 2016 May 0; 89:36-45. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

Mironova YA, Lenk GM, Lin JP, Lee SJ, Twiss JL, Vaccari I, Bolino A, Havton LA, Min SH, Abrams CS, Shrager P, Meisler MH, Giger RJ. "PI(3,5)P2 biosynthesis regulates oligodendrocyte differentiation by intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms." eLife. 2016 Mar 23; 5Epub 2016 Mar 23.

Carbajal KS, Mironova Y, Ulrich-Lewis JT, Kulkarni D, Grifka-Walk HM, Huber AK, Shrager P, Giger RJ, Segal BM. "Th Cell Diversity in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis." The Journal of immunology : official journal of the American Association of Immunologists.. 2015 Sep 15; 195(6):2552-9. Epub 2015 Aug 03.