C. elegans synapse with presynapse in red and post-synapse in green

A number of CMB faculty are interested in the molecular function of the nervous system with emphasis in areas related to neural differentiation, neurodegeneration, synaptic mechanisms, and ion channels.

The study of neurodegeneration caused by prions (proteinaceous infectious particles) and prion – related diseases is a major focus area at Colorado State University, in part because Fort Collins became “ground zero” for Chronic Wasting Disease when it was discovered here in 1967.


Greg AmbergGregory Amberg
Professor (Biomedical Sciences)
Ion channels in arterial smooth muscle and their impact on arterial function. Changes in ion channel behavior during pathophysiological conditions such as hypertension.

Soham ChandaSoham Chanda
Assistant Professor (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
Neuronal Development and Dysfunction

Fred HoerndliFred Hoerndli
Assistant Professor (Biomedical Sciences)
Molecular mechanisms affecting transport of glutamate receptors, synaptic aging and neurodegeneration in C. elegans

Tom LaRocca
Assistant Professor (Heath & Exercise Science)
Biological mechanisms of healthspan, including proteome, genome and RNA homeostasis, and their effects on organismal function and brain health.

Julie MorenoJulie Moreno
Assistant Professor (Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences)
Prion biology

Eric RossEric Ross
Professor (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
Yeast prions as a model to study protein aggregation

Glenn TellingGlenn Telling
Professor (Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology)
Prion replication, prion species barriers and strain diversity, and the molecular basis of inherited human prion diseases

Karen Dobos
Professor (Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology)
Her lab primarily uses biochemical approaches to study the physiology of microbial diseases. While she and her team are most known for their work in biomarker discovery and systems biology for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they also actively work and collaborate to address novel questions around pathogen inactivation, vector-mycobacteria intersections, and pathogen/vector cryopreservation.

Ron TjalkensRonald Tjalkens
Professor (Environmental  Radiological Health Sciences)
Molecular neurotoxicology, regulation of nitric oxide synthase in mammalian astroglia, role of astroglial cells in Parkinsonian syndromes.

Stuart TobetStuart Tobet
Professor (Biomedical Sciences)
Development and differentiation of the neuroendocrine brain.

Jozsef VighJoszef Vigh
Professor (Biomedical Sciences);
Visual signal processing in the retina.

Mark ZabelMark Zabel
Professor (Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology)
Prion immunology

Affiliate Faculty

James Bamburg
Professor (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
Regulation of the cytoskeleton in neuronal growth and pathfinding; signal transduction pathways regulating actin dynamics; abnormalities in actin behavior in neurodegenerative diseases.

Ed Hoover
Professor (Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology)
University Distinguished Professor
Pathogenesis and prevention of retrovirus and prion infections of animals

Candace Mathiason
Associate Professor (Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology)
Prion and viral pathogenesis and transmission dynamics.

Noreen Reist
Professor (Biomedical Sciences)
Molecular dissection of neurotransmitter release

Michael Tamkun
Professor (Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
Ion channel molecular biology.


BMS 545 Functional Neuroanatomy
MIP 520
 Fundamentals of Prion Biology
NB 500 Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology Readings
NB 501 Mammalian Physiology (Neurology)
NB 503 Developmental Neurobiology
NB 505 Neuronal Circuits, Systems & Behavior
NB 586 Practicum – Techniques in Neuroscience
NB 600 Adv. Psy. Sensation & Perception
NB 750 Physiology of Ion Channels
NB 796B Neurobiology of Disease
PSY 600B Cognitive Neuroscience

Facilities and Resources

CMB Students

Casey-Tyler Berezin (Vigh Lab)Casey Tyler Berezin
(PhD, 2019 Cohort)
qCMB T32 Fellow 2020 – 22

Julie SunJulie Sun (Telling Lab)
(PhD 2017 Cohort)


Diana Lowe (Telling Lab)
(PhD 2021 Cohort)
qCMB T32 Fellow 2022-23


Kaz Knight (Hoerndli Lab)
(PhD 2019 Cohort)


Ban Alkurdi
(Chanda Lab)
(PhD 2021 Cohort)
Schlumberger Fellow 2022



Adaptive selection of a prion strain conformer corresponding to established North American CWD during propagation of novel emergent Norwegian strains in mice expressing elk or deer prion protein. Bian J, Kim S, Kane SJ, Crowell J, Sun JL, Christiansen J, Saijo E, Moreno JA, DiLisio J, Burnett E, Pritzkow S, Gorski D, Soto C, Kreeger TJ, Balachandran A, Mitchell G, Miller MW, Nonno R, Vikøren T, Våge J, Madslien K, Tran L, Vuong TT, Benestad SL, Telling GC.PLoS Pathog. 2021 Jul 26;17(7):e1009748.

 Endogenous Opioid Signaling in the Mouse Retina Modulates Pupillary Light Reflex. Cleymaet AM, Berezin CT, Vigh J.Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jan 8;22(2):554.

MAPK signaling and a mobile scaffold complex regulate AMPA receptor transport to modulate synaptic strength. Hoerndli FJ, Brockie PJ, Wang R, Mellem JE, Kallarackal A, Doser RL, Pierce DM, Madsen DM, Maricq AV.Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 29;38(13):110577

Co-activation of selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptors is required to reverse beta amyloid-induced Ca2+ hyperexcitation. Sun JL, Stokoe SA, Roberts JP, Sathler MF, Nip KA, Shou J, Ko K, Tsunoda S, Kim SNeurobiol Aging. 2019 Dec;84:166-177.


Kaila Nip (MS 2019, Kim Lab) – Research Associate at UT – Health San Antonio

Vanessa Selwyn (Ph.D. 2019, Telling Lab) – Graduate Program Grant Coordinator, CVMBS, Colorado State University

Katriana Popichak (Ph.D. 2018, Tjalkens Lab) – Assistant Professor, MIP Department at Colorado State University

Sean Hammond (Ph.D. 2018, Tjalkens Lab) – Field Application Scientist at Sartorius

Sarah Kane (Ph.D. 2017,  Zabel Lab) – Scientist II , GT Molecular , Fort Collins