Dr. James H. Eberwine, Ph.D.

Elmer Holmes Bobst Professor Of Pharmacology  and Translational Therapeutics
Co-Director Penn Program in Single Cell Biology
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Topic: "Single Cell Multimodal Variation: Systems Constraints on Variability"
Feb 20th: 9 am EST, 8 am CST, 6 am PST, 7.30 pm IST

Dr. James H. Eberwine


B.S. (Biochemistry) Yale University, 1978. M.A. (Biochemistry) Columbia University, 1979. Ph.D. (Biochemistry) Columbia University, 1984.
Description Of Research Expertise
Dr. Eberwine is a molecular neurobiologist whose research efforts focus on understanding the functioning of individual neurons and subregions of neurons, called dendrites, by using molecular biological tools. He has developed various analytical procedures that permit characterization of the mRNA and protein complement of single cells.

Molecular biology; single-cell genetics; cDNA cloning; in situ hybridization; in situ transcription; mRNA amplification; expression profiling 

The research efforts of my laboratory are directed towards understanding the molecular basis of neuronal functioning. Our experimental approach is reductionist in nature and involves analysis of gene expression in individual cells dispersed in culture, in the live slice preparation or from fixed pathological tissue specimens. We have developed various procedures that have enabled the analysis of cellular functioning using single cells as the experimental model. These procedures include those that permit an analysis of the mRNA complement, the protein complement and an assessment of mRNA movement and translation within single cells. This level of analysis is important since an individual cells biochemical compostion may be diluted by that of surrounding cells. We are currently generating molecular and bioprocess fingerprints of various cell types and disease states. When this is complete, we hope that it will be possible to alter the cellular response to various challenges by altering the levels of these biological processes in a predictable manner. As part of these studies, we are examining the role of subcellular localization of mRNAs in regulating cellular function. We have shown that multiple mRNAs are localized in neuronal dendrites and have provided a formal proof of local mRNA translation in dendrites. Further, we have recently shown that the intracellular sites of localization and translation of these mRNAs can be altered by synaptic stimulation highlighting for the first time that in vivo translation of a mRNA can occur at different rates in distinct regions of a single cell (translation is primarily exponential in dendrites and linear in the cell soma). These insights into the cell biology of neuronal function highlight the complexities that remain to be understood.