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

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

Seonil KimSeonil Kim
Assistant Professor (Biomedical Sciences)
Synapse biology, neuron function and cognition in brain disorders.

Tom LaRocca

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 (Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology)
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

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
Associate 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.

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 – 21

Julie SunJulie Sun (Telling Lab)


Glial-neuronal signaling mechanisms underlying the neuroinflammatory effects of manganese.(2018) Popichak KA, Afzali MF, Kirkley KS, Tjalkens RB.
J Neuroinflammation.  15(1):324

HIV induces synaptic hyperexcitation via cGMP-dependent protein kinase II activation in the FIV infection model. (2018) Sztukowski K, Nip K, Ostwald PN, Sathler MF, Sun JL, Shou J, Jorgensen ET, Brown TE, Elder JH, Miller C, Hofmann F, VandeWoude S, Kim S. PLoS Biol.16:e2005315

Compensatory Expression of Nur77 and Nurr1 Regulates NF-κB-Dependent Inflammatory Signaling in Astrocytes. (2018) Popichak KA, Hammond SL, Moreno JA, Afzali MF, Backos DS, Slayden RD, Safe S, Tjalkens RB. Mol Pharmacol. 94:1174-1186

Complement Regulatory Protein Factor H Is a Soluble Prion Receptor That Potentiates Peripheral Prion Pathogenesis. (2017) Kane SJ, Farley TK, Gordon EO, Estep J, Bender HR, Moreno JA, Bartz J, Telling GC, Pickering MC, Zabel MD. J Immunol. 199:3821-3827


Dayton Pierce Dayton Pierce (Hoerndli Lab)
GAANN Teaching Fellow 2016 – 17
GAUSSI NSF – NRT Fellow 2018 – 19

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

Vanessa Selwyn (Ph.D. 2019, Telling Lab) – Intern – Poudre Heritage Alliance

Katriana Popichak (Ph.D. 2018, Tjalkens Lab) – Instructor – Colorado State University

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

Sarah Kane (Ph.D. 2017,  Zabel Lab) – Post-doctoral Fellow, Colorado State University