Dr. Nicholas Brecha, Director

Contact Information
Phone: (310) 825-6758
Fax: (310) 825-2224
Email: [email protected]

Location Address
Department of Neurobiology
UCLA School of Medicine, CHS 73-325
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Research Areas

Functional Organization of the Mammalian Retina


Dr. Brecha's research focuses on the elucidation of the functional organization of the inner retina. Morphological studies have defined discrete classes of amacrine and bipolar cells, whereas neurochemical and physiological studies have investigated the modulatory action of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides on these cells. This work has led to a better appreciation of neuropeptides as key regulators of retinal neurons and circuitry and thereby an important influence on visual processing in the retina. These investigations provide fundamental knowledge about the functional organization of the retina and form the basis for understanding the pathophysiology of retinal dysfunction.

Representative Publications

Johnson J, Wong H, Walsh JH, Brecha NC. Expression of the somatostatin subtype 2A receptor in the rabbit retina. J Comp Neurol 1998;393:93-101.

Johnson J, Wu V, Wong H, Walsh JH, Brecha NC. Somatostatin receptor Sst2A expression in the rat retina. Neuroscience 1999;94:675-83.

Akopian A, Johnson J, Gabriel R, Brecha NC, Witkovsky P. Somatostatin modulates voltage-gated K+ and Ca2+ currents in rod and cone photoreceptors of the salamander retina. J Neurosci 2000;20:929-36.

Johnson J, Caravelli ML, Brecha NC. Somatostatin inhibits Ca2+ influx into rat rod bipolar cell axonal terminals. Vis Neurosci 2001;18:101-8.

Cueva JG, Haverkamp S, Reimer RJ, Edwards RH, Wässle H, Brecha NC. The vesicular GABA transporter is expressed by amacrine and horizontal cells. J Comp Neurol (Accepted).


National Institute of Drug Abuse: Center for the Study of Opioid Peptides and Drugs of Abuse: Antibody and Imaging Core (Core Director), 7/31/97-6/30/02
National Eye Institute: Neurochemical Pathways in the Retina, 6/30/99-7/1/04

Available Positions

Postdoctoral scholar: Position is available to study the mechanisms of neurotransmitter and peptide action in the retina. Investigations are concerned with transmitter and peptide receptor expression in the mammalian retina, modulation of ganglion and bipolar cells by GABA and peptides, and mechanisms underlying GABA release from retinal neurons. Applicants should have an advanced degree and experience in molecular or cellular biology, or electrophysiology.

Graduate Student: Position is available to study the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release from retinal neurons using cell biological and electrophysiological approaches. Applicants should be in good standing in one of the UCLA's biomedical graduate programs. Stipend and fees are provided. Applications to these programs can be found at the UCLA Graduate Division Web site.