Natalia V. Luchkina, PhD, received her PhD degree from the University of Helsinki in Finland. During her graduate studies, Dr. Luchkina explored a developmental profile of mechanisms underlying the induction and expression of long-term-potentiation at CA3-CA1 synapses in the hippocampus. Her results linked the expression of GluA4 subunits of the AMPA receptor to alterations in signaling requirements for the induction of long-term potentiation, explaining the switch in LTP kinase dependency during synapse maturation. She found that GluA4 subunit expression may define the signaling requirements for LTP and silent synapse activation during a critical period of synapse development and also demonstrated that maturation of glutamatergic synapses involves a critical period during which presynaptic function is highly susceptible to activity-dependent regulation through a PKC-dependent mechanism.
In the Bolshakov laboratory at McLean, Dr. Luchkina uses optogenetics to explore how brain functions underlying complex behavioral processes are regulated.