molmed banner  

Department of Molecular Medicine

Linda Nowak

Linda Nowak

Associate Professor

Department of Molecular Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853
Office: (607) 253-3655
Lab: (607) 253-3658
Fax: (607) 253-3659


Research Interests

The overall focus of our research is on characterizing the mechanism of activation, deactivation and desensitization of glutamate receptor-channel proteins that are heterologously expressed in mammalian cells and in native neurons in primary culture.  The biological impetus for our research is to understand how the diverse functions of the three subfamilies of glutamate receptors (AMPA, kainate and NMDA), which have pre-post- and extrasynaptic roles in the brain, are related to their intrinsic biophysical properties.  In the last five years we have collaborated with Dr. Gabriela Popescu at the University of Buffalo and Dr. Robert Oswald in our department, performing detailed kinetic analysis of wild type NMDA (neuronal) and AMPA receptor-channels expressed in human embryonic kidney cells.  Our new work is focused on making point mutations in a part of a model AMPA receptor hypothesized to be involved in the transfer of energy from agonist binding to the opening the channel pore.  A second project involves studying the influence of cytoplasmic factors on the function of single AMPA receptor-channels in cell-attached and excised inside-out membrane patches. 


  • Ph.D.. - 1981   Neurosciences, University of Michigan, Rackham, MI
  • B.S. - 1974   Biology/Psychology, Syracuse University

Professional Experience

  • 1992-present   Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University
  • 2006   Visiting Scholar, Department of Biochemistry, SUNY Buffalo
  • 2000   Sabbatical, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University
  • 1993-1994   Visiting Scholar, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • 1985-1992   Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University
  • 1982-1985   Postdoctoral Researcher, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France
  • 1981-1982   Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Honors and Awards

  • 1993   NRSA Senior Fellowship 
  • 1982-1984   NSF-CNRS Exchange Scientist
  • 1981-1982   NIH Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1980-1981   Rackham Graduate Fellowship
  • 1982-1984   NSF-CNRS Exchange Scientist
  • 1974-1976   University of Michigan Fellowship
  • 1974   Phi Beta Kappa
  • 1970-1974   New York State Regents Scholarship

Professional Society Memberships

  • Society for Neurosciences
  • Biophysical Society

Professional Service

  • 2008-2013   Director, DVM-PhD Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University
  • 2003-present   Ad Hoc Reviewer, NICHD
  • 1999-2003   Member, NIH Mental Retardation Research Subcommittee of NICHD
  • 1995-1997   Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Study Section NLS1-special panels
  • 1994-1998   Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Mental Retardation Research Subcommittee of NICHD


Selected Publications

  1. Holley S.M., Ahmed A.H., Srinivasan J., Murthy S.E., Weiland G.A., Oswald R.E., Nowak L.M. (2012)  The loss of an electrostatic contact unique to AMPA receptor ligand binding domain 2 slows channel activation. Biochemistry 15:4015-4027.
  2. Poon K., Ahmed A.H., Nowak L.M., Oswald R.E.  (2011)  Mechanisms of modal activation of GluA3 receptors.  Mol. Pharmacol. 80:49-59.
  3. Nowak, L.M., and Wright, J.M. (1992) Slow voltage-dependent changes in channel open state probability modulate NMDA responses in Mg2+-free solutions.  Neuron 8:183-189.
  4. Ascher, P., and Nowak, L. (1988) The role of divalent cations in the NMDA responses of mouse central neurones in culture.  J. Physiol. (London) 399:247-266.
  5. Nowak, L., Bregestovski, P., Ascher, P., Herbet, A., and Prochiantz, A. (1984) Magnesium gates glutamate activated channels in mouse central neurones.  Nature  307:462-46.

       PubMed - Complete Listing