Erik Roberson, M.D., Ph.D.
Primary Department Affiliation: Neurology
Primary Research Area: Neurodegeneration and Neurodegenerative Disorders
Neurotransmitter and Neurotrophin Receptors and Cell Signaling
Learning, Memory, and Synaptic Plasticity
Ion Channels and Synaptic Function
Neurobiology of Alzheimer Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia
The Roberson lab studies the neurobiology of two common neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia, with a focus on understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that will lead to better treatments. Members apply modern neuroscience approaches to study animal and cellular models of these conditions. One area of interest is in following up on our discovery of a permissive role of the microtubule-associated protein tau that makes the brain sensitive to AD-related neuronal dysfunction and seizures (Science 316:750), and in how modulating levels of tau might be harnessed as a treatment for these conditions. Another focus is on new animal models of FTD and determining how mutations in tau and progranulin cause the social and behavioral dysfunction seen in this condition.
Dr. Roberson received his A.B. with highest honors from Princeton University in 1990. He earned an M.D. and Ph.D in neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he studied molecular mechanisms of learning and memory using a combination of electrophysiology and biochemistry. He completed a residency in neurology at the University of California San Francisco, where he also served as Chief Resident in Neurology. After residency, he completed a clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology with Dr. Bruce Miller at UCSF and resumed basic research in the laboratory of Dr. Lennart Mucke at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, initiating his current studies of neurodegenerative disease using mouse models. He was appointed as Assistant Professor of Neurology at UCSF in 2005. In 2008, he moved to UAB where he is now Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology and the Virginia B. Spencer Scholar in Neuroscience.