Skip to content

Principal Investigator

Photo of Barry Kaplan

Barry Kaplan, Ph.D.

Section on Neurobiology


Dr. Kaplan received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from Hofstra University and his Ph.D. degree in cellular and developmental biology from Cornell University. After completing postdoctoral training in molecular neurobiology at the Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, he joined the faculty of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology of the Cornell University Medical College. In 1983, he moved to the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he became Director of the Molecular Neurobiology and Genetics Program. In 1996, he relocated to the NIMH as Associate Director of Fellowship Training in the Division of Intramural Research. Dr. Kaplan’s laboratory is studying the subcellular compartmentation of neuronal gene expression.

Research Interests

The Section on Neurobiology is studying the subcellular compartmentation of neuronal gene expression. The goal of this laboratory is to delineate the composition, trafficking and function of the mRNA populations present in the axon and presynaptic nerve terminal. The role played by micro RNAs in the regulation of the local protein synthetic systems is also being investigated. Our studies employ primary sympathetic neurons cultured in Campenot multicompartment chambers as a model mammalian neuronal system. It is hypothesized that key elements of the cytomatrix, axon transport system, translation apparatus and proteins needed to maintain mitochondrial activity are synthesized locally in the axon, and that the local synthesis of protein plays a key role in neuronal development, regeneration and plasticity.

Selected Publications

MicroRNA-338 regulates the axonal expression of multiple nuclear-encoded mitochondrial mRNAs encoding subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation machinery. Aschrafi A, Kar AN, Natera-Naranjo O, Macgibeny MA, Gioio AE, Kaplan BB. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Jul 8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22773120.

Identification and quantitative analyses of microRNAs located in the distal axons of sympathetic neurons. Natera-Naranjo O, Aschrafi A, Gioio AE, Kaplan BB. RNA. 2010 Aug;16(8):1516-29. doi: 10.1261/rna.1833310. Epub 2010 Jun 28. PMID: 20584895.

Regulation of axonal trafficking of cytochrome c oxidase IV mRNA. Aschrafi A, Natera-Naranjo O, Gioio AE, Kaplan BB. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2010 Apr;43(4):422-30. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Feb 6. PMID: 20144716.

Axonal protein synthesis and the regulation of local mitochondrial function. Kaplan BB, Gioio AE, Hillefors M, Aschrafi A. Results Probl Cell Differ. 2009;48:225-42. doi: 10.1007/400_2009_1. PMID: 19343315.

Building 49, Room B1B80, MSC 4411

Phone: +1 301 435 8978
Fax: +1 301 594 3189