Ali D. Guler


  • BA, Bowdoin College
  • PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine


Research Interest(s)

Behavior and epigenetics; Building and wiring the brain; Neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders; Biological timing: circadian rhythms.

Research Description

Our research focuses on understanding how mammalian central nervous system integrates and processes environmental and peripheral signals for proper behavioral responses. Feeding, sleeping or sex require opportune times that combine information gathered by multiple brain regions and are differentially gated. How does the brain weigh myriad stimuli to shape a behavioral output? To determine how such a large neural network functions, it is essential to influence the activity of a subpopulation of neurons and observe both physiological and behavioral responses simultaneously. Using genetic tools that allow precise control of neural activity in combination with in vivo electrophysiology and behavioral assays, we are discovering circuits that regulate homeostatic behaviors. Currently, we are focusing our efforts on understanding the role of genetically-defined populations of neurons within hypothalamus and midbrain during behaviors associated with feeding or thermoregulation in mice.

Since innovating and improving tools to manipulate molecular, biochemical or electrical characteristics of specific cell types is crucial in leading new discoveries, we are also seeking opportunities to create techniques to alter the biology of a single protein or a network of cells in a predictable manner. To this end, we are generating novel combination of viral and genomic constructs that allow manipulation of both endogenous and exogenous genes in anatomical, genetic and/or temporal space.

Selected Publications

  • Güler A, Rainwater A, Parker J, Jones G, Argilli E, Arenkiel B, Ehlers M, Bonci A, Zweifel L, Palmiter R. Transient activation of specific neurons in mice by selective expression of the capsaicin receptor. Nature communications. 2012;3 746. PMID: 22434189 | PMCID: PMC3592340
  • Quintana A, Sanz E, Wang W, Storey G, Güler A, Wanat M, Roller B, La Torre A, Amieux P, McKnight G, Bamford N, Palmiter R. Lack of GPR88 enhances medium spiny neuron activity and alters motor- and cue-dependent behaviors. Nature neuroscience. 2012;15(11): 1547-55. PMID: 23064379 | PMCID: PMC3483418
  • Altimus C, Güler A, Alam N, Arman A, Prusky G, Sampath A, Hattar S. Rod photoreceptors drive circadian photoentrainment across a wide range of light intensities. Nature neuroscience. 2010;13(9): 1107-12. PMID: 20711184 | PMCID: PMC2928860
  • Altimus C, Güler A, Villa K, McNeill D, Legates T, Hattar S. Rods-cones and melanopsin detect light and dark to modulate sleep independent of image formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2008;105(50): 19998-20003. PMID: 19060203 | PMCID: PMC2596746
  • Chung M, Güler A, Caterina M. TRPV1 shows dynamic ionic selectivity during agonist stimulation. Nature neuroscience. 2008;11(5): 555-64. PMID: 18391945
  • Güler A, Ecker J, Lall G, Haq S, Altimus C, Liao H, Barnard A, Cahill H, Badea T, Zhao H, Hankins M, Berson D, Lucas R, Yau K, Hattar S. Melanopsin cells are the principal conduits for rod-cone input to non-image-forming vision. Nature. 2008;453(7191): 102-5. PMID: 18432195 | PMCID: PMC2871301
  • Chung M, Güler A, Caterina M. Biphasic currents evoked by chemical or thermal activation of the heat-gated ion channel, TRPV3. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2005;280(16): 15928-41. PMID: 15722340
  • Güler A, Lee H, Iida T, Shimizu I, Tominaga M, Caterina M. Heat-evoked activation of the ion channel, TRPV4. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2002;22(15): 6408-14. PMID: 12151520