Scripps Florida - The Scripps Research Institute Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience


Samuel Young, Ph.D.

Samuel Young

Group Leader
Max Planck Florida Institute

Adjunct Assistant Professor- Scripps Florida, Department of Neuroscience

Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2000

Max Planck Florida Institute
One Max Planck Way
Jupiter, Florida 33458
Telephone: 561-972-9402


Research Interests

My research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic function. Understanding the most complex problems in synaptic biology requires multidisciplinary approaches which allow for precise quantitative measurements. To do so, we combine electrophysiological, Ca2+ imaging, biophysical and morphological methods in conjunction with molecular perturbations using recombinant viral vectors to study interactions among key synaptic proteins in modulating synaptic transmission, plasticity, development and maintenance. In particular, we are focused on the roles of intracellular calcium in the mechanisms of their actions in relationship to synaptic proteins and their regulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity. We use the calyx of Held nerve terminal, a giant presynaptic terminal in the auditory brainstem, as our model system. This glutamatergic synapse, allows simultaneous electrical recordings and optical Ca2+ imaging of the pre- and postsynaptic compartments. This makes it an ideal preparation for clearly separating the pre- and post-synaptic components of synaptic transmission, short-term plasticity, synapse development and maintenance.

Currently, we are focused on four areas of research:

  • Understand roles of active zone organization and synaptic vesicle positioning in the regulation of synaptic transmission.
  • Gain a detailed understanding of priming, the process of making synaptic vesicles fusion competent.
  • Elucidate the signaling mechanisms of synaptic scaffold proteins in the regulation of synapse development and maintenance.
  • Continued development of genetic tools, in particular recombinant viral vectors for use in neuro-specific applications.

Our long-term goal is that the knowledge gained in the mechanisms of synaptic function will aid in uncovering the causes of neurological disorders and understanding how the brain operates.

Selected Publications

Kawabe, H., Neeb, A., Dimova, K., Young, S.M. Jr., Takeda, M., Katsurabayashi, S., Mitkovski, M., Malakhova, O.A., Zhang, D., Umikawa, M., Kariya, K., Goebbels, S., Nave, K., Rosenmund, C., Jahn, O., Rhee, J.S., and Brose, N. Regulation of Rap2A by Nedd4-1 Controls Dendrite Development in Cortical Neurons. Neuron. 65(3):358-72. (2010)

Young, S.M. Jr. and Neher, E. Synaptotagmin has an essential function in synaptic vesicle positioning for synchronous release in addition to its role as a calcium sensor. Neuron. 63(4):482-496. (2009)

Schikorski, T., Young, S.M. Jr., Hu, Y. Horseradish peroxidase cDNA as a marker for electron microscopy in neurons. J Neurosci Methods. 165(2):210-5. (2007)

Young, S.M. Jr. Proteolysis of SNARE proteins alters facilitation and depression in a specific way. PNAS. 102(7):2614-9. (2005)

McCarty, D.M., Young, S.M. Jr., and Samulski, R.J. Integration of Adeno-Associated Virus. (invited) Annu Rev Genet. 38:819-45. (2004)

Weitzman, M.D., Young, S.M. Jr., Cathomen, T., and Samulski, R.J. Targeted integration by adeno-associated virus. Methods Mol Med. 76201-19. (2003)

Young, S.M. Jr., and Samulski, R.J. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) site-specific recombination does not require a Rep-depedent origin of replication within the AAV terminal repeat. PNAS. 98(24), 13525-13530. (2001)

Young, S.M. Jr., McCarty, D.M., Natalya Degtyareva, and Samulski, R.J. Roles of Adeno-Associated Virus Rep Protein and Human Chromosome 19 in Site-Specific Recombination. Journal of Virology. 74(9)3953-3966. (2000)

Young, S.M. Jr., Xiao, W., and Samulski, R.J. Site specific targeting of DNA plasmids to chromosome 19 using AAV Cis and Trans sequences. Gene Targeting Vector Protocols Methods in Molecular Biology, Editor. E.B. Kmiec, Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2000. Methods in Molecular Biology. 133:111-26. (2000)

Gavin, D.K., Young, S.M. Jr., Xiao, W., Temple, B., Abernathy, C.R., Pereira, D.J., Muzyczka, N., and Samulski, R.J. Charge-to-Alanine Mutagenesis of the Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2 Rep 78/78 proteins yields temperature-sensitive and magnesium-dependent variants. Journal of Virology. 73(11)9433-9445. (1999)

Notterman, D., Young, S.M. Jr., Wainger, B., Levine, A.J. Prevention of mammalian DNA reduplication, following the release from the mitotic spindle checkpoint, requires p53 protein, but not p53-mediated transcriptional activity. Oncogene. 17, 2743-2751. (1998)