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THOMAS D. PARSONS, V.M.D., Ph.D., B.A.
Associate Professor of Swine Production Medicine, Department of Clinical Studies – New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Secondary Appointment - Associate Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Research Areas: Swine production, Neurotransmitter release–auditory system, Synaptic mechanisms in auditory system, Swine health
PubMed Link
Contact Information:
University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
Dept of Clinical Studies
New Bolton Center
382 West Street Road
 Phone 610-925-6554
 Fax 610-925-6834
 Email thd@vet.upenn.edu

RESEARCH INTERESTS
Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release

KEY WORDS:
exocytosis, endocytosis, synaptic transmission, neurotransmitter release

RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
time-resolved detection of neurotransmitter release from single cells: cell membrane capacitance, amperometric voltametry, and voltage clamp of detector cells or sniffer patches; optical monitoring and modulation of intracellular calcium; fluorescent indicator dyes of calcium, and photolabile chelators of calcium; cell culture and brain slice-like preparations.

RESEARCH SUMMARY
My laboratory focuses on pre-synaptic mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Hearing dictates that the inner hair cell of the cochlea must release transmitter for prolonged periods and with exquisite temporal fidelity. Mechanisms of neurotransmitter release are being studied to understand the cellular and molecular specializations utilized by different parts of the nervous system to meet their unique requirements for neurotransmission.

Primary area of research:
Basic sciences – Neuroscience with a special emphasis on synaptic mechanisms in the auditory system.
Clinical science – Swine health and well-being

Peng, X., E.G. Hughes, E. H. Moscato, T.D. Parsons, J. Dalmau, R.J. Balice-Gordon Cellular plasticity induced by anti-AMPA receptor encephalitis antibodies Annals of Neurology 77: 381-98, 2015.

Moscato, E.H., X. Peng, J. Ankit, T.D. Parsons, J. Dalmau, R.J. Balice-Gordon Acute mechanisms underlying antibody effects in anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis Annals of Neurology 76: 108-19, 2014.

Avissar, M., J.H. Wittig, Jr., J.C. Saunders, T.D. Parsons Refractoriness enhances temporal coding by auditory nerve fibers J Neurosci 33: 7681-90, 2013.

Peng, X., T.D. Parsons, R.J. Balice-Gordon Determinants of synaptic strength vary across an axon arbor J Neurophysiol 107: 2430-41, 2012.

Hughes, E.G., X. Peng, A.J. Gleichman, M. Lai, L. Zhou, R. Tsou, T.D. Parsons, D.R. Lynch, J. Dalmau, R.J. Balice-Gordon Cellular and synaptic mechanisms of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis J Neurosci 28: 5866-75, 2010.

Bell, T.J., K.Y. Miyashiro, J.Y. Sul, P.T. Buckley, M.T. Lee, R. McCullough, J. Jochems, J. Kim, C.R. Cantor, T.D. Parsons, J. Eberwine Intron retention facilitates splice variant diversity in calcium-activated big potassium channel populations Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107: 21152-7, 2010.

*Wittig, J.H. Jr., T.D. Parsons Synaptic ribbon enables temporal precision of hair cell afferent synapse by increasing the number of readily releasable vesicles: A modeling study J Neurophysiol 100: 1724-1739, 2008.

Bell, T.J., K.Y. Miyashiro, J.Y. Sul, J. Jochems, P.G. Haydon, T.D. Parsons, J. Eberwine, Cytoplasmic BKCa channel pre-mRNAs contribute to the excitability of hippocampal neurons Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 12: 1901-6, 2008.

*Avissar, M., A.C. Furman, J.C. Saunders, T.D. Parsons Adaptation reduces spike count reliability, but not spike timing precision, of auditory nerve responses J Neurosci 13: 6461-72, 2007.

Parsons, T.D. Auditory fidelity Nature 444: 1013-4, 2006.

V.M.D. (Veterinary Medicine) University of Pennsylvania, 1986

Ph.D. (Neuroscience) University of Pennsylvania, 1989

B.A. (Biology & Neuroscience, Magna Cum Laude) Amherst College, 1982