Christopher W. Cowan

TitleChair, Department of Neuroscience
InstitutionMedical University of South Carolina
DepartmentNeuroscience
AddressP.O. Box MSC 510
BSB 410B
Basic Science Building - 173 Ashley Ave.
Phone843-792-2935
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    Dr. Cowan's research program seeks to identify novel genes, proteins, and molecular mechanisms that control proper brain wiring during development, and to understand the role of these basic processes in the young and adult brain under chronic pathological conditions, such as drug addiction, depression, autism and intellectual disabilities.

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Armenta-Resendiz M, Assali A, Tsvetkov E, Cowan CW, Lavin A. Repeated methamphetamine administration produces cognitive deficits through augmentation of GABAergic synaptic transmission in the prefrontal cortex. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022 09; 47(10):1816-1825. PMID: 35788684.
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    2. Cooley Coleman JA, Sarasua SM, Moore HW, Boccuto L, Cowan CW, Skinner SA, DeLuca JM. Clinical findings from the landmark MEF2C-related disorders natural history study. Mol Genet Genomic Med. 2022 06; 10(6):e1919. PMID: 35416405.
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    3. Siemsen BM, Barry SM, Vollmer KM, Green LM, Brock AG, Westphal AM, King RA, DeVries DM, Otis JM, Cowan CW, Scofield MD. A Subset of Nucleus Accumbens Neurons Receiving Dense and Functional Prelimbic Cortical Input Are Required for Cocaine Seeking. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022; 16:844243. PMID: 35281297.
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    4. Anderson EM, Lopez MF, Kastner A, Mulholland PJ, Becker HC, Cowan CW. The histone methyltransferase G9a mediates stress-regulated alcohol drinking. Addict Biol. 2022 01; 27(1):e13060. PMID: 34013595.
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    5. Assali A, Cho JY, Tsvetkov E, Gupta AR, Cowan CW. Sex-dependent role for EPHB2 in brain development and autism-associated behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021 10; 46(11):2021-2029. PMID: 33649502.
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    6. Garcia-Keller C, Scofield MD, Neuhofer D, Varanasi S, Reeves MT, Hughes B, Anderson E, Richie CT, Mejias-Aponte C, Pickel J, Hope BT, Harvey BK, Cowan CW, Kalivas PW. Relapse-Associated Transient Synaptic Potentiation Requires Integrin-Mediated Activation of Focal Adhesion Kinase and Cofilin in D1-Expressing Neurons. J Neurosci. 2020 10 28; 40(44):8463-8477. PMID: 33051346.
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    7. Bjorness TE, Kulkarni A, Rybalchenko V, Suzuki A, Bridges C, Harrington AJ, Cowan CW, Takahashi JS, Konopka G, Greene RW. An essential role for MEF2C in the cortical response to loss of sleep in mice. Elife. 2020 08 27; 9. PMID: 32851972.
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    8. Harrington AJ, Bridges CM, Berto S, Blankenship K, Cho JY, Assali A, Siemsen BM, Moore HW, Tsvetkov E, Thielking A, Konopka G, Everman DB, Scofield MD, Skinner SA, Cowan CW. MEF2C Hypofunction in Neuronal and Neuroimmune Populations Produces MEF2C Haploinsufficiency Syndrome-like Behaviors in Mice. Biol Psychiatry. 2020 09 15; 88(6):488-499. PMID: 32418612.
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    9. Heinsbroek JA, Bobadilla AC, Dereschewitz E, Assali A, Chalhoub RM, Cowan CW, Kalivas PW. Opposing Regulation of Cocaine Seeking by Glutamate and GABA Neurons in the Ventral Pallidum. Cell Rep. 2020 02 11; 30(6):2018-2027.e3. PMID: 32049028.
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    10. Penrod RD, Thomsen M, Taniguchi M, Guo Y, Cowan CW, Smith LN. The activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein, Arc/Arg3.1, influences mouse cocaine self-administration. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2020 01; 188:172818. PMID: 31682894.
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    11. Assali A, Harrington AJ, Cowan CW. Emerging roles for MEF2 in brain development and mental disorders. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2019 12; 59:49-58. PMID: 31129473.
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    12. Penrod RD, Kumar J, Smith LN, McCalley D, Nentwig TB, Hughes BW, Barry GM, Glover K, Taniguchi M, Cowan CW. Activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc/Arg3.1) regulates anxiety- and novelty-related behaviors. Genes Brain Behav. 2019 09; 18(7):e12561. PMID: 30761730.
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    13. Anderson EM, Penrod RD, Barry SM, Hughes BW, Taniguchi M, Cowan CW. It is a complex issue: emerging connections between epigenetic regulators in drug addiction. Eur J Neurosci. 2019 08; 50(3):2477-2491. PMID: 30251397.
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    14. Penrod RD, Anderson EM, Cowan CW. Any Way You Splice It: New Molecular Mechanisms of Cocaine-Induced Alternative Gene Expression. Biol Psychiatry. 2018 08 01; 84(3):162-164. PMID: 29941147.
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    15. Li X, Carreria MB, Witonsky KR, Zeric T, Lofaro OM, Bossert JM, Zhang J, Surjono F, Richie CT, Harvey BK, Son H, Cowan CW, Nestler EJ, Shaham Y. Role of Dorsal Striatum Histone Deacetylase 5 in Incubation of Methamphetamine Craving. Biol Psychiatry. 2018 08 01; 84(3):213-222. PMID: 29397902.
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    16. Guzman D, Carreira MB, Friedman AK, Adachi M, Neve RL, Monteggia LM, Han MH, Cowan CW, Self DW. Inactivation of NMDA Receptors in the Ventral Tegmental Area during Cocaine Self-Administration Prevents GluA1 Upregulation but with Paradoxical Increases in Cocaine-Seeking Behavior. J Neurosci. 2018 01 17; 38(3):575-585. PMID: 29196318.
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    17. Taniguchi M, Carreira MB, Cooper YA, Bobadilla AC, Heinsbroek JA, Koike N, Larson EB, Balmuth EA, Hughes BW, Penrod RD, Kumar J, Smith LN, Guzman D, Takahashi JS, Kim TK, Kalivas PW, Self DW, Lin Y, Cowan CW. HDAC5 and Its Target Gene, Npas4, Function in the Nucleus Accumbens to Regulate Cocaine-Conditioned Behaviors. Neuron. 2017 Sep 27; 96(1):130-144.e6. PMID: 28957664.
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    18. Anderson EM, Wissman AM, Chemplanikal J, Buzin N, Guzman D, Larson EB, Neve RL, Nestler EJ, Cowan CW, Self DW. BDNF-TrkB controls cocaine-induced dendritic spines in rodent nucleus accumbens dissociated from increases in addictive behaviors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 08 29; 114(35):9469-9474. PMID: 28808012.
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    19. Penrod RD, Carreira MB, Taniguchi M, Kumar J, Maddox SA, Cowan CW. Novel role and regulation of HDAC4 in cocaine-related behaviors. Addict Biol. 2018 03; 23(2):653-664. PMID: 28635037.
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    20. Harrington AJ, Raissi A, Rajkovich K, Berto S, Kumar J, Molinaro G, Raduazzo J, Guo Y, Loerwald K, Konopka G, Huber KM, Cowan CW. MEF2C regulates cortical inhibitory and excitatory synapses and behaviors relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders. Elife. 2016 10 25; 5. PMID: 27779093.
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    21. Smith LN, Penrod RD, Taniguchi M, Cowan CW. Assessment of Cocaine-induced Behavioral Sensitization and Conditioned Place Preference in Mice. J Vis Exp. 2016 Feb 18; (108):53107. PMID: 26967472.
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    22. Penrod RD, Wells AM, Carlezon WA, Cowan CW. Use of Adeno-Associated and Herpes Simplex Viral Vectors for In Vivo Neuronal Expression in Mice. Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2015 Oct 01; 73:4.37.1-4.37.31. PMID: 26426386.
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    23. Robichaux MA, Chenaux G, Ho HY, Soskis MJ, Greenberg ME, Henkemeyer M, Cowan CW. EphB1 and EphB2 intracellular domains regulate the formation of the corpus callosum and anterior commissure. Dev Neurobiol. 2016 Apr; 76(4):405-20. PMID: 26148571.
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    24. Smith LN, Jedynak JP, Fontenot MR, Hale CF, Dietz KC, Taniguchi M, Thomas FS, Zirlin BC, Birnbaum SG, Huber KM, Thomas MJ, Cowan CW. Fragile X mental retardation protein regulates synaptic and behavioral plasticity to repeated cocaine administration. Neuron. 2014 May 07; 82(3):645-58. PMID: 24811383.
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    25. Robichaux MA, Chenaux G, Ho HY, Soskis MJ, Dravis C, Kwan KY, Ε estan N, Greenberg ME, Henkemeyer M, Cowan CW. EphB receptor forward signaling regulates area-specific reciprocal thalamic and cortical axon pathfinding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Feb 11; 111(6):2188-93. PMID: 24453220.
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    26. Robichaux MA, Cowan CW. Signaling mechanisms of axon guidance and early synaptogenesis. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2014; 16:19-48. PMID: 24318963.
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    27. Smith LN, Cowan CW. Striking a balance in fragile X. Nat Med. 2013 Nov; 19(11):1370-1. PMID: 24202383.
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    28. Zang T, Maksimova MA, Cowan CW, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN, Huber KM. Postsynaptic FMRP bidirectionally regulates excitatory synapses as a function of developmental age and MEF2 activity. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2013 Sep; 56:39-49. PMID: 23511190.
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    29. Rothenfluh A, Cowan CW. Emerging roles of actin cytoskeleton regulating enzymes in drug addiction: actin or reactin'? Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Aug; 23(4):507-12. PMID: 23428655.
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    30. Tsai NP, Wilkerson JR, Guo W, Maksimova MA, DeMartino GN, Cowan CW, Huber KM. Multiple autism-linked genes mediate synapse elimination via proteasomal degradation of a synaptic scaffold PSD-95. Cell. 2012 Dec 21; 151(7):1581-94. PMID: 23260144.
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    31. Soskis MJ, Ho HY, Bloodgood BL, Robichaux MA, Malik AN, Ataman B, Rubin AA, Zieg J, Zhang C, Shokat KM, Sharma N, Cowan CW, Greenberg ME. A chemical genetic approach reveals distinct EphB signaling mechanisms during brain development. Nat Neurosci. 2012 Dec; 15(12):1645-54. PMID: 23143520.
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    32. Srivastava N, Robichaux MA, Chenaux G, Henkemeyer M, Cowan CW. EphB2 receptor forward signaling controls cortical growth cone collapse via Nck and Pak. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2013 Jan; 52:106-16. PMID: 23147113.
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    33. Wang Y, He H, Srivastava N, Vikarunnessa S, Chen YB, Jiang J, Cowan CW, Zhang X. Plexins are GTPase-activating proteins for Rap and are activated by induced dimerization. Sci Signal. 2012 Jan 17; 5(207):ra6. PMID: 22253263.
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    34. Taniguchi M, Carreira MB, Smith LN, Zirlin BC, Neve RL, Cowan CW. Histone deacetylase 5 limits cocaine reward through cAMP-induced nuclear import. Neuron. 2012 Jan 12; 73(1):108-20. PMID: 22243750.
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    35. Hale CF, Dietz KC, Varela JA, Wood CB, Zirlin BC, Leverich LS, Greene RW, Cowan CW. Essential role for vav Guanine nucleotide exchange factors in brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced dendritic spine growth and synapse plasticity. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 31; 31(35):12426-36. PMID: 21880903.
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    36. Pfeiffer BE, Zang T, Wilkerson JR, Taniguchi M, Maksimova MA, Smith LN, Cowan CW, Huber KM. Fragile X mental retardation protein is required for synapse elimination by the activity-dependent transcription factor MEF2. Neuron. 2010 Apr 29; 66(2):191-7. PMID: 20434996.
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    37. Shen K, Cowan CW. Guidance molecules in synapse formation and plasticity. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 Apr; 2(4):a001842. PMID: 20452946.
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    38. Meyer DA, Richer E, Benkovic SA, Hayashi K, Kansy JW, Hale CF, Moy LY, Kim Y, O'Callaghan JP, Tsai LH, Greengard P, Nairn AC, Cowan CW, Miller DB, Antich P, Bibb JA. Striatal dysregulation of Cdk5 alters locomotor responses to cocaine, motor learning, and dendritic morphology. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 25; 105(47):18561-6. PMID: 19017804.
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    39. Cowan CW, Taniguchi M, Hale CF. Regulation of synaptic connectivity with chronic cocaine. Am J Psychiatry. 2008 Nov; 165(11):1393. PMID: 18981071.
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    40. Pulipparacharuvil S, Renthal W, Hale CF, Taniguchi M, Xiao G, Kumar A, Russo SJ, Sikder D, Dewey CM, Davis MM, Greengard P, Nairn AC, Nestler EJ, Cowan CW. Cocaine regulates MEF2 to control synaptic and behavioral plasticity. Neuron. 2008 Aug 28; 59(4):621-33. PMID: 18760698.
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    41. Hunter SG, Zhuang G, Brantley-Sieders D, Swat W, Cowan CW, Chen J. Essential role of Vav family guanine nucleotide exchange factors in EphA receptor-mediated angiogenesis. Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Jul; 26(13):4830-42. PMID: 16782872.
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    42. Flavell SW, Cowan CW, Kim TK, Greer PL, Lin Y, Paradis S, Griffith EC, Hu LS, Chen C, Greenberg ME. Activity-dependent regulation of MEF2 transcription factors suppresses excitatory synapse number. Science. 2006 Feb 17; 311(5763):1008-12. PMID: 16484497.
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    43. Sturla LM, Cowan CW, Guenther L, Castellino RC, Kim JY, Pomeroy SL. A novel role for extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 and myocyte enhancer factor 2 in medulloblastoma cell death. Cancer Res. 2005 Jul 01; 65(13):5683-9. PMID: 15994942.
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    44. Sahin M, Greer PL, Lin MZ, Poucher H, Eberhart J, Schmidt S, Wright TM, Shamah SM, O'connell S, Cowan CW, Hu L, Goldberg JL, Debant A, Corfas G, Krull CE, Greenberg ME. Eph-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of ephexin1 modulates growth cone collapse. Neuron. 2005 Apr 21; 46(2):191-204. PMID: 15848799.
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    45. Cowan CW, Shao YR, Sahin M, Shamah SM, Lin MZ, Greer PL, Gao S, Griffith EC, Brugge JS, Greenberg ME. Vav family GEFs link activated Ephs to endocytosis and axon guidance. Neuron. 2005 Apr 21; 46(2):205-17. PMID: 15848800.
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    46. Datta SR, Ranger AM, Lin MZ, Sturgill JF, Ma YC, Cowan CW, Dikkes P, Korsmeyer SJ, Greenberg ME. Survival factor-mediated BAD phosphorylation raises the mitochondrial threshold for apoptosis. Dev Cell. 2002 Nov; 3(5):631-43. PMID: 12431371.
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    47. Kornhauser JM, Cowan CW, Shaywitz AJ, Dolmetsch RE, Griffith EC, Hu LS, Haddad C, Xia Z, Greenberg ME. CREB transcriptional activity in neurons is regulated by multiple, calcium-specific phosphorylation events. Neuron. 2002 Apr 11; 34(2):221-33. PMID: 11970864.
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    48. Griffith EC, Cowan CW, Greenberg ME. REST acts through multiple deacetylase complexes. Neuron. 2001 Aug 16; 31(3):339-40. PMID: 11516389.
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    49. Orr RK, Hoehn JL, Col NF. The learning curve for sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer: practical considerations. Arch Surg. 1999 Jul; 134(7):764-7. PMID: 30587852.
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    50. Rahman Z, Gold SJ, Potenza MN, Cowan CW, Ni YG, He W, Wensel TG, Nestler EJ. Cloning and characterization of RGS9-2: a striatal-enriched alternatively spliced product of the RGS9 gene. J Neurosci. 1999 Mar 15; 19(6):2016-26. PMID: 10066255.
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    51. He W, Cowan CW, Wensel TG. RGS9, a GTPase accelerator for phototransduction. Neuron. 1998 Jan; 20(1):95-102. PMID: 9459445.
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