Photo of Gary L. Westbrook, M.D.

Gary L. Westbrook M.D.

  •      (503) 494-5429
    • 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.

Read more

Areas of interest

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


  • M.D., Case Western Reserve University 1976

Honors and awards

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

Memberships and associations

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


  • "Immunolocalization of metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 in the rat olfactory bulb" Journal of Comparative Neurology September 1 1997
  • "Calcineurin acts via the C-terminus of NR2A to modulate desensitization of NMDA receptors" Neuropharmacology  2002
  • "Fatty acids increase neuronal hypertrophy of Pten knockdown neurons" Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience April 23 2014
  • "Distinct modes of dopamine and GABA release in a dual transmitter neuron" Journal of Neuroscience January 30 2013
  • "Voltage-gated currents in identified rat olfactory receptor neurons" Journal of Neuroscience  1991
  • "Membrane and synaptic properties of pyramidal neurons in the anterior olfactory nucleus" Journal of Neurophysiology April 2011
  • "[7] Electrophysiological techniques in dissociated tissue culture" ImmunoMethods  1983
  • "High concentrations of N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) selectively activate NMDA receptors on mouse spinal cord neurons in cell culture" Journal of Neuroscience  1986
  • "Experience-dependent maturation of the glomerular microcircuit" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America September 29 2009
  • "Special annual meeting issue" Journal of Neuroscience October 20 2004
  • "MicroRNA-132 regulates dendritic growth and arborization of newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America November 23 2010
  • "L-2-amino-3-phosphonopropionic acid competitively antagonizes metabotropic glutamate receptors 1α and 5 in Xenopus oocytes" European Journal of Pharmacology - Molecular Pharmacology Section April 28 1995
  • "Glutamate receptor update" Current Opinion in Neurobiology  1994
  • "Erratum" Journal of Physiology  1994
  • "MiR-132 mediates the integration of newborn neurons into the adult dentate gyrus" PLoS One  2011
  • "Activation kinetics reveal the number of glutamate and glycine binding sites on the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor" Neuron  1991
  • "Modulation of mEPSCs in olfactory bulb mitral cells by metabotropic glutamate receptors" Journal of Neurophysiology September 1997
  • "Defining affinity with the GABA(A) receptor" Journal of Neuroscience November 1 1998
  • "Activation kinetics of AMPA receptor channels reveal the number of functional agonist binding sites" Journal of Neuroscience  1998
  • "Amino-terminal ligands prolong NMDA receptor- mediated EPSCs" Journal of Neuroscience June 6 2012
  • "The inhibition of single N-methyl-D-aspartate-activated channels by zinc ions on cultured rat neurones" Journal of Physiology  1990
  • "Mixedâ€�agonist action of excitatory amino acids on mouse spinal cord neurones under voltage clamp." Journal of Physiology September 1 1984
  • "Intracellular domains of NR2 alter calcium-dependent inactivation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors" Molecular Pharmacology  2002
  • "Fast NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic currents in neurons from mice lacking the ε2 (NR2B) subunit" Journal of Neurophysiology  2000
  • "Modulation of excitatory amino acid receptors by group IIB metal cations in cultured mouse hippocampal neurones" Journal of Physiology  1989
  • "On the apparent membrane resistance change evoked by L-glutamic acid in mouse spinal neurones in culture" Journal of Physiology  1984
  • "Synaptic excitation in cultures of mouse spinal cord neurones" Journal of Physiology March 1 1986
  • "Early developmental actions of endocrine disruptors on the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and cerebral cortex" Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part B: Critical Reviews July 2011
  • "Distribution of metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 messenger RNA in the developing and adult rat brain" Neuroscience  1995
  • "Calcium-induced actin depolymerization reduces NMDA channel activity" Neuron  1993

Additional information

Edit profile