Washington University in St. Louis

Vitaly A. Klyachko, PhD Granted Promotion with Tenure

Congratulations, Dr. Klyachko!

We are delighted to announce that the WU Board of Trustees has approved Vitaly Klyachko’s promotion to associate professor as of  July 1, 2014, with tenure effective October 3, 2014.  In a new paradigm for cross-disciplinary bioscience at Washington University, he is the first WU faculty member to hold primary appointments in two departments, Cell Biology and Physiology and Biomedical Engineering.  He has also just received a joint appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.

Since his recruitment to Washington University in 2008, Dr. Klyachko has been investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of central synapses in both the healthy brain as well as in neurological disorders.  In an elegant series of studies, he demonstrated presynaptic dysfunction in a model of Fragile X Syndrome, the most common known genetic cause of autism.  He showed that a protein called FMRP (Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein) indirectly regulates neurotransmitter release from presynaptic terminals.  He went on to determine that FMRP works by affecting potassium channels, resulting in altered presynaptic action potential duration. Vitaly’s lab also studies the basic mechanisms governing vesicle recycling using a novel imaging approach to visualize and study—at the vesicle level—the vesicle cycling events within individual central synapses. 

Since joining our department, Vitaly has published nine senior-author papers and one collaborative paper, all in high-profile journals, including two in Neuron and four in the Journal of Neuroscience.  Both of the Neuron papers were cited as featured articles; one of the Journal of Neuroscicence articles also earned this accolade.  Vitaly’s research has been supported by two R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health and awards from a number of private foundations.

Vitaly did his undergraduate training and completed a Master’s degree in biophysics at Moscow State University.  In 1998, he entered the PhD program in biophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked with Meyer Jackson and received his early training in neurophysiology.  He carried out postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute with Chuck Stevens, an internationally known neurobiologist and pioneer in synaptic transmission research.

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