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Alejandro Iván Hernández, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Pathology

Office location: BSB 4-109

Tel: (718) 270- 4561

Fax: (718) 270-3313










Research or Clinical Interest Summary

Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating long-term synaptic plasticity and the alterations of those mechanisms associated with neurodegenerative disorders and drug addiction

The persistence of synaptic plasticity requires gene expression and protein synthesis in both cell body and synaptic terminals. Identifying essential genes and studying their transcriptional and translational regulation are key steps to understanding how synaptic changes become long lasting.  In the invertebrate Aplysia Californica the enzyme PARP1, commonly study in oxidative stress and DNA damage, has been shown to be necessary for long-term memory.  In addition, it also has been shown to be necessary for the opening chromatin during development in Drosophila. My laboratory is interested in studying the role of PARP in synaptic plasticity and learning and memory, and how alterations of the enzyme PARP contribute to the process of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer, and drug addiction.


Selected Recent Publications

Hernandez, I., Poblete, A., Amthauer, R., Pessot, R., and Krauskopf, M. (1992). Effect of seasonal acclimatization on estrogen induced vitellogenesis and on the hepatic estrogen receptor in the male carp. Biochem. Int. 28:557-559.

Hernandez, I. and Sokolov, B.P. (1997). Abnormal Expression of Serotonin Transporter mRNA in the Frontal and Temporal Cortex in Schizophrenia. Molec. Psych. 2:57-64.

Hernandez, I. and Sokolov, B.P. (2000). Abnormalities in 5-HT2A receptor mRNA expression in Frontal Cortex of Chronic Elderly schizophrenics with varying histories of neuroleptic treatment. J.  Neurosci. Res. 59:218-225.

Naik, M. U., Benedikz, E., Hernandez, I., Libien, J., Hrave, J., Valsamis, M., Dow-Edwards, D., Osman, M. and Sacktor, T. C. (2000). Expression of Protein Kinase Mζ and the Complete Protein Kinase C isoform Family in Rat Brain. J. Comp. Neuro. 426(2):243-258.

Polesskaya, O.O., Haroutunian. V., Davis, K.L., Hernandez I., Sokolov, B.P. (2003). Novel putative nonprotein-coding RNA gene from 11q14 displays decreased expression in brains of patients with schizophrenia. J. Neurosci. Res. 74(1):111-22.

Hernandez, A.I., Blace, N., Crary, J.F., Serrano, P.A., Leitges, M., Libien, J.M., Weinstein, G., Tcherapanov, A., and Sacktor, T.C. (2003). PKMz synthesis from a brain mRNA encoding an independent PKCζ; catalytic domain: implications for the molecular mechanism of memory. J. Biol. Chem. 278 (41):40305-40316.

Muslimov I.A., Nimmrich V., Hernandez A.I., Tcherepanov A., Sacktor T.C., Tiedge H. (2004). Dendritic transport and localization of protein kinase Mζ mRNA: implications for molecular memory consolidation. J. Biol. Chem. 279(50):52613-22.

Crary, J.F., Mirra, S.S., Shao, C.Y., Sheffield, L.G., Mirra, S.S., Hernandez, A.I., Sacktor, T.C. (2006). Atypical Protein Kinase C in Neurodegenerative Disease I: PKMζ aggregates with limbic neurofibrillary tangles and AMPA receptors in Alzheimer’s disease. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. 265(4):319-326.

Kurosu T., Hernández A.I., Schwartz J.H. (2007). Serotonin induces selective cleavage of the PKA RI subunit but not RII subunit in Aplysia neurons. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 359 (2007):563–567.

Kurosu T., Hernández A.I., Wolk J., Liu J.,Schwartz JH. (2009). a/ß-tubulin are A kinase Anchor Proteins for Type I PKA in Neurons. Brain Res 1251:53-64.

Moreno, H., Yu, E., Pigino, G., Hernández, A.I., Kim, N., Moreira, J., Sugimori, M., Rodolfo Llinas. (2009). Synaptic transmission block by pre-synaptic injection of oligomeric amyloid beta. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:5901-5906.

Hernández A.I., Wolk J., Hu J.Y., Liu J., Kurosu T., Schwartz J.H., Schacher S. (2009). Poly-(ADP-ribose) Polymerase-1 is Necessary for Long-Term Facilitation in Aplysia. J. Neurosci. 29:9553-9562.


Education and Training

1992, Licenciate in Biochemistry with distinction. (M.S. equivalent).  Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.

2003, Doctor in Philosophy, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. Bklyn, NY.


Honors and Awards

1997-1998  Treasurer of the Graduate School Student Council at SUNY-HSCB.

2001  Research day Travel Fellowship award. School of Graduate Studies, SUNY-HSCB.

2003-2004  Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award. Training fellowship (T32)

2005-Dec 2006  Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award.  Fellowship (T32).


Committees , Council, and Professional Society Memberships

1998-Present   Society for Neuroscience

2003-Present   New York Academy of Science.


Laboratory Members / Personnel

Natalia Kim