Gregory L. Gerdeman

Assistant Professor of Biology

Greg GerdemanOffice: 136 James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences
Lab: 106 CMLS
Lab Phone: 727-864-7446
Phone: 727-864-7899
Fax: 727-864-8382
Email Professor Gerdeman

Ph.D. Pharmacology; Vanderbilt University 2001
B.S. Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Centre College 1995

Courses Taught
Cells & Genes (BI 112N), General and Molecular Physiology (BI308), Neuroscience (BI 397), Receptor Pharmacology (BI 412), Integration of Biology (BI 498), Molecules and the Mind (Winter Term), A Brain by Any Other Name (Autumn Term), Western Heritage in a Global Context I&II (WH 181, 182)

Research Interests
Neurophysiology, evolutionary neurobiology, pharmacology, synaptic plasticity, drug addiction

My research focuses on the physiology and evolutionary neurobiology of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoids are lipid signaling molecules that are generated and released from cellular membranes in response to various patterns of physiological stimulation. In the mammalian brain, endocannabinoids are generated in postsynaptic neurons, and then travel backwards across synapses as “retrograde messengers” in order to regulate the vesicular release of classical neurotransmitters.  Thus, the activity-dependent release of endocannabinoids seems to be a way in which neurons “fine tune” their own synaptic inputs, as a form of cellular feedback and synaptic plasticity. It is known that endocannabinoid-mediated plasticity is important for processing sensory input, motivating behaviors, preventing neurotoxicity, and influencing various forms of learning and memory. Endocannabinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, so named because these cell surface receptor proteins are also the principal targets of cannabinoid compounds from the cannabis plant, especially the psychoactive constituent Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  I am interested in the evolutionary origins and physiological functions of these CB receptors and other cellular targets of the endocannabinoids.

Click here to read National Geographic News coverage of Dr. Gerdeman’s research on endocannabinoids and the evolution of endurance running behaviors.

Research Grants
Co-Principal Investigator, "Neurobiological Rewards in the Evolution of Endurance Running in Humans and Cursorial Mammals." Funded by the National Science Foundation, 2008-2011. Collaboration with Dr. David Raichlen (Univ Arizona) and Dr. Andrea Giuffrida (Univ Texas at San Antonio).

Postdoctoral research, “The Functional Neurobiology of Cannabinoids in Brain” (U01 DA14263-04). Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; 2002-2007.

Predoctoral research, “Cannabinoid Modulation of Neostriatal Glutamate Release.” National Research Service Award, (F31 DA05928). Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; 1999-2001.

Other Interests
Music and nature. Traditional West African percussion and other hand drumming. Philosophies of nonviolence and interdependence. I am fascinated by spiritual practices of contemplative and shamanic traditions and the intersection of these practices (and world views) with the perspectives of modern neuroscience. Meditation, hiking, and camping are all important in my life. I am on the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access, and am faculty sponsor for the Eckerd chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Published articles and book chapters
Raichlen, D.A., Foster, A.D., Gerdeman, G.L., Seiller, A. and Giuffrida, A. (2012) Wired to run: exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling in humans and cursorial mammals with implication for the runner’s high. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 215: 1331-1336.

Raichlen, D.A., Foster, A.D., Seiller, A., Giuffrida, A. and Gerdeman, G.L., (2012) Exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling is modulated by intensity. European Journal of Applied Physiology, DOI:10.1007/s00421-012-2495-5.

Gerdeman, G.L. and Schechter (2010) The molecular physiology of endocannabinoids. In The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis; Its Role in Medicine, Politics, Science and Culture. Julie Holland, ed. (Park Street Press), pp. 52-62.

Gerdeman, G.L., Schechter, J.B. and French, E.D. (2008) Context-specific reversal of locomotor sensitization to cocaine by the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33: 2747-2759.

Keeney, B.K., Raichlen, D.A., Meek, T.H., Wijeratne, R.S., Middleton, K.M., Gerdeman, G.L. and Garland, T. (2008) Differential response to a selective cannabinoid receptor antagonist (SR141716: rimonabant) in female mice from lines selectively bred for high voluntary wheel-running behaviour. Behavioural Pharmacology, 19: 812-820.

Gerdeman, G.L. (2008) Endocannabinoids at the synapse – retrograde signaling and presynaptic plasticity in the brain. In Cannabinoids and the Brain, Attila Köfalvi, ed. (Springer: New York) pp. 203-236.

Gerdeman, G.L. and Fernández-Ruiz, J. (2008) The endocannabinoid system in the physiology and pathology of the basal ganglia. In Cannabinoids and the Brain, Attila Köfalvi, ed. (Springer: New York) pp. 423-483.

Ronesi, J., Gerdeman, G. L. and Lovinger, D. M. (2004) Disruption of endocannabinoid release and striatal long-term depression by postsynaptic blockade of endocannabinoid membrane transport. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(7): 1673-1679.

Gerdeman, G. L., Partridge, J. P., Lupica, C. R. and Lovinger, D. M. (2003) It could be habit forming: drugs of abuse and striatal synaptic plasticity. Trends in Neurosciences, 26(4): 184-192.

Gerdeman, G.L. and Lovinger, D.M. (2003) Emerging roles for endocannabinoids in long-term synaptic plasticity. British Journal of Pharmacology, 140: 781-789.

Gerdeman, G. L., Ronesi, J. and Lovinger, D. M. (2002) Postsynaptic endocannabinoid release is critical to long-term depression in the striatum. Nature Neuroscience 5: 446-451.

Gerdeman, G. and Lovinger, D. M. (2001) CB1 cannabinoid receptor inhibits synaptic release of glutamate in rat dorsolateral striatum. Journal of Neurophysiology 85: 468-471.

Life After Eckerd

Approximately two-thirds of Eckerd Biology graduates have continued with postgraduate study at many of the most prestigious medical and graduate schools in the nation. Eckerd College has been ranked near the top of all U.S. colleges and universities in terms of the percentage of its alumni who have gone on to earn Ph.D. degrees and Eckerd students have scored in the highest percentiles of the GRE and MCAT exams.

The James Center

Center for Molecular and Life Sciences

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