Elva Diaz, Ph.D. - IDDRC Investigator

Elva Diaz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology,
UC Davis School of Medicine

Department of Pharmacology
451 Health Sciences Drive, Room 3503 GBSF
Davis, CA 95616

Phone: 530-754-6080 / Fax:  530-754-7710
E-mail: ediaz@ucdavis.edu 

Areas of Interest

Synapse Development, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Neural Proliferation, Brain Cancer


During development of the central nervous system specific programs of gene expression underlie the formation of precise synaptic connections that ultimately give rise to higher cognitive function. In my lab, an expression profiling approach identified genes that were specifically unregulated during the phases of neuronal proliferation and synapse formation in the developing rodent brain (Diaz et al., Neuron, 2002). Two major projects are ongoing in my lab: the role of the transcription factor Mxd3 in cerebellar granule neuron proliferation (Yun et al., Mol Cell Biol, 2007) and the role of a novel family of conserved postsynaptic transmembrane proteins SynDIG1 in excitatory synapse development (Kalashnikova et al., Neuron, 2010). Intriguingly, misregulation of Mxd3 and SynDIG1 are implicated in neurological and psychiatric diseases such as brain tumors (Barisone et al., PLoS ONE, 2012) and schizophrenia, respectively.

Current IDDRC Projects
  • Generation of tumor stem cell lines for directed therapeutics of brain cancer, NIGM/NIH, DP2 OD006479-01
  • Novel role of SynDIG1 in schizophrenia, UC Davis Academic Senate Research Grant Program

Recent Representative Publications

Yun JS, Rust JM, Ishimaru T, and Díaz E. A novel role for the Mad family member Mad3 in cerebellar granule neuron precursor proliferation, Mol Cell Biol. 2007, 27: 8178-8189. PMC2169189

Kalashnikova E, Lorca RA, Kaur I, Barisone GA, Li BH, Ishimaru T, Trimmer JS, Mohapatra DP, and Díaz E. SynDIG1: an activity-regulated AMPA receptor interacting transmembrane protein that regulates excitatory synapse development, Neuron, 2010, 65: 80-93. PMC2822728

Díaz E. Regulation of AMPA receptors by transmembrane accessory proteins [invited review]. Eur J Neuro, 2010, 32: 261-268. PMID: 20946114

McMahon SA and Díaz E., Mechanisms of excitatory synapse maturation by trans-synaptic organizing complexes [invited review]. Curr Opin Neuro 2011, 21(2): 221-227. PMID: 21242087

Barisone GA, Ngo T, Tran M, Cortes D, Shahi MH, Nguyen TV, Lanza-Perez D, Matayasuwan W, and Díaz E, Role of Mxd3 in proliferation of DAOY human medulloblastoma cells . PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e38508. Epub 2012 Jul 10. PMID: 22808009