Jason P. Weick, PhD

Biography

The overall goal of my research is to understand the basic mechanisms underlying neural specification and maturation, and how those processes go awry in disorders that cause intellectual disability (ID). Our lab currently focuses on the modeling neural development using a combination of rodent systems both in vitro and in vivo, as well as human pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons (hPSNs). We employ a range of techniques including viral vector engineering, optogenetics, CRISP/cas9 gene editing, electrophysiology as well as timelapse and super-resolution microscopy. Using these techniques we have uncovered novel proteins and pathways that lie at the heart of neuronal differentiation and functional maturation and are currently using this knowledge to develop novel ways to model ID both in vitro using hPSNs as well as in vivo rodent models.

Areas of Specialty

Synapses
Plasticity
Alcohol
Alzheimer’s Disease

Education

Post-Doc (2009):
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Phd (2005):
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

BS (200):
Denison University 2000

Achievements & Awards

  • Selected as Lead Guest Editor: Special Issue of Stem Cells International - 2016
  • Weick et al., 2011 (PNAS) selected by ‘Faculty of 1000’ as part of the top 2% of publications - 2011
  • Wisconsin Stem Cell Research Symposium Award - 2006

Key Publications

  • Chander, P., Kennedy, M.J., Winckler, B., and Weick, J.P. Neuron-specific gene 2 (NSG2) encodes an AMPA receptor interacting protein that modulates excitatory neurotransmission. eNeuro.0292-18.2018; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0292-18.2018.
  • Floruta, C.M., Du, R., Kang, H., Stein, J.L., and Weick, J.P. Default patterning of human pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons results in pan-cortical glutamatergic and CGE/LGE-like GABAergic neurons. Stem Cell Reports Nov 14;9(5):1463-1476. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.09.023
  • Weick, J.P., Liu, Y., and Zhang, S.C. Human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons adopt and regulate the activity of an established neural network. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2011 Dec 13;108(50):20189-94. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1108487108
  • Hu B.Y., Weick, J.P., Yu, J., Thomson, J.A., and Zhang, S.C. Neural differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells follows developmental principles but with variable potency. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 2;107(9):4335-40.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0910012107

Gender

He, Him

Languages

English, Spanish (un poco)

Research

Work in the Weick lab centers on understanding multiple aspects of the development of functional neural circuits, from how individual neurons acquire functional properties to how groups of neurons generate patterns of information. Using neurons differentiated from pluripotent stem cells we study development both under normal conditions and in the context of developmental disorders. One of our basic science projects focuses on the Neuron-Specific Gene (NSG) family of proteins, which aid in the shuttling of AMPA receptors within post-synaptic compartments to regulate synaptic plasticity. We recently discovered that NSG proteins appear to play unique roles in shaping synaptic strength, and possibly defining unique sets of post-synaptic densities. We are also examining their role in Alzheimer’s disease, as NSG proteins form complexes with the Sortilin-1 receptor, which is an APOE receptor that is critical for regulating the levels of intra and extracellular APOE.  Furthermore, we are investigating the effects of ethanol on developing neurons during early stages of synapse formation, using a newly developed technique to map the SYNAPTOME of mice. We hypothesize that early insults of fetal alcohol exposure will cause significant remapping events that cause underlying functional and behavioral pathology.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Medical Education:

  • CNS Development
  • Long pathways: Sensation and Motor Systems
  • Cerebrovascular Disease
  • Neuroblock Laboratories

Biomedical Graduate Program (Principals of Neurobiology; BIOM509):

  • Cell Fate Determination
  • Axon Guidance and Pathfinding
  • Synaptogenesis
  • Synapse Maturation and Refinement
  • Ion channels
  • Cellular potentials 

Topics in Stem Cells (BIOM505)

  • Pluripotency
  • Neural Differentiation
  • Reprogramming
  • Stem Cell Niche
  • Disease Modeling
  • Clinical Translation