William Christopher Wetsel

William Christopher Wetsel

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

External Address: 
354 Sands Bldg, Durham, NC 27710
Internal Office Address: 
Box 103203 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710


Last Updated: 27 October 2020

My laboratory uses genetically-modified mice to study the roles that certain genes and gene products play in the presentation of abnormal neuroendocrine, neurological, and psychiatric responses. Traditionally, the identification of neuroendocrine dysfunction has involved biochemical analyses of hormonal responses, those for neurological disorders have relied upon behavioral and postmortem analyses, and those for psychiatric conditions have depended upon phenomenology.  The use of genetic technologies has allowed specific genes in selected cells and in neural pathways to be related to certain molecular, biochemical, cellular, physiological, and behavioral dysfunctions. As the Director of the Mouse Behavioral and Neuroendocrine Analysis Core Facility at Duke University (http://sites.duke.edu/mousebehavioralcore/), we have phenotyped many different lines of inbred and mutant mice for my own work as well as for investigators at Duke and at other research institutions. As a consequence, we have helped to develop many different mouse genetic models of neuroendocrine and neuropsychiatric illness. We are working also with academic medicinal chemists and/or certain pharmacological/biotechnological companies to identify novel compounds that will ameliorate abnormal responses in various mutant mouse models. Some of these preclinical studies have formed a basis for clinical trials in humans.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1983

Porton, Barbara, et al. “Synapsin III: role in neuronal plasticity and disease.Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, vol. 22, no. 4, June 2011, pp. 416–24. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.07.007. Full Text

Carlson, Benjamin R., et al. “WRP/srGAP3 facilitates the initiation of spine development by an inverse F-BAR domain, and its loss impairs long-term memory.J Neurosci, vol. 31, no. 7, Feb. 2011, pp. 2447–60. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4433-10.2011. Full Text

Wetsel, William C. “Hyperthermic effects on behavior.Int J Hyperthermia, vol. 27, no. 4, 2011, pp. 353–73. Pubmed, doi:10.3109/02656736.2010.550905. Full Text

Wetsel, William C. “Sensing hot and cold with TRP channels.Int J Hyperthermia, vol. 27, no. 4, 2011, pp. 388–98. Pubmed, doi:10.3109/02656736.2011.554337. Full Text

Rodriguiz, Ramona M., et al. “Neurophenotyping genetically modified mice for social behavior.Methods Mol Biol, vol. 768, 2011, pp. 343–63. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/978-1-61779-204-5_19. Full Text

Gaier, Eric D., et al. “Haploinsufficiency in peptidylglycine alpha-amidating monooxygenase leads to altered synaptic transmission in the amygdala and impaired emotional responses.J Neurosci, vol. 30, no. 41, Oct. 2010, pp. 13656–69. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2200-10.2010. Full Text

Deng, Jie V., et al. “MeCP2 in the nucleus accumbens contributes to neural and behavioral responses to psychostimulants.Nat Neurosci, vol. 13, no. 9, Sept. 2010, pp. 1128–36. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/nn.2614. Full Text

Kile, Brian M., et al. “Synapsins differentially control dopamine and serotonin release.J Neurosci, vol. 30, no. 29, July 2010, pp. 9762–70. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2071-09.2010. Full Text

McDowell, Kelli A., et al. “Reduced cortical BDNF expression and aberrant memory in Carf knock-out mice.J Neurosci, vol. 30, no. 22, June 2010, pp. 7453–65. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3997-09.2010. Full Text

Crooks, Kristy R., et al. “TrkB signaling is required for behavioral sensitization and conditioned place preference induced by a single injection of cocaine.Neuropharmacology, vol. 58, no. 7, June 2010, pp. 1067–77. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.01.014. Full Text