Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Psychiatry, and of Biochemistry
Ted Abel, Ph.D.
Ted Abel, Ph.D.
Scientific Council Member (Joined 2015)
2000 Freedman Prize for Exceptional Basic Research
1996 Young Investigator Grant
Dr. Abel’s research focuses on memory consolidation, the cellular and molecular process by which long-term memory is stored. He pioneered the use of genetic approaches to manipulate cellular signaling processes in neurons, and his work on protein kinase A was the first to functionally connect long-lasting forms of synaptic plasticity to memory in mammals. In creative experiments examining the role of sleep in memory, Abel found that brief periods of sleep deprivation impaired memory consolidation. Using a combination of molecular, genetic, and viral approaches, he determined that sleep loss impacts cAMP signaling, protein synthesis and spine structure, making him the first to identify molecular approaches that reverse the impact of sleep loss on memory storage. Throughout his career, Abel has used knowledge of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory storage to understand the cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability. His recent work on mouse models of autism has defined for the first time a potential molecular mechanism underlying the male bias of this disorder.
He received his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University working with Tom Maniatis and pursued postdoctoral training working with Eric Kandel at Columbia University. From 1998 to 2016, Dr. Abel was at the University of Pennsylvania where he was the Brush Family Professor of Biology, Director of the Biological Basis of Behavior Program and Director of an NIMH-funded predoctoral training program in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. In 2017, he moved to the University of Iowa as the founding Director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute.
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