Michael Koelle, PhD


Research Departments & Organizations

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Biochemistry; Biophysics; Caenorhabditis elegans; Molecular Biology; Neurobiology; Neurotransmitter Agents; RGS Proteins; Serotonin

Research Summary

We study the mechanism of signaling by neurotransmitters, the molecules neurons use to communicate with each other. We first identify and study behavioral mutants of the nematode C. elegans in which neurotransmitter signaling is defective. By cloning the genes defined by the mutations we can identify the molecules responsible for signaling, study them biochemically, and determine the detailed mechanisms underlying neurotransmission. Using this approach, we discovered a large family of Regulators of G Protein Signaling (RGS proteins) that directly inactivate the G proteins that mediate much of the signaling in the brain. One current project focuses how signaling by the neurotransmitter GABA is regulated to reduce neural activity enough to prevent seizures but not so much as to prevent any activity. Another project seeks to uncover the basic mechanisms of signaling by the neurotransmitter serotonin, defects in which are thought to underlie depression in humans.

Specialized Terms: C. Elegans; G Protein; Neurotransmission; RGS Protein; Serotonin; Molecular Genetics; Neurobiology; Neurotransmitters; Proteins and Macromolecules; Receptors


  • Genetics Beijing, China (2010 - 2010)

    Dr. Koelle and Dr. Tian Xu (Yale Genetics Department) will be teaching a graduate level genetics course at the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing, China, in Spring 2010. We will be working with NIBS faculty to help them implement this course, originally developed at Yale, for...

Selected Publications

See list of PubMed publications

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Contact Info

Michael Koelle, PhD
Mailing Address
Molecular Biophysics and BiochemistryPO Box 208024, Dept. of MB&B
333 Cedar Street

New Haven, CT 06520-8024

Koelle Lab