Dr R Anne McKinney obtained her Ph.D, at the University of Ulster in 1992 after completing her BSc.(Hons)undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. She then spent the next 5 years in the Department of Neurophysiology at the Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Profs S.M. Thompson and B.H Gähwiler. In 1998 she obtained her own group at the Brain Research Institute University of Zurich. Dr McKinney has recently joined the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Dr. McKinneys principle research interest is the mechanisms involved in development and maintenance of excitatory synapses in the CNS, during physiological and pathological conditions, such as epilepsy and mental retardation. The synaptogenesis and maintenance of synaptic structures, key issues in neuroscience, are still poorly understood despite intensive research efforts. Her group’s studies are concentrated on the hippocampus a brain region thought to be involved in learning and memory. The McKinney lab is using a combination of techniques including, 4-dimensional confocal laser scanning microscopy, analysis of receptor subtype localization using serial electron microscopy, transgenic animals and advanced electrophysiological techniques to investigate the structure and function of dendritic spines and their synapses. These methods allows them assess the structural basis of synaptic function using multiple approaches.
Richards, D.A., de Palo, V., Caroni, P., Gähwiler, B.H. and McKinney, R.A. (2004). Synaptic activity regulates spine motility through interactions between actin and the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane. J Physiol. (Lond.)15;(Pt 2):503-512.
Savic, N., Lüthi, A., Gähwiler, B.H. and McKinney R.A. (2003). The dynamic range of CA3-CA1 synapses is independent of NMDA receptor activation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 100(9), 5503-5508.
Lüthi, A., Schwyzer, L., Mateos, J.M., Gähwiler, B.H. and McKinney, R.A. (2001). NMDA receptor activation limits the number of synaptic connections during hippocampal development. Nature Neurosci. 4, 1102-1107.
McKinney, R.A., Capogna, M., Dürr, R., Gähwiler, B.H. and Thompson, S.M. (1999). Miniature synaptic events maintain dendritic spines via AMPA receptor activation. Nature Neurosci. 2, 44-49.
McKinney, R.A., Debanne, D., Gähwiler, B.H., and Thompson, S.M. (1997). Lesion-induced axonal sprouting and hyperexcitabilty in hippocampal CA3 area: implications for the genesis of posttraumatic epilepsy. Nature Medicine. 3, 990-996.