School of Life Sciences

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Joern Steinert

Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Joern Steinert studied at the Humboldt University Berlin and graduated in 1996 with the Diplom in Biophysics. Following his PhD in Vascular Biology at King's College London (1997-2001), he took up postdoctoral positions in Tuebingen (2002) and Heidelberg (2004) to study physiological mechanisms of neurotransmission using mammalian and Drosophila model systems. After a position as a Senior Investigator with Prof Ian Forsythe at the MRC Toxicology Unit Leicester, he became Program Leader at the same Institute before starting an Assistant Professor position at the University of Nottingham in 2020. His research focuses on the regulation of neuronal excitability under activity-dependent mechanisms involving nitric oxide signaling and how regulation of the redox homeostasis in neurodegeneration associated with neuroinflammation impacts on neuropathology such as in Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Steinert is an Associate Editor for Cell Death Discovery and acts as a Review and Associate Editor for Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience in addition to serving as a Guest Editor for several journals including Free Radical Biology and Medicine, The Journal of Physiology and Cell Death Disease. He is an Associate Fellow of Higher Education UK (AFHEA), Fellow Member of the Physiological Society, UK and member of the BNA, UK and organized/chaired Symposia at the Annual Physiological Society Main Meeting (2012), The Main Meeting (2022) of the SFRR-Europe and the FENS meeting in 2022.

Expertise Summary

Our lab predominantly applies neurophysiological methodologies to study neuronal and synaptic plasticity and function as well as ion channel regulation. My main expertise lies in the electrophysiological assessment of neuronal function coupled with live imaging including measurements of intracellular calcium and nitric oxide and ATP dynamics.

We use mammalian model systems of disease, generate brain slice preparations for studying neuronal function and correlate data with behavioral phenotypes; Drosophila models are also used for optogenetic and morphological studies to address specific research questions. Several behavioral studies in adult flies and larvae include learning&memory and activity (negative geotaxis, locomotor) testing.

Models used in the lab: Drosophila melanogaster and mouse to study neuronal and synaptic function in health and disease including nitric oxide signaling.

Schematic of Nitric Oxide signaling at the synapse:

Morphology of the Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ, blue-DAPI, red-BRP, green-HRP):


Comparison of the effects of NO on glutamatergic synaptic transmission in mouse and fly:

figures model 2_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Current lab members:

Aelfwin Stone (PhD)

Jennifer Cale (PhD, Rotation)

Vlada Yarosh (MRes)

Megan de Lange (MRes)

Maria Haig (technical support)

Teaching Summary

Module Convenor For Neurobiology of Disease (LIFE/2071):

  • Lectures:

Dopamine pathways

Drugs of abuse, addiction and reward

Autism spectrum disorder

Neurobiology of circadian and sleep disorders

Co-existent neurotransmission salivary secretion

ADHD, stimulant and non- stimulant medication


Parkinson's disease and its treatment

Serotonergic pathways


HPA-axis endocrine regulation

Migraine and emesis


  • Workshops:

Neurobiology and treatment of Schizophrenia

Neurobiology and treatment of sleep and endocrine dysfunction

Research Summary

I am interested in investigating pathways involved in regulating neuronal and synaptic function and expanding into studying aberrant signalling in neurodegeneration. I have investigated molecular… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

I am interested in investigating pathways involved in regulating neuronal and synaptic function and expanding into studying aberrant signalling in neurodegeneration. I have investigated molecular mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction in mice developing neurodegeneration which display classical phenotypes of protein-misfolding neurological conditions such as occurring in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (prion-misfolding). In addition, I utilise advantages of the Drosophila model organism to study synaptic effects of protein misfolding and redox signalling, as well as optogenetic approaches, thus using complementary models to study neuronal function. In order to gain deeper insides into underlying and early-onset dysfunctional pathways in neurodegeneration, I assessed the metabolome in hippocampal and cortical tissue from prion-diseased mice. These data showed vast amounts of alterations in the neuronal metabolism, including glycolysis, arginine and prostaglandin pathways and oxidative stress signalling amongst many others. Importantly, dysfunction of these pathways has also been highlighted as predisposing and causal conditions during aging, thereby further facilitating and increasing the risk of developing neurodegenerative pathologies. Based on these data I developed new exciting projects related to neuroinflammation, redox and cellular stress signalling which includes oxidative and nitrergic stress.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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