Steven J. Tavalin, Ph.D.

Steven J. Tavalin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
2105 Crowe Research Building
874 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-3007
Email: Steven J. Tavalin


  • Ph.D. Institution: Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
  • Postdoctoral: Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR


Research Interests

How do neurons modify their behavior in response to patterns of activity? To address this question my research employs a combination of biochemical, and electrophysiological techniques. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms by which intracellular signalling enzymes are directed towards ion channels to allow modulation of channel activity and its impact on excitatory transmission and neuronal excitability.

Representative Publications

  • Chiu CQ, Martenson JS, Yamazaki M, Natsume R, Sakimura K, Tomita S, Tavalin SJ, Higley MJ. Input-Specific NMDAR-Dependent Potentiation of Dendritic GABAergic Inhibition. Neuron. 2018 Jan 17;97(2):368-377.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.12.032. PubMed PMID: 29346754; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5777295.
  • Tavalin SJ, Colbran RJ. CaMKII-mediated phosphorylation of GluN2B regulates recombinant NMDA receptor currents in a chloride-dependent manner. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2017 Mar;79:45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2016.12.002. Epub 2016 Dec 18. PubMed PMID: 27998718; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5315591.
  • Bogard AS, Tavalin SJ. Protein Kinase C (PKC)ζ Pseudosubstrate Inhibitor Peptide Promiscuously Binds PKC Family Isoforms and Disrupts Conventional PKC Targeting and Translocation. Mol Pharmacol. 2015 Oct;88(4):728-35. doi: 10.1124/mol.115.099457. Epub 2015 Jul 21. PubMed PMID: 26199377; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4576679.
  • Chowdhury D, Marco S, Brooks IM, Zandueta A, Rao Y, Haucke V, Wesseling JF, Tavalin SJ, Pérez-Otaño I. Tyrosine phosphorylation regulates the endocytosis and surface expression of GluN3A-containing NMDA receptors. J Neurosci. 2013 Feb 27;33(9):4151-64. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2721-12.2013. PubMed PMID: 23447623; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3682218.
  • Le AV, Tavalin SJ, Dodge-Kafka KL. Identification of AKAP79 as a protein phosphatase 1 catalytic binding protein. Biochemistry. 2011 Jun 14;50(23):5279-91. doi: 10.1021/bi200089z. Epub 2011 May 16. PubMed PMID: 21561082; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3115558.
  • Brooks IM, Tavalin SJ. Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II inhibitors disrupt AKAP79-dependent PKC signaling to GluA1 AMPA receptors. J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 25;286(8):6697-706. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.183558. Epub 2010 Dec 14. PubMed PMID: 21156788; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3057809.

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