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Felix Schweizer, Ph.D.

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Office Address:
10833 Le Conte Ave.
CHS 63-323
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Lab Number:
(310) 206-0448
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Department / Division Affiliations
Professor, Neurobiology
Collaborator, Vestibular Neuroscience Laboratory
Member, ACCESS Program: Dept. of Neurobiology, Access Cell and Developmental Biology Home Area, Access Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Home Area, Access Neuroscience Home Area, Brain Research Institute, CTSI, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Studies, Neuroengineering Training Program, Neuroscience IDP
Faculty, Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology IDP


Felix E. Schweizer was born in Basel, Switzerland and conducted his graduate research in the laboratory of Prof. Max M. Burger under the direction of Dr. Theo Schafer. He received his PhD degree in biochemistry summa cum laude from the University of Basel in 1989. From 1990 to 1994, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University in the laboratory of Prof. Richard W. Tsien. From 1994 to 1998, he was postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University in the laboratory of Professor George J. Augustine. Dr. Schweizer joined the Department of Neurobiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1998 as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. Dr. Schweizer's research interests concern the molecular mechanisms by which neurons communicate, the regulation of communication by neurons and how alterations in neuronal communication might contribute to neuronal diseases. In particular, the laboratory investigates synaptic communication in vestibular hair cells, focusing on plasticity in response to changes in gravity and in response to ototoxic aminoglycosides. The Schweizer laboratory also uses acute and cultured brain slices and cultured neurons to investigate how neurotransmitter release is regulated in the short term (short-term plasticity) and how synaptic vesicles can move between physiologically distinct pools. They are testing the role played in release by proteins and pathways thought to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases and have most recently focused on protein ubiquitination as a possible regulator of presynaptic release mechanisms.


Quiñones Patricia M, Luu Cindy, Schweizer Felix E, Narins Peter M Exocytosis in the frog amphibian papilla. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO. 2012; 13(1): 39-54.
Schweizer Felix E, Myers Katherine M, Caputo Anna In the zone: presynaptic function at high res. Nature neuroscience. 2012; 15(7): 928-9.
Chang Julia W, Arnold Monica M, Rozenbaum Anna, Caputo Anna, Schweizer Felix E, Huynh My, Mathern Gary W, Sarafian Theodore A, Watson Joseph B Synaptoneurosome micromethod for fractionation of mouse and human brain, and primary neuronal cultures. Journal of neuroscience methods. 2012; 211(2): 289-95.
Rinetti Gina V, Schweizer Felix E Ubiquitination acutely regulates presynaptic neurotransmitter release in mammalian neurons. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2010; 30(9): 3157-66.
Hutnick Leah K, Golshani Peyman, Namihira Masakasu, Xue Zhigang, Matynia Anna, Yang X William, Silva Alcino J, Schweizer Felix E, Fan Guoping DNA hypomethylation restricted to the murine forebrain induces cortical degeneration and impairs postnatal neuronal maturation. Human molecular genetics. 2009; 18(15): 2875-88.
Huynh Duong P, Maalouf Marwan, Silva Alcino J, Schweizer Felix E, Pulst Stefan M Dissociated fear and spatial learning in mice with deficiency of ataxin-2. PloS one. 2009; 4(7): e6235.
Schweizer Felix E, Savin David, Luu Cindy, Sultemeier David R, Hoffman Larry F Distribution of high-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels in rat vestibular epithelia. The Journal of comparative neurology. 2009; 517(2): 134-45.
Schweizer Felix E Exit chloride, enter glutamate. Nature neuroscience. 2009; 12(2): 111-2.
Ratnaparkhi Anuradha, Lawless George M, Schweizer Felix E, Golshani Peyman, Jackson George R A Drosophila model of ALS: human ALS-associated mutation in VAP33A suggests a dominant negative mechanism. PloS one. 2008; 3(6): e2334.
Cruz-Martín Alberto, Schweizer Felix E Imbalance between excitation and inhibition among synaptic connections of CA3 pyramidal neurons in cultured hippocampal slices. The European journal of neuroscience. 2008; 27(6): 1353-63.
Schweizer Felix E Modifying theories is the fabric of scientific progress. Nature. 2007; 450(7170): 610.
Willeumier Kristen, Pulst Stefan M, Schweizer Felix E Proteasome inhibition triggers activity-dependent increase in the size of the recycling vesicle pool in cultured hippocampal neurons. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2006; 26(44): 11333-41.
Schweizer Felix E, Ryan Timothy A The synaptic vesicle: cycle of exocytosis and endocytosis. Current opinion in neurobiology. 2006; 16(3): 298-304.
Matsuka, Yoshizo Edmonds, Brian Mitrirattanakul, Somsak Schweizer, Felix E. Spigelman, Igor Two types of neurotransmitter release patterns in IB4-positive and negative trigeminal ganglion neurons. Neuroscience 2006; in press: .
Chanda Baron, Blunck Rikard, Faria Leonardo C, Schweizer Felix E, Mody Istvan, Bezanilla Francisco A hybrid approach to measuring electrical activity in genetically specified neurons. Nature neuroscience. 2005; 8(11): 1619-26.
Golshani Peyman, Hutnick Leah, Schweizer Felix, Fan Guoping Conditional Dnmt1 deletion in dorsal forebrain disrupts development of somatosensory barrel cortex and thalamocortical long-term potentiation. Thalamus & related systems. 2005; 3(3): 227-233.
Egusa Hiroshi, Schweizer Felix E, Wang Chia-Chien, Matsuka Yoshizo, Nishimura Ichiro Neuronal differentiation of bone marrow-derived stromal stem cells involves suppression of discordant phenotypes through gene silencing. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2005; 280(25): 23691-7.
Edmonds Brian W, Gregory Frederick D, Schweizer Felix E Evidence that fast exocytosis can be predominantly mediated by vesicles not docked at active zones in frog saccular hair cells. The Journal of physiology. 2004; 560(Pt 2): 439-50.
Sippy Tanya, Cruz-Martín Alberto, Jeromin Andreas, Schweizer Felix E Acute changes in short-term plasticity at synapses with elevated levels of neuronal calcium sensor-1. Nature neuroscience. 2003; 6(10): 1031-8.
Kruger Lawrence, Light Alan R, Schweizer Felix E Axonal terminals of sensory neurons and their morphological diversity. Journal of neurocytology. 2003; 32(3): 205-16.
Gregory Frederick D, Schweizer Felix E Exocytosis with a snap. Nature neuroscience. 2002; 5(1): 4-6.
Augustine, G. J. Burns, M. E. DeBello, W. M. Hilfiker, S. Morgan, J. R. Schweizer, F. E. Tokumaru, H. Umayahara, K. Proteins involved in synaptic vesicle trafficking. J Physiol. 1999; 520 Pt 1: 33-41.
el Far, O. O'Connor, V. Dresbach, T. Pellegrini, L. DeBello, W. Schweizer, F. Augustine, G. Heuss, C. Schafer, T. Charlton, M. P. Betz, H. Protein interactions implicated in neurotransmitter release. J Physiol Paris. 1998; 92(2): 129-33.
Schweizer, Felix E. Dresbach, Thomas DeBello, William M. O'Connor, Vincent Augustine, George J. Betz, Heinrich Regulation of neurotransmitter release kinetics by NSF. Science 1998; 279: 1203-1206.
Schweizer, F. E. Augustine, G. J. SNARE proteins and the timing of neurotransmitter release. Mol Psychiatry. 1998; 3(4): 293-7.
Hilfiker, Sabine Schweizer, Felix E. Kao, H.-T. Czernik, Andrew J. Greengard, Paul Augustine, George J. Two Sites of Action for Synapsin Domain E in Regulating Neurotransmitter Release. Nature Neuroscience 1998; 1(1): 29-35.
Augustine, G. J. Burns, M. E. DeBello, W. M. Pettit, D. L. Schweizer, F. E. Exocytosis: proteins and perturbations. Annual Review of Pharmacology & Toxicology 1996; 36: 659-701.
O'Connor, V. Pellegrini, L. Dresbach, T. Bommert, K. el Far, O. Betz, H. DeBello, W. Hunt, J. M. Schweizer, F. Augustine, G. Charlton, M. P. Protein-protein interactions in synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Biochem Soc Trans. 1996; 24(3): 666-70.
Schweizer, F. E. Betz, H. Augustine, G. J. From vesicle docking to endocytosis: intermediate reactions of exocytosis. Neuron 1995; 14(4): 689-96.
Burns, M. E. Beushausen, S. A. Chin, G. J. Tang, D. DeBello, W. M. Dresbach, T. O. Connor V Schweizer, F. E. Wang, S. S. Whiteheart, S. W. Proteins involved in synaptic vesicle docking and fusion. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 1995; 60: 337-48.
DeBello, W. M. O'Connor, V. Dresbach, T. Whiteheart, S. W. Wang, S. S. Schweizer, F. E. Betz, H. Rothman, J. E. Augustine, G. J. SNAP-mediated protein-protein interactions essential for neurotransmitter release. Nature. 1995; 373(6515): 626-30.
Wendland, B. Schweizer, F. E. Ryan, T. A. Nakane, M. Murad, F. Scheller, R. H. Tsien, R. W. Existence of nitric oxide synthase in rat hippocampal pyramidal cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1994; 91(6): 2151-5.
Chiang, L. W. Schweizer, F. E. Tsien, R. W. Schulman, H. Nitric oxide synthase expression in single hippocampal neurons. Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research 1994; 27(1): 183-8.
Ryan, T. A. Reuter, H. Wendland, B. Schweizer, F. E. Tsien, R. W. Smith, S. J. The kinetics of synaptic vesicle recycling measured at single presynaptic boutons. Neuron 1993; 11(4): 713-24.
Schweizer, F. E. Schafer, T. Burger, M. M. Intracellular mechanisms in exocytotic secretion. Biochemical Pharmacology 1991; 41(2): 163-9.
Bookman, R. J. Lim, N. F. Schweizer, F. E. Nowycky, M. Single cell assays of excitation-secretion coupling. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1991; 635(5): 352-64.
Schweizer, F. E. Schaefer, T. Tapparelli, C. Grob, M. Karli, U. O. Heumann, R. Thoenen, H. Bookman, R. J. Burger, M. M. Inhibition of exocytosis by intracellularly applied antibodies against a chromaffin granule-binding protein. Nature 1989; 339(6227): 709-12.
Bookman, Richard J. Schweizer, Felix E. Fast and slow phases in chromaffin cell exocytosis depend on Ca entry and Ca buffering. Journal of General Physiology 1988; 92: 4a.
Schaefer, T. Karli, U. O. Gratwohl, E. K. Schweizer, F. E. Burger, M. M. Digitonin-permeabilized cells are exocytosis competent. Journal of Neurochemistry 1987; 49(6): 1697-707.
Schaefer, T. Karli, U. O. Schweizer, F. E. Burger, M. M. Docking of chromaffin granules--a necessary step in exocytosis?. Bioscience Reports 1987; 7(4): 269-79.