Graduate Studies Faculty

« Back to Search List

Robert Duvoisin, Ph.D.

Admin Unit: SOM-Physiology & Pharmacology Department
Phone: 503-418-2665
Mail Code: L334
Physiology & Pharmacology
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Research Interests:
retina neurobiology, metabotropic glutamate receptors » PubMed Listing
Preceptor Rotations
Academic Term Available Winter 2016 Yes Spring 2016 Yes
Faculty Mentorship
Dr. Duvoisin has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.

Summary of Current Research

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate central nervous system. In addition to its role in normal brain processes, such as learning and memory, imbalances in glutamatergic function can result in excitotoxic neuronal cell death, epileptic seizures or psychiatric diseases. Glutamate stimulates two classes of receptors: 1) glutamate-gated ion channels, so called ionotropic receptors, which are subdivided into the NMDA, AMPA, and kainate types, and 2) G protein-coupled metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Research in the Duvoisin lab is currently focused on group-III mGluRs, a subset of related mGluRs that are selectively activated by L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4, also abbreviated APB). Group-III mGluRs comprise mGluR4, -R6, -R7, and -R8.

mGluR6 is nearly exclusively expressed in the retina, in the tips of ON-bipolar cells dendrites, where it mediates the depolarizing response of ON-bipolar cells to light. Since all photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) release glutamate, the opposite responses of the second-order ON- and OFF-bipolar cells is generated by their expression of mGluR6 and AMPA/kainate receptors, respectively. One project in the laboratory is to explore the regulation of the signaling cascade activated by mGluR6.
The distribution and function of the other group-III mGluRs, mGluR4, -R7, and -R8, is less well understood. In the brain, group-III receptors are generally presynaptic and reduce glutamate release, thus providing negative feedback. Presynaptic mGluRs also occur on GABAergic terminals, so called heteroreceptors, and depress GABA release when stimulated by glutamate released from a nearby terminal. The distribution and function of group-III mGluRs in the retina is being studied.
The Duvoisin lab has generated mice deficient for mGluR8 and found that these mice are overweight and have increased measures of anxiety compared to wild-type mice. In collaboration with Dr. Jacob Raber (Dept. Behavioral Neuroscience), the role of mGluR8 in anxiety is being examined.

Recent Publications

  • Davis MJ, Haley T, Duvoisin RM, Raber J (2012) Measures of anxiety, sensorimotor function, and memory in male and female mGluR4(-/-) mice. Behav Brain Res 229:21-28.
  • Gosnell HB, Silberman Y, Grueter BA, Duvoisin RM,  Raber J, Winder DG (2011) mGluR8 modulates excitatory transmission in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in a stress-dependent manner. Neuropsychopharm 36:1599-1607.
  • Duvoisin RM, Villasana L, Davis M, Winder DG, Raber J (2011) Opposing roles of mGluR8 in measures of anxiety involving non-social and social challenges, Behav Brain Res 221:50-54.
  • Duvoisin RM, Pfankuch T, Wilson JM,  Grabell J, Chhajlani V, Brown DG, Johnson E,  Raber J (2010) Acute pharmacological modulation of mGluR8 reduces measures of anxiety. Behav Brain Res 212:168-173.
  • Jeffrey BG, Morgans CW, Puthussery T, Wensel TG, Brown RL, Duvoisin RM (2010) R9AP Stabilizes RGS11-Gβ5 in ON-Bipolar Cells and Accelerates the Light Response Measured with the Electroretinogram. Vis Neurosci 26:1-9.
  • Quraishi S, Reed BT, *Duvoisin RM, *Taylor WR (2010) Selective activation of mGluR8 receptors modulates retinal ganglion cell light responses. Neuroscience 166:935-941.
  • Duvoisin RM, Villasana L, Pfankuch T, Raber J (2010) Sex-dependent cognitive phenotype of mice lacking mGluR8. Behav Brain Res 209:21-26.
  • Zhang J, Jeffrey BG, Morgans CW, Burke NS, Haley T, Duvoisin RM, Brown RL (2010) RGS7 and 11 complexes accelerate the ON-bipolar cell light response. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 51:1121-1129.
  • Morgans CW, Zhang J, Jeffrey BG, Nelson SM, Burke NS, Duvoisin RM, Brown RL (2009) TRPM1 is required for the depolarizing light response in retinal ON-bipolar cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:19174-19178. 
  • Puthussery T, Gayet J, Pandey S, Duvoisin RM, Taylor RW (2009) Differential loss and preservation of glutamate receptor function in bipolar cells in the rd10 mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa. Eur J Neurosci 29:1533-1542. 
  • Morgans CW, Liu W, Wensel TG, Bearnot B, Perez-Leon JA, Brown RL, Duvoisin RM (2007) Gβ5-RGS complexes co-localize with mGluR6 in retinal ON-bipolar cells. Eur J Neurosci 26:2899-2905.
  • QuraishiS, GayetJ, Morgans CW, Duvoisin RM (2007) Distribution of group-III metabotropic glutamate receptors in the retina. J Comp Neurol 501:931-943.
  • Wu G, Glickstein S, Liu W, Fujita T, Li W, Yang Q, Duvoisin R, Wan Y (2007) The anaphase-promoting complex coordinates initiation of lens differentiation. Mol Biol Cell 18:1018-1029.
  • Adamus G, Webb S. Shiraga S, Duvoisin RM (2006) Anti-recoverin antibodies induce an increase in intracellular calcium, leading to apoptosis in retinal cells. J Autoimmun 26:146-53.
  • Duvoisin RM, Morgans CW, Taylor WR (2005) The mGluR6 receptors in the retina: Analysis of a unique G protein signaling pathway. Cellsci Rev 2, 225-243.
  • Duvoisin RM, Zhang C, Pfankuch TF, O’Connor H, Gayet-Primo J, Quraishi S, Raber J (2005) Increased measures of anxiety and weight gain in mice lacking the group III metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR8. Eur J Neurosci 22:425-436.



  • Ph.D., University of Geneva, Switzerland, 1987

Previous Positions

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA, 1987-1991
  • Associate Professor, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, 1991-2001