Headshot photo of Gary L. Westbrook, M.D.

Gary L. Westbrook, M.D.

  • Professor, Vollum Institute
  • Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute
  • Rocky and Julie Dixon Professor of Neurology, Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research


Dr. Westbrook received clinical training in Internal Medicine and Neurology in Boston and St. Louis, and research training at the National Institutes of Health. He is senior scientist at the Vollum Institute and the Dixon Professor of Neurology at OHSU. His research interests are the mechanisms of synaptic transmission in the nervous system. Dr. Westbrook has been active in recruitment of faculty to the Jungers Center and in OHSU training activities in disease-oriented neuroscience research. He initiated the Neurobiology of Disease course in the graduate program and served as director of the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program from 2008–2018.

Researchers in the Westbrook Lab would like to understand how synapses and small circuits do their work. Our earlier work was mostly directed at the level of receptors, particularly N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, and the function of single synapses. Our efforts have now largely shifted to studies of small networks (microcircuits) in the hippocampus. Our goal is to understand how such circuits are formed, regulate their activity and contribute to the function of neural systems.

Education and training

    • M.D., 1976, Case Western Reserve University

Memberships and associations:

  • Editor-In-Chief, Journal of Neuroscience (2003-2007)
  • Senior Editor, eLife (2015- )

Areas of interest

  • neurogenesis
  • hippocampal microcircuits
  • glutamate receptors
  • epilepsy
  • regeneration and repair
  • synaptic transmission

Honors and awards

  • Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, NINDS, NIH (1993)
  • MERIT Award, NIMH, NIH (1997)
  • National Academy of Medicine (elected member, 2008)



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