Peter J. West



Research Assistant Professor

Office Location:
Skaggs Pharmacy Building RM 206


(801) 587-9530

  • B.S. 1997, Lehigh University (Biochemistry)
  • Ph.D. 2003, University of Utah, (Neuroscience)

Research Interests

Dr. West is a staff scientist in the NIH sponsored Anticonvulsant Drug Development Program where he directs studies determining the electrophysiological mechanism of action of proprietary investigational compounds. Additionally, his research is focused on the pharmacological treatment of diseases that affect cognition such as Epilepsy, Down syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease. In order to identify novel molecular targets and test potential treatments, an understanding of the pathophysiological basis of cognitive deficit in these diseases must first be obtained and preclinical model systems must be developed. Presently, studies intended to characterize synaptic plasticity deficits and cognitive dysfunction in animal models of Epilepsy are underway. Furthermore, these projects seek to discover and characterize novel treatments to correct these deficits or to treat seizures and prevent epileptogenesis without affecting synaptic plasticity associated with learning and memory. To achieve these goals, the lab currently uses electrophysiological, pharmacological, behavioral, and immunohistochemical techniques. Of particular note, Dr. West's laboratory uses specialized equipment which allows the experimenter to perform simultaneous recordings from multiple brain slices, thus allowing for the high-throughput screening of compounds for their effects on long-term synaptic plasticity in a manner that accounts for the day-to-day variability often observed in physiological experiments that use in-vitro brain slices.

Selected Publications

  • Raunak Basu, Xin Duan, Shruti Muralidhar, Matthew R. Taylor, E. Anne Martin, Yueqi Wang, Luke Gangi-Wellman, Masahito Yamagata, Peter J. West, Joshua R. Sanes, and Megan E. Williams. Non-canonical, heterophilic cadherin interactions regulate layer-specific synaptic potentiation in the hippocampus. Neuron (2017). In Press.
  • Naveen Nagarajan, Jeffrey S. Anderson, Bryan W. Jones, Peter J. West, Clement Vachet, Allred McKay, Osama Abdullah, Lane F Smith, Julian Lipio, Shotaro Matsuoka, Guido Gerig, Robert Marc, and Mario R. Capecchi. Cortico-striatal connectivity is defective in Hoxb8 mutant mice. Nature Molecular Psychiatry (2017). In Press.
  • Gregory J. Remigio, Jaycie L. Loewen, Sage Heuston, Colin Helgeson, H. Steve White, Karen S. Wilcox, Peter J. West. Corneal kindled C57BL/6 mice exhibit saturated dentate gyrus long-term potentiation and associated memory deficits in the absence of overt neuron loss. Neurobiology of Disease. 105, 221–234 (2017). PMID: 28624414
  • Cameron S. Metcalf, Peter J. West, Kyle Thomson, Sharon Edwards, Misty D. Smith, Karen S. Wilcox. Development and Pharmacological Characterization of the Rat 6 Hz Model of Partial Seizures. Epilepsia 58, 1073–1084 (2017). PMID: 28449218
  • Melissa L. Barker-Haliski, Kristina Johnson, Peggy Billingsley, Jennifer Huff, Laura J. Handy, Rizvana Khaleel, Zhenmei Lu, Matthew J. Mau, Timothy H. Pruess, Carlos Rueda, Gerald Saunders, Tristan K. Underwood, Fabiola Vanegas, Misty D. Smith, Peter J. West, and Karen S. Wilcox. Validation of a Preclinical Drug Screening Platform for Pharmacoresistant Epilepsy. Neurochem Res 161, 695 (2017). PMID: 28303498
  • Dipan C. Patel, Glenna Wallis, E. Jill Dahle, Pallavi B. McElroy, Kyle E. Thomson, Raymond J. Tesi, David E. Szymkowski, Peter J. West, Roy M. Smeal, Manisha Patel, Robert S. Fujinami, H. Steve White, and Karen S. Wilcox. Hippocampal TNFα Signaling Contributes to Seizure Generation in an Infection-Induced Mouse Model of Limbic Epilepsy. eNeuro 4, (2017). PMID: 28497109
  • Dan Kaufmann, Peter J. West, Misty D. Smith, Boris Yagen, Meir Bialer, Marshall Devor, H. Steve White, K.C. Brennan. sec-Butylpropylacetamide (SPD), a new amide derivative of valproic acid for the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Pharmacol Res 117, 129-139 (2016). PMID: 27890817
  • Anne B. Walls, Sean P. Flynn, Peter J. West, Margit S. Müller, Lasse K. Bak, Grzegorz Bulaj, Arne Schousboe, H. Steve White. The anticonvulsant action of the galanin receptor agonist NAX-5055 involves modulation of both excitatory- and inhibitory neurotransmission. Epilepsy Res 121, 55–63 (2016). PMID: 26894875
  • J Michael Gee, Michael N Economo, Markus Rothermel, Daniela Brunert, Nathan A Smith, Fernando Fernandez, S Craig Morris, Amy Talbot, Sierra Palumbos, Jennifer Ichida, Jason Shepherd, Peter J. West, Matt Wachowiak, Mario R Capecchi, Karen S Wilcox, John A White, Petr Tvrdik. A new versatile Cre-dependent GCaMP5 reporter mouse. Neuron. 83(5): 1058-72 (2014). PMCID: PMC4156920
  • West, PJ, Saunders, GW, Remigio, GJ, Wilcox, KS & White, HS. Antiseizure drugs differentially modulate theta-burst induced long-term potentiation in C57BL/6 mice. Epilepsia 55, 214–223 (2014). PMCID: PMC3945279
  • Umpierre AD, Remigio GJ, Dahle EJ, Bradford K, Alex AB, Smith MD, West PJ, White HS, Wilcox KS.Impaired cognitive ability and anxiety-like behavior following acute seizures in the Theiler's virus model of temporal lobe epilepsy. Neurobiology of Disease 64C, 98–106 (2014). PMCID: PMC4353639
  • West PJ, Marcy VR, Marino MJ, Schaffhauser H. Activation of the 5-HT6 Receptor Attenuates Long-Term Potentiation and Facilitates GABAergic Neurotransmission in Rat Hippocampus. Neuroscience 2009 164: 692-701. PMID: 19660530
  • West PJ, Dalpé-Charron A, Wilcox KS. Differential Contribution of Kainate Receptors to EPSCs in Superficial Layer Neurons of the Rat Medial Entorhinal Cortex. Neuroscience 2007 May: 146(3):1000-12. PMID: 17395391
  • West PJ, Bulaj G, Olivera BM, Yoshikami D. Effects of delta-conotoxins PVIA and SVIE on sodium channels in the amphibian sympathetic nervous system. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2005 Dec;94(6):3916-24. PMID: 16107523
  • Bulaj G*, West PJ*, Garrett JE, Marsh M, Zhang M, Norton RS, Smith BJ, Yoshikami D, Olivera BM. Novel conotoxins from Conus striatus and Conus kinoshitai selectively block TTX-resistant sodium channels. Biochemistry. 2005 May 17;44(19):7259-65 [*]: Authors contributed equally to this work. PMID: 15882064
  • Keizer DW, West PJ, Lee EF, Yoshikami D, Olivera BM, Bulaj G, Norton RS. Structural basis for tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channel binding by µ-conotoxin SmIIIA. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2003 Nov 21;278(47):46805-13. PMID: 12970353
  • West PJ, Bulaj G, Garrett JE, Olivera BM, Yoshikami D. µ-Conotoxin SmIIIA, a potent inhibitor of tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channels in amphibian sympathetic and sensory neurons. Biochemistry. 2002 Dec 24;41(51):15388-93. PMID: 12484778
  • Bulaj G, DeLaCruz R, Azimi-Zonooz A, West P, Watkins M, Yoshikami D, Olivera BM. delta-Conotoxin structure/function through a cladistic analysis. Biochemistry. 2001 Nov 6;40(44):13201-8. PMID: 11683628
  • Craig AG, Zafaralla G, Cruz LJ, Santos AD, Hillyard DR, Dykert J, Rivier JE, Gray WR, Imperial J, DelaCruz RG, Sporning A, Terlau H, West PJ, Yoshikami D, Olivera BM. An O-glycosylated neuroexcitatory conus peptide. Biochemistry. 1998 Nov 17;37(46):16019-25. PMID: 9819194

Book Chapters

  • Wilcox KS, West PJ, Dichter MA. Chapter 22: Excitatory Synaptic Transmission. In Epilepsy: A Comprehensive Textbook, Second Edition. Engel J, Pedley TA, Aicardi J, Dichter MA, Moshé SL, ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007, Volume 1, pp. 233-244

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