Michael A. King, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Dr. Michael A. King
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
University of Florida College of Medicine
Box 100267
Gainesville, FL 32610-0267
Telephone: D108 VAMC, 352-376-1611×5032 (Office); ARB R5-148, 352-392-3557; D105 VAMC, 352-376-1611×6499 (Lab)
Email: making@ufl.edu

Position

Associate Scientist, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
University of Florida College of Medicine

Research Area

My primary research interest is progressive neurodegenerative diseases, including alcohol-mediated neuropathology.

Training

Ph.D., University of Florida College of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience,1985. PostdoctoraI Fellow, University of Virginia, Department of Neurological Surgery (with Dr. William Levy); Research Associate, University of Florida College of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience (with Dr. Don Walker).

Current Research

My dissertation project examined chronic ethanol effects on dendritic spine density in hippocampal pyramidal and granule cells, and was the first demonstration that neuronal structural pathology induced by prolonged ethanol consumption could reverse during abstinence. The project also examined chronic ethanol effects on injury-induced synaptic remodeling in the dentate gyrus. After returning to the lab as a postdoc, we characterized chronic ethanol effects on neurotrophic factor expression and signaling, discovered selective ethanol effects on synaptic long-term depression, and identified cellular mechanisms of acute ethanol toxicity.

More recently our focus has shifted to neurodegeneration from causes other than alcohol, and we have worked on modeling and therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases for nearly 15 years. We have made significant contributions to the development and refinement of tools for brain gene delivery using viral and non-viral vector approaches. My lab has developed and applied quantitative stereological and histometric techniques, and electrophysiological paradigms, to address hypotheses about the mechanisms of neuropathology in human tissue, animals, and in vitro models of progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and frontotemporal dementia, chronic alcoholism, epilepsy, trauma, stroke, developmental disorders, and normal aging. Much of this research has involved hippocampal neurobiology, using anatomical, behavioral, electrophysiological, biochemical, and molecular methods to investigate the organization, connectivity, function, development, and pathology of this temporal lobe structure. Neuroprotection by neurotrophic factors and pharmacological reagents has also been a long-standing research interest. Productive collaborations with neurologists, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, structural biologists, and engineers demonstrate the broad perspective and range of techniques we bring to the translational development of genetic correction and pharmacological therapeutics for neurodegenerative disease.

Recent Publications

Klein RL, Wang DB, King MA (2009): Versatile somatic gene transfer for modeling
Neurodegenerative diseases. Neurotox Res.,16(3): 329-42.

Kumar A, Thinschmidt JS, Foster TC, King MA (2007): Aging effects on the limits and
stability of long term synaptic potentiation and depression in rat hippocampal area CA1. J
Neurophysiol., 98(2): 594-601.

Klein RL, Lin W-L, Dickson DW, Lewis J, Hutton M, Duff K, Meyer EM, King MA (2004):
Rapid neurofibrillary tangle formation after localized gene transfer of mutated tau. Am J
Pathol., 164(1): 347-53.

Thinschmidt JS, Walker DW, King MA (2003): Chronic ethanol treatment reduces the
magnitude of hippocampal LTD in the adult rat. Synapse, 48: 189–197.