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: 31 December 1997

My laboratory uses genetically-modified mice to study the roles that certain genes and gene products play in the expression of abnormal neuroendocrine, neurological, and psychiatric responses. Traditionally, an 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 advent of gene manipulation in mice has permitted specific genes to be targeted for disruption, mutation, and/or overexpression in the whole organism or in selected regions or cells in the nervous and other systems. In this way, primary and secondary effects of a given gene manipulation can be related to various neuroendoctine, neurological, or psychiatric conditions in humans. As the Director of the Mouse Behavioral and Neuroendocrine Analysis Core Facility at Duke University (http://sites.duke.edu/mousebehavioralcore/), we have neurobehaviorally phenotyped many different lines of inbred and mutant mice 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. Following the development of mouse models, we have worked with various investigators to identify the molecular and cellular basis of the neuroendocrine and/or behavioral abnormalities. We are working also with medicinal chemists and certain pharmacological/biotechnological companies to identify novel compounds that will ameliorate abnormal responses in the mutant mice. Some of these preclinical studies are now forming a basis for clinical trials in humans.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1983

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

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

Porton, B., et al. “Mice lacking synapsin III show abnormalities in explicit memory and conditioned fear.Genes Brain Behav, vol. 9, no. 3, Apr. 2010, pp. 257–68. Pubmed, doi:10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00555.x. Full Text

Chen, Qiang, et al. “Integrin-linked kinase is involved in cocaine sensitization by regulating PSD-95 and synapsin I expression and GluR1 Ser845 phosphorylation.J Mol Neurosci, vol. 40, no. 3, Mar. 2010, pp. 284–94. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s12031-009-9218-3. Full Text

Bousquet-Moore, Danielle, et al. “Interactions of peptide amidation and copper: novel biomarkers and mechanisms of neural dysfunction.Neurobiol Dis, vol. 37, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 130–40. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2009.09.016. Full Text

Griffin, Timothy M., et al. “Diet-induced obesity differentially regulates behavioral, biomechanical, and molecular risk factors for osteoarthritis in mice.Arthritis Res Ther, vol. 12, no. 4, 2010, p. R130. Pubmed, doi:10.1186/ar3068. Full Text Open Access Copy