Ege Taner Kavalali, Ph.D.


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Faculty Appointments
Professor of Pharmacology William Stokes Chair in Experimental Therapeutics
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New JerseyB.S., Electrical Engineeering, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Office Address
465 21st Avenue South, 7140D MRBIII
Nashville, TN 37240
Research Description
As an undergraduate Dr. Kavalali studied Electrical Engineering at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1995, he received his Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University, where he worked with Dr. Mark Plummer. In 1999, he completed his postdoctoral studies with Dr. Richard W. Tsien in Stanford University at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. The same year, Dr. Kavalali joined the faculty at the Center for Basic Neuroscience at UT Southwestern led by Dr. Thomas C. Südhof. After 19 years of service at UT Southwestern, in September 2018, Dr. Kavalali joined the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University as a Professor.

Dr. Kavalali studies mechanisms of neurotransmission and synaptic signaling in the central nervous system using electrical and optical recording techniques as well as molecular tools. His group focuses on the molecular basis and functional consequences of heterogeneity among synaptic vesicle recycling pathways present within individual synapses. In particular, his work has uncovered the role and underlying mechanisms of spontaneous neurotransmitter release that holds it apart mechanistically and functionally from evoked neurotransmission. These studies gave rise to the hypothesis that spontaneous neurotransmission acts as an autonomous neuronal signaling pathway independent of action potential-evoked synaptic transmission. In addition, Dr. Kavalali and colleagues have identified spontaneous neurotransmission-dependent signal transduction mechanisms that are required to trigger rapid antidepressant action.
Research Keywords
Electrophysiology, Mechanisms of Rapid Antidepressant Action, Neurotransmitter Release, Synaptic Transmission and Plasticity
Chanaday NL, Kavalali ET. Time course and temperature dependence of synaptic vesicle endocytosis. FEBS Lett [print-electronic]. 2018 Nov; 592(21): 3606-14. PMID: 30311950, DOI: 10.1002/1873-3468.13268, ISSN: 1873-3468.

Liu P, Khvotchev M, Li YC, Chanaday NL, Kavalali ET. Copine-6 Binds to SNAREs and Selectively Suppresses Spontaneous Neurotransmission. J. Neurosci [print-electronic]. 2018 Jun 6/27/2018; 38(26): 5888-99. PMID: 29802203, PMCID: PMC6021993, PII: JNEUROSCI.0461-18.2018, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0461-18.2018, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Chanaday NL, Kavalali ET. Optical detection of three modes of endocytosis at hippocampal synapses. Elife. 2018 Apr 4/23/2018; 7: PMID: 29683423, PMCID: PMC5959719, PII: 36097, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.36097, ISSN: 2050-084X.

Kavalali ET. Spontaneous neurotransmission: A form of neural communication comes of age. J. Neurosci. Res [print-electronic]. 2018 Mar; 96(3): 331-4. PMID: 29219198, PMCID: PMC5766395, DOI: 10.1002/jnr.24207, ISSN: 1097-4547.

Ramirez DMO, Crawford DC, Chanaday NL, Trauterman B, Monteggia LM, Kavalali ET. Loss of Doc2-Dependent Spontaneous Neurotransmission Augments Glutamatergic Synaptic Strength. J. Neurosci [print-electronic]. 2017 Jun 6/28/2017; 37(26): 6224-30. PMID: 28539418, PMCID: PMC5490061, PII: JNEUROSCI.0418-17.2017, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0418-17.2017, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Suzuki K, Nosyreva E, Hunt KW, Kavalali ET, Monteggia LM. Effects of a ketamine metabolite on synaptic NMDAR function. Nature. 2017 Jun 6/21/2017; 546(7659): E1-E3. PMID: 28640258, PII: nature22084, DOI: 10.1038/nature22084, ISSN: 1476-4687.

Li YC, Kavalali ET. Synaptic Vesicle-Recycling Machinery Components as Potential Therapeutic Targets. Pharmacol. Rev. 2017 Apr; 69(2): 141-60. PMID: 28265000, PMCID: PMC5394918, PII: 69/2/141, DOI: 10.1124/pr.116.013342, ISSN: 1521-0081.

Crawford DC, Ramirez DM, Trauterman B, Monteggia LM, Kavalali ET. Selective molecular impairment of spontaneous neurotransmission modulates synaptic efficacy. Nat Commun. 2017 Feb 2/10/2017; 8: 14436. PMID: 28186166, PMCID: PMC5311059, PII: ncomms14436, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14436, ISSN: 2041-1723.

Li YC, Chanaday NL, Xu W, Kavalali ET. Synaptotagmin-1- and Synaptotagmin-7-Dependent Fusion Mechanisms Target Synaptic Vesicles to Kinetically Distinct Endocytic Pathways. Neuron [print-electronic]. 2017 Feb 2/8/2017; 93(3): 616-631.e3. PMID: 28111077, PMCID: PMC5300960, PII: S0896-6273(16)30949-7, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.12.010, ISSN: 1097-4199.

Reese AL, Kavalali ET. Single synapse evaluation of the postsynaptic NMDA receptors targeted by evoked and spontaneous neurotransmission. Elife. 2016 Nov 11/24/2016; 5: PMID: 27882871, PMCID: PMC5148599, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.21170, ISSN: 2050-084X.

Reese AL, Kavalali ET. Spontaneous neurotransmission signals through store-driven Ca(2+) transients to maintain synaptic homeostasis. Elife. 2015 Jul 7/24/2015; 4: PMID: 26208337, PMCID: PMC4534843, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.09262, ISSN: 2050-084X.

Kavalali ET. The mechanisms and functions of spontaneous neurotransmitter release. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 2015 Jan; 16(1): 5-16. PMID: 25524119, PII: nrn3875, DOI: 10.1038/nrn3875, ISSN: 1471-0048.

Leitz J, Kavalali ET. Fast retrieval and autonomous regulation of single spontaneously recycling synaptic vesicles. Elife. 2014 Nov 11/21/2014; 3: e03658. PMID: 25415052, PMCID: PMC4270043, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.03658, ISSN: 2050-084X.

Gideons ES, Kavalali ET, Monteggia LM. Mechanisms underlying differential effectiveness of memantine and ketamine in rapid antidepressant responses. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2014 Jun 6/10/2014; 111(23): 8649-54. PMID: 24912158, PMCID: PMC4060670, PII: 1323920111, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1323920111, ISSN: 1091-6490.

Kavalali ET, Jorgensen EM. Visualizing presynaptic function. Nat. Neurosci [print-electronic]. 2014 Jan; 17(1): 10-6. PMID: 24369372, PII: nn.3578, DOI: 10.1038/nn.3578, ISSN: 1546-1726.

Bal M, Leitz J, Reese AL, Ramirez DM, Durakoglugil M, Herz J, Monteggia LM, Kavalali ET. Reelin mobilizes a VAMP7-dependent synaptic vesicle pool and selectively augments spontaneous neurotransmission. Neuron [print-electronic]. 2013 Nov 11/20/2013; 80(4): 934-46. PMID: 24210904, PMCID: PMC3840105, PII: S0896-6273(13)00758-7, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.024, ISSN: 1097-4199.

Nosyreva E, Szabla K, Autry AE, Ryazanov AG, Monteggia LM, Kavalali ET. Acute suppression of spontaneous neurotransmission drives synaptic potentiation. J. Neurosci. 2013 Apr 4/17/2013; 33(16): 6990-7002. PMID: 23595756, PMCID: PMC3661220, PII: 33/16/6990, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4998-12.2013, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Kavalali ET, Monteggia LM. Synaptic mechanisms underlying rapid antidepressant action of ketamine. Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Nov; 169(11): 1150-6. PMID: 23534055, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12040531, ISSN: 1535-7228.