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Professor with Tenure


Ute Hochgeschwender is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the College of Medicine. She received her M.D. degree from the Free University in Berlin, Germany, but chose to pursue basic research. After postdoctoral training in molecular and cellular immunology and molecular neuroscience, she held faculty positions at several academic institutions (Mount Sinai Medical School, National Institutes of Mental Health, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation). Research during this time focused on generating and analyzing knockout mouse strains lacking genes for neuropeptides or their receptors, specifically somatostatin, somatostatin receptors 3 and 4, dynorphin, and pro-opiomelanocortin. For the past six years, Dr. Hochgeschwender served as the Director of the Duke Neurotransgenic Laboratory, whose mission was to provide services towards the genetic analysis of the nervous system, and to conduct technology development research aiding the elucidation of brain function and dysfunction. As part of the research aspect she developed a method to integrate the optogenetic and chemical genetic analyses of neural circuits by combining optogenetics with bioluminescence. Current research in the lab focuses upon further developing the concept of using biological light, i.e. a light-generating protein (luciferase), to activate light-sensing opsins (ion channels, proton pumps). Most importantly, we will utilize the tools generated thus far, and those we are currently developing, for research into the mechanisms and potential, non-invasive treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases.


M.A., Philosophy, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
M.D., Medicine, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany