Dr. Megan KnochContact Information
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BA Biology - Capital University, Columbus, Ohio

PhD Physiology - Kent State University


Physiology, Neuroendocrinology


BIOL 352 Comparative Animal Physiology
BIOL 481/581 Endocrinology


I am currently interested in the role of synaptic zinc in the modulation of circadian rhythms. The pathological accumulation of intracellular zinc as a result of stroke and other disease states is under heavy scrutiny while comparatively little is known about the role endogenous zinc plays in altering neuron physiology or neurotransmission. Although vesicular zinc is found throughout the brain, it is more heavily concentrated in specific regions such as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. The SCN functions as the master circadian clock and can be altered, or reset, in response to environmental input including photic information from the retina. Glutamate, the neurotransmitter that encodes this photic information, binds to a glutamate receptor that is sensitive to modulation by zinc. Therefore, my research will focus on the following questions: 1.) does vesicular zinc co-localize with glutamate within the SCN, 2.) does vesicular zinc alter the glutamatergic transmission within the SCN and, and 3.) does this translate into a change in behavioral activity in rodent models?


Hershfinkel, M.; Kandler, K.; Knoch, M.E.; Dagan-Rabin, M.; Sekler, I.; Aizenman, E. Intracellular zinc inhibits KCC2 transporter activity. Accepted to Nature Neuroscience pending editorial corrections.

Ho, Y.; Samarasinghe, R.; Knoch, M.E.; Lewis, M.; Aizenman, E.; DeFranco, D.B. 2008. Selective inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatases by zinc accounts for extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2-dependent oxidative neuronal cell death. Mol Pharmacol. 74:1141-1151.

Knoch, M.E.; Hartnett, K.A.; Hara, H.; Kandler, K.; Aizenman, E. 2008. Microglia induce neurotoxicity via intraneuronal Zn2+ release and a K+ current surge. Glia. 56:89-96.

Knoch, M.E.; Siegel, D.; Duncan, M.J; Glass, J.D. 2006. Serotonergic mediation of constant light-potentiated nonphotic phase-shifting of the circadian locomotor activity rhythm in Syrian hamsters. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 291:R180-8.

Duncan, M.J.; Franklin, K.M.; Davis, V.A.; Grossman, G.H.; Knoch, M.E.; Glass, J.D. 2005. Short-term constant light potentiation of large-magnitude circadian phase shifts induced by 8-OH-DPAT: effects on serotonin receptors and gene expression in the hamster suprachiasmatic nucleus. European Journal of Neuroscience 22:2306-14.

Knoch, M.E.; Gobes, S.M.H.; Pavlovska, I.; Su, C.; Mistlberger, R.E.; Glass, J.D. 2004. Short-term exposure to constant light promotes strong circadian phase-resetting responses to nonphotic stimuli in Syrian hamsters. European Journal of Neuroscience 19:2779-2790.