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Manickavasagom  Alkondon

Manickavasagom Alkondon Ph.D.

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Epidemiology & Public Health
Secondary Appointments: Pharmacology
Location: BRB 4-043D; 4-010
Phone: (410) 706 3563
Fax: (410) 706 0032
Lab: (410) 706 3563

Personal History:

I received my PhD from University of Delhi, India. My PhD work was on the cholinesterase inhibitory and neuromuscular modulatory effects of beta-adrenergic blockers. I joined the research group of Dr. Albuquerque as a postdoctoral fellow and continued my research interests using electrophysiological techniques on muscle nicotinic receptors. As an assistant professor in the department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics I continue to work with Dr. Albuquerque on brain nicotinic receptor electrophysiology.

Research Interests:

During my research career in India, I worked on both in vitro and in vivo animal models. I had a keen interest on synaptic transmission which I studied using skeletal neuromuscular junction as a model system. In addition, I was also involved in behavioral experiments in rats and mice. In particular, I focused some of my attention in understanding the pharmacology of "isolation-induced aggressive behavior" in rats.
After I moved to University of Maryland, I applied electrophysiological techniques to study various ligand-gated ion channels present on the neurons. My research interests include testing the effects of heavy metal lead ions on NMDA and nicotinic receptor channels, physiological and pharmacological identification of various nicotinic receptor subtypes in the brain of developing and adult animals (mice, rats and guinea-pigs), and understanding the molecular mechanisms of psychoactive drugs such as nicotine and alcohol.

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

·        Patch-clamp techniques (cell-attached recording, whole-cell patch, and single channel recordings)
·        Cultured brain neurons for electrophysiology
·        Brain slices from hippocampus, cortex, striatum, nucleus accumbens for electrophysiology
·        Labeling of neurons in brain slices using Lucifer yellow, biocytin and calbindin.


Alkondon, M., Rao, K.S. and Albuquerque, E.X.  Acetylcholinesterase reactivators modify the functional properties of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ion channel. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 245: 543-556, 1988.

Alkondon, M., Costa, A.C.S., Radhakrishnan, V., Aronstam, R.S. and Albuquerque, E.X. Selective blockade of NMDA-activated channel currents may be implicated in learning deficits caused by lead.  FEBS Lett.,  261: 124-130, 1990.

Alkondon, M., Pereira, E.F.R., Wonnacott, S. and Albuqueruqe, E.X.  Blockade of nicotinic currents in hippocampal neurons defines methyllycaconitine as a potent and specific receptor antagonist.  Mol. Pharmacol.  41: 802-808, 1992.

Alkondon, M. and Albuquerque, E.X.  Diversity of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in rat hippocampal neurons. I. Pharmacological and functional evidence for distinct structural subtypes.  J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther.  265: 1455-1473, 1993.

Alkondon, M., Pereira, E.F.R. and Albuquerque, E.X.  Mapping the location of functional nicotinic and γ-aminobytyric acidA receptors on hippocampal neurons.  J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther.  279: 1491-1506, 1996.

Alkondon, M., Pereira, E.F.R., Cortes, W.S., Maelicke, A. and Albuquerque, E.X.  Choline is a selective agonist of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in rat brain neurons.  Eur. J. Neurosci.  9: 101-109, 1997.

Alkondon, M., Pereira, E.F.R., Eisenberg, H.M. and Albuquerque, E.X.  Choline and selective antagonists identify two subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors that modulate GABA release from CA1 interneurons in rat hippocampal slices.  J. Neuroscience 19: 2693-2705, 1999.

Alkondon, M., Pereira, E.F.R., Eisenberg, H.M. and Albuquerque, E.X.  Nicotinic receptor activation in human cerebral cortical interneurons: a mechanism for inhibition and disinhibition of neuronal networks.  J. Neuroscience 20: 66-75, 2000.

Alkondon, M, and Albuquerque, E.X. The nicotinic receptor α7 and α4β2 subtypes differentially control gabaergic input to CA1neurons  in rat hippocampus. J. Neurophysiol. 86(6): 3043 -3055, 2001.

Alkondon, M  and Albuquerque, EX.  Nicotinic receptor subtypes in rat hippocampal slices are differentially sensitive to desensitization and early in vivo functional up-regulation by nicotine and to block by bupropion. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 313(2):740-750, 2005