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Grace E. Stutzmann, PhD

Associate Professor
RESEARCH | Publications | Service/Teaching

My research interests focus on studying the early neuronal pathology that develops in Alzheimer's disease (AD), long before the deposition of plaques and tangles, and cognitive decline. To accomplish this, I use transgenic mice engineered to express human gene mutations that cause the inheritable form of AD, as well as human neurons derived from AD patients. With these tools, I can examine within individual neurons and entire networks how AD mutations impair neuronal functioning and synaptic plasticity across various stages of the disease process, with the goal of finding ways to block or reverse these impairments. By the time memory loss occurs in humans, the damage to the brain is often too extensive to reverse. My previous studies show that specific calcium-mediated signaling pathways are highly dysregulated in AD, and over time, facilitate the formation of amyloid plaques and tangles, interfere with neuronal signaling processes that support learning and memory, and eventually kill the cell. We are pursuing novel therapeutic strategies designed to prevent these early pathogenic processes, preserve synapses, and prevent memory impairment. This approach targets mechanisms upstream of amyloid and tau pathology. To achieve these goals, I use innovative techniques to study real-time activity in living neurons from rodents and humans, such as in vitro electrophysiology combined with 2-photon and CCD imaging of calcium signals within cellular compartments. In addition, extracellular recording techniques, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology and behavioral approaches are also incorporated. With my collaborators, we are also formulating and testing novel target compounds that impede the progression of AD pathology at its earlier stages. By combining the study of basic disease mechanisms in mice and human cells in parallel with drug discovery and therapeutic applications, we hope to develop effective options to prevent AD.


Washington and Lee University
B.S. Biology/Psychology Cum laude
Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society)

Stony Brook University
M.A. BioPsychology (Advisor: Dr. Rex Wang, PhD)

New York University
PhD Center for Neural Science (Advisor: Dr. Joseph LeDoux, PhD, Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science)


Post Doctoral Research Fellow (Mentor: Dr. George Aghajanian)
Yale University School of Medicine
Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology

Post Doctoral Research Fellow (Mentors: Dr. Frank LaFerla, Chancellor's Professor and Dean; Dr. Ian Parker, FRS, AAAS Fellow) University of California, Irvine
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior

Current Appointment

Associate Professor
Department of Neuroscience
The Chicago Medical School
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

RFUMS Affiliations/Memberships

Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
Neurodegeneration and Repair Consortium
TBI-PTSD Working Group

Honors, Awards, and Lectureships

2003 Al Nichols Young Investigator Award, UC Irvine Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia Fund for Advanced
Research in Priority Areas: Calcium Signaling Workshop Fellowship Award (Chile)
2004 Full Scholarship Award, Optical Microscopy in the Biological Sciences Course (UT San Antonio)
Dorothy Dillon Eweson Lecturer on the Advances in Aging Research, American Foundation of Aging Research (AFAR)
2006 AFAR-NYAS-GE Healthcare NeuroImaging Prize for Junior Investigators
2007 AFAR Travel Award, Biomarkers in Alzheimer's Disease (New York, NY)
2008 Board of Trustees Award, RFUMS
2009 Outstanding Contributor Award/The Alzheimer's Research Forum
Best Biological Paper/Microscopy Society of America Award "Seeing the Brain in Action: How Multiphoton Imaging has Advanced our Understanding of Neuronal Function" (2008) Microsc. Microanal. 14, 482-491.
2011 Dorothy Dillon Eweson Lecturer on the Advances in Aging Research (AFAR)
2012 Dorothy Dillon Eweson Lecturer on the Advances in Aging Research (AFAR)

Scientific Advisory/Consulting/Service Roles

Councilor, Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (2009-2011)
Alzheimer’s Research Trust, Expert Referee Panel (Great Britain) (2009-present)
Alzheimer’s Research Forum (2009-present)
Alumni in Residence Program, Washington and Lee University (2009-present)
Key Opinion Leader, The Campaign to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease 2020 [PAD2020] (2010-present)
Italian Scientific Research Council (2010-present)
Society for Neuroscience Program Committee (2014-2017)
AFAR National Scientific Advisory Council (2014-present)
NIH Startup Business Challenge; Team Advisor, Illinois Institute of Technology (2014-present)
Neuroscience Program Committee, DePaul University (2014-present)
Advisory Board Member ‘CNS: Research to Clinic’ (2014-present)
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Scientific Review Board (2015-present)
Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, Alzheimer’s Association, IL Chapter (2015-present)

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Research | Publications | Service/Teaching


2005-present Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/The Chicago Medical School (Department of Neuroscience)

My lab utilizes electrophysiological, multi-photon imaging, and molecular approaches to examine early mechanisms of neurodegenerative processes, particularly in aging, Alzheimer's disease, and traumatic brain injury. We have identified several aberrant calcium channels and related signaling pathways that appear to be drivers of pathogenic cycles in Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. In particular, the ryanodine receptor is strongly implicated, and we have begun novel drug development strategies targeting this calcium channel as a means to develop therapeutic approaches to preserve cognitive function in aged and diseased brains.

2001-2005 University of California, Irvine (Department of Neurobiology and Behavior - Ian Parker and Frank LaFerla, PI's)

In vitro whole-cell electrophysiological recording, multi-photon imaging and molecular/transgenic studies examining mechanisms of neuronal calcium signaling, and mutations related to Alzheimer's disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

1999-2000 Yale University School of Medicine (Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology - George Aghajanian, PI)

In vitro sharp and whole cell electrophysiological recordings in cortical and hippocampal slices examining effects of serotonin and adenosine on neuronal activity in relation to psychosis and drugs of abuse.

1995-1999 New York University (W.M. Keck Foundation Laboratory of Neurobiology, Center for Neural Science - Joseph E. LeDoux, Henry and Lucy Moses, PI)

Intracellular and extracellular in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, iontophoresis, and immunohistochemistry studies examining effects of serotonin and stress hormones on amygdala neurons.

1992-1994 SUNY at Stony Brook (Department of Psychiatry - Rex Wang, PI)

Electrophysiology, in vivo single unit recording, iontophoresis and behavior studies examining serotonergic and dopaminergic involvement in psychosis and drugs of abuse.

Lab Members

Clark Briggs Clark Briggs, PhD
Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate
(847) 578-3000 x3529
John, McDaid, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
(847) 578-3000 x3529
Rosalind Helfrich
Research Assistant
(847) 578-3000 x3378
Stephanie Flaherty
Research Assistant
(847) 578-3000 x3378
Alyssa Littlefield
Graduate Student
(847) 578-3000 x3378
Sarah Mustaly
Graduate Student
(847) 578-3000 x3378
Research | Publications | Service/Teaching


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Lacampagne A, Liu X, Reiken S, Bussiere R, Meli AC, Lauritzen I, Teich AF, Zalk R, Saint N, Arancio O, Bauer C, Duprat F, Briggs CA, Chakroborty S, Stutzmann GE, Shelanski ML, Checler F, Chami M, Marks AR (2017) Post-translational remodeling of ryanodine receptor induces calcium leak leading to Alzheimer’s disease-like pathologies and cognitive deficits. Acta Neuropathol. Epub ahead of print.

Jamnia N, Urban JH, Stutzmann GE, Chiren S, Reisenbigler E, Marr R, Peterson DA, Kozlowski DA (2016) A clinically relevant closed-head model of single and repeat concussive injury in the adult rat using a controlled cortical impact device. J Neurotrauma. Epub ahead of print

Christian DT, Wang X, Chen EL, Sehgal LK, Ghassemlou MN, Miao JJ, Estepanian D, Araghi CH, Stutzmann GE, Wolf ME (2016) Dynamic Alterations of Rat Nucleus Accumbens Dendritic Spines over two Months of Abstinence from Extended-Access Cocaine Self-Administration. Neuropsychopharmacology. Epub ahead of print

Anthony J. Hinrich, Francine M. Jodelka, Jennifer L. Chang, Daniella Brutman, Angela Bruno, Clark A. Briggs, Bryan D. James, Grace E. Stutzmann, et al. (2016) Therapeutic Correction of ApoER2 Splicing in Alzheimer’s Disease Mice Using Antisense Oligonucleotides. EMBO Molecular Medicine. 8(4):328-45.

Chakroborty S, Kim J, Schneider C, West A, Stutzmann GE (2015) Nitric oxide signaling is recruited as a compensatory mechanism for sustaining synaptic plasticity in Alzheimer’s disease mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(17), 6893-902.

Briggs CA, Schneider C, Richardson JC, Stutzmann GE (2013) Beta amyloid peptide plaques fail to alter evoked neuronal calcium signals in APP/PS1 Alzheimer's disease mice. Neurobiology of Aging, 34(6):1632-43.

Chakroborty S, Briggs C, Miller MB, Goussakov I, Schneider C, Kim J, Wicks J, Richardson J, Conklin V, Cameransi B, Stutzmann GE (2012b) Stabilizing ER calcium channel function as an early prevention strategy for Alzheimer’s disease. PLoS One, 7(12): e52056.

Ferrario CR, Goussakov I, Stutzmann GE, Wolf ME. (2012) Withdrawal from cocaine self-administration alters NMDA receptor-mediated Ca2+ entry in nucleus accumbens dendritic spines. PLOS One, 7(8): e40898.

Chakroborty S, Kim J, Schneider C, Jacobson C, Molgó J, Stutzmann GE. (2012a) Early pre- and postsynaptic calcium signaling abnormalities mask underlying synaptic depression in presymptomatic Alzheimer's disease mice Journal of Neuroscience, 32(24):8341-53.

Stutzmann GE (2011) Altered ryanodine receptor expression in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurobiology of Aging 33(5):1001.e1-6.

Goussakov I, Chakroborty S, Stutzmann GE (2011) Generation of dendritic Ca2+ oscillations as a consequence of altered ryanodine receptor function in AD neurons. Channels, 5(1):9-13.

Perez MF, Ford K, Goussakov I, Stutzmann GE, Hu XT (2011) Chronic exposure to cocaine disturbs dopamine D2 receptor modulation of Ca2+ homeostasis in rat nucleus accumbens neurons. Synapse, 65(2):168-80.

Goussakov I, Miller M, Stutzmann GE (2010) NMDA-mediated Ca2+ influx drives ryanodine receptor activation in dendrites of young Alzheimer's disease mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(36):12128-37.

Chakroborty S, Goussakov I, Miller MB, Stutzmann GE (2009) Deviant ryanodine receptor-mediated calcium release resets synaptic homeostasis in presymptomatic 3xTg-AD mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 29: 9458-9470.*Faculty of 1000 Recommended Reading Award

Stutzmann GE, Smith I, Caccamo A, Oddo S, Parker I, LaFerla F (2007) Enhanced ryanodine-mediated calcium release in mutant PS1-expressing Alzheimer mouse models. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1097: 265-277.

Stutzmann GE, Smith I, Caccamo A, Oddo S, LaFerla FM, Parker I (2006) Enhanced ryanodine receptor recruitment contributes to Ca2+ disruptions in young, adult and aged Alzheimer’s disease mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(20) 5180-5189.

Stutzmann GE, Caccamo A, LaFerla FM, Parker I (2004) Dysregulated IP3 signaling in cortical neurons of knock-in mice expressing an Alzheimer's-linked mutation in presenilin1 results in exaggerated Ca2+ signals and altered membrane excitability. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(2) 508-513.

Stutzmann GE, LaFerla FM, Parker I (2003) Ca2+ signaling in mouse cortical neurons studied by two-photon imaging and photoreleased inositol triphosphate. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(3):758-65.

Marchant J, Stutzmann GE, Leissring M, LaFerla F, Parker I (2001) Multiphoton-evoked color change of DsRed as an optical highlighter for cellular and subcellular labeling. Nature Biotechnology, 19:645-649.

Stutzmann GE, Marek GJ, Aghajanian GK (2001) Adenosine preferentially suppresses serotonin2A-receptor enhanced EPSC’s in layer V neurons of the medial prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience, 105:55-69.

Stutzmann GE, LeDoux JE (1999) GABAergic antagonists block the inhibitory effects of serotonin in the lateral amygdala: a mechanism for modulation of sensory inputs related to fear conditioning. Journal of Neuroscience,1(19):1-4.

Stutzmann GE, McEwen BS, LeDoux JE (1998) Serotonin modulation of sensory inputs to the lateral amygdala: dependency on corticosterone. Journal of Neuroscience, 18(22):9529-38.

Li XF, Stutzmann GE, LeDoux JE (1996) Convergent but temporally separated inputs to lateral amygdala neurons from the auditory thalamus and auditory cortex use different postsynaptic receptors: in vivo intracellular and extracellular recordings in fear conditioning pathways. Learning and Memory, 3(2-3):229-42.

Minabe Y, Emori K, Toor A, Stutzmann GE, Ashby CR (1996) The effect of the acute and chronic administration of CP 96,345, a selective neurokinin1 receptor antagonist, on midbrain dopamine neurons in the rat: a single unit, extracellular recording study. Synapse, 22(1):35-45.

Invited Reviews

Alzheimer’s Association Calcium Hypothesis Workgroup (2017) A framework for integrating new evidence into a comprehensive theory of pathogenesis. Alzheimer’s & Dementia (in press).

Briggs CA, Chakroborty S, Stutzmann GE (2017) Emerging pathways driving early synaptic pathology in Alzheimer’s disease. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 483(4):988-997.

Shim, Soeng, Stutzmann GE (2016) Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3: an emerging target in the treatment of traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma. Epub ahead of print

Chakroborty S, Stutzmann GE (2014) Calcium channelopathies and Alzheimer's disease: insight into therapeutic success and failures. Eur J Pharmacol.,739:83-95.

Chakroborty S, Stutzmann GE (2013) Calcium Channelopathies and Alzheimer’s Disease: Insight into Therapeutic Success and Failures. European Journal of Pharmacology.

Chakroborty S, Stutzmann GE (2011) Early calcium dysregulation in Alzheimer's disease: setting the stage for synaptic dysfunction. Life Science, 54(8):752-762.

Stutzmann GE, Mattson MP (2011) Endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ handling in excitable cells in health and disease. Pharmacological Reviews, 63(3):700-27.

Demuro A, Parker I, Stutzmann GE (2010) Calcium signaling and amyloid toxicity in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(17):12463-8.

Stutzmann GE (2008) Seeing the brain in action: how multiphoton imaging has advanced our understanding of neuronal function. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 14(6):482-91. *Best Biological Paper Award.

Stutzmann GE (2007) The pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease: Is it a lifelong ‘calciumopathy’? The Neuroscientist, 13(5):546-59.

Stutzmann GE (2005) Calcium dysregulation, IP3, and Alzheimer’s disease. The Neuroscientist, 11(2):110-5.

Stutzmann GE, Parker I (2005) Dynamic multi-photon imaging: a live view from cells to systems. Physiology, 20:15-21.

Research | Publications | Service/Teaching



University Service – Leadership Roles (RFUMS)

2009-2011 Academic Assembly, Secretary
2011-2013 Academic Assembly, Deputy Speaker
2013-2015 Academic Assembly, Speaker
2009-present Academic Assembly Advisory Committee Member

University Service – Committee Membership (RFUMS)

2006-present Molecular & Cellular Sciences Seminar Series Committee
2007-2013 University Senate, Member
2007-2010 Library Steering Committee
2008-2009 Student Learning Center Steering Committee
2008-2013 University Environmental Sustainability Committee
2008-present Graduate Oversight Committee
2009-present Bridging Grant Research Review Committee
2010 Chicago Medical School Dean Search Committee
2010-2011 University Research Summit, Participant
2010-2015 University Tenure and Credentials Committee
2012-2015 Institutional Biosafety Committee
2012-present Neurodegeneration and Repair Consortium, Founder
2013-2014 CMS Admissions Task Force
2013-2014 CMS Strategic Planning Task Force
2013-2014 Academic Advancement Council
2013-2014 LCME Task Force member, IS-13
2013-present LCME Task Force member, IS-4
2014-present LCME Task Force member, ED-25
2014 Faculty Search Committee, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
2014-2015 Faculty Search Committee, College of Pharmacy
2015 Task Force on Faculty Development and Work Load Models
2015 CQL-LCME Task Force Committee
2015-present Student Evaluation and Promotion Committee

Neuroscience Department Service

2009-2010 Co-Chair, Performance Review Committee for Annual Neuroscience Dept. Chair Review
2011-2012 Chair, Performance Review Committee for Annual Neuroscience Dept. Chair Review


RFUMS Chicago Medical School

Medical Neuroscience, Lecturer (2006-present)
Essentials of Clinical Reasoning (2012-present)
Clinical Epidemiology (2013-present)
Clinical Genetics (2012-2014)
Introduction to Bioethics and Health Law (2012)

RFUMS IGPBS Graduate Program

Neurophysiology, Course Director (2008-present)
Molecular and Cell Biology II (2009-present)
Neuroscience Course (2010-present)
Systems (2014-present)
Brain Frontiers, Lecturer (2007)
Neuronal Signaling (2012)