Diane K. O'Dowd

HHMI Professor, Developmental & Cell Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology
School of Medicine

Vice Provost, Academic Personnel

PH.D., 1985

Phone: (949)824-4562
Fax: (949) 824-8549
Email: dkodowd@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
4221 McGaugh Hall
Mail Code: 2300
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Diane K. O'Dowd

Synaptic transmission, plasticity, ion channels, Drosophila, genetics, learning and memory, nicotine
URL For most recent Education research updates:
2014 Chancellor's Living Our Values Award, UCI
2014 Faculty recipient of the UCI Postdoctoral Service Award
2011-12 UCI Professor of the Year for Exceptional Undergraduate Instruction
2012 First Annual Student’s Choice Award, Best Biology Professor, UCI
2009 UCI Faculty Award, University Extension
2008 AAAS Fellow
2008-2009 National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences
2006-2009 Board Member, National Academies Summer Institute on Undergrad. Ed.
2006-2014 HHMI Professor Award
2007 UCI Senate Council on Student Experience, TA Development Award
2005-6 UCI Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, UCI
2005 Faculty Member of the Month (October), Mesa Court, Student Organization
2005 Biological Sciences Golden Apple Teaching Award
2004 National Acadamies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences
1995-2000 Research Career Development Award (RCDA), NIH
1989-1991 Multiple Sclerosis Society Fellowship
1989 Irvine Faculty Research Fellowship
1989 Irvine College of Medicine Faculty Research Grant
1986-1988 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
1985 European Molecular Biology Organization Fellowship
1982 Cold Spring Harbor Grass Fellowship
1979-1982 National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
Appointments 1986-1989, Postdoctoral Fellow in laboratory of Dr. Rick Aldrich, Stanford University
For the past 27 years my research lab at UCI has studied the activity of living neurons from the brains of both flies and mice. Using molecular genetic manipulations and whole cell electrophysiology we are exploring the role of specific genes in regulating functional plasticity of developing and mature neural circuits. We are also examining how environmental factors such as exposure to specific drugs, including nicotine, can influence information transfer between neurons. A basic understanding of the genes and environmental factors that influence information processing between small groups of neurons is key to development of drugs and gene therapies aimed at restoring normal activity in the human brain that has been damaged by injury, disease, or exposure to drugs of abuse. These studies will also provide important clues as to the factors that might enhance normal cognitive function both during development and in the mature human brain. We are currently exploring the role of human sodium channel mutations that cause epilepsy on channel function and neuronal activity using knock-in transgenic flies along with parallel studies in neurons derived from induced human pluripotent stem cells generated from fibroblasts obtained from individuals with these mutations.

Teaching is also an important facet of my career. With resources provided by an HHMI Professorship we are working to transform the relationship between teaching and research at UCI, a setting where research tends to dominate, and teaching is often viewed a burdensome chore. We are developing strategies to help create dynamic learning environments in large biology classes that are compatible with the faculty building or maintaining successful research programs. We also provide training in interactive teaching for graduate students TAs teaching discussions and postdoctoral fellows mentoring undergraduates in research. Finally, we have a program aimed at increasing the number of undergraduate biology majors participating in education abroad, with a particular focus on recruiting students who are members of groups underrepresented in the sciences.
Publications Schutte, S.S., R.J. Schutte, E.V. Barragan, and D.K. O’Dowd (2016) Model systems for studying cellular mechanisms of SCN1A related epilepsy. J. Neurophysiol. 115: 1755-1766. PMID: 26843603
  Guven-Ozkan, T., G.U. Busto, S.S. Schutte, I. Cervantes-Sandoval, D.K.O’Dowd, and R.L. Davis (2016) MiR-980 is a memory suppressor microRNA that regulates the autism-susceptibility gene A2bp1. Cell Rep 14: 1698-709. PMID: 26876166
  Reimer, L., K. Schenke, T. Nguyen, D. K. O’Dowd, T. Domina, and M. Waschauer (2016) Evaluating promising practices in undergraduate STEM lecture courses. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 2: 212-233.
  Williams, A.E., N. M. Aguilar-Roca, and D.K. O’Dowd (2016) Lecture capture podcasts: differential student use and performance in a large introductory course. Education Technology Research and Development 64: 1-12. DOI 10.1007/s11423-015-9406-5.
  Brick, D.J., H.E. Nethercott, S. Montesano, M.G. Banuelos, A.E. Stover, S.S. Schutte, D. K. O'Dowd, R. J. Hagerman, M. Ono, D.R. Hessl, F. Tassone, and P.H. Schwartz (2014) The autism spectrum disorders stem cell resource at CHOC Children's: Implication for disease modeling and drug discovery. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 3: 1275-1286. PMID: 25273538.
  Jiang*, S., A.E. Williams*, M. Warschauer, W. He, and D.K.O'Dowd (2014) Influence of incentives on performance in a Pre-college Biology MOOC. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), 15.5 (*co-first authors).
  Schutte, Ryan J., S.S. Schutte, J.Algara, E.V. Barragan, J.Gilligan, Cynthia Staber, Yiannis A. Savva, Martin A. Smith, Robert Reenan, and Diane K. O’Dowd (2014) Knock-in model of Dravet Syndrome reveals a constitutive and conditional reduction in sodium current. J. Neurophysiol. 112: 903-912. PMID: 24805083
  Brick, D.J., H.E. Nethercott, S. Montesano, M.G. Banuelos, A.E. Stover, S.S. Schutte, D. K. O'Dowd, R. J. Hagerman, M. Ono, D.R. Hessl, F. Tassone, and P.H. Schwartz (2014) The autism spectrum disorders stem cell resource at CHOC Children's: Implication for disease modeling and drug discovery. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 3: 1275-1286. PMID: 25273538
  Narayanareddy, B.R.J, S. Vartiainen, N. Hariri, D.K. O’Dowd and S.P. Gross (2014) A biophysical analysis of mitochondrial movement: differences between transport in neuronal cell bodies versus processes. Traffic 15: 762-71. PMID 24673933
  Iniguez, J., S.S. Schutte, and D.K. O’Dowd (2013) Cav3-type a1T calcium channels mediate transient calcium currents that regulate repetitive firing in Drosophila antennal lobe PNs. J. Neurophysiol. 110: 1490-1496 PMID: 23864373
  Anderson, W.A., U. Banerjee, C.L. Drennan, S.C.R. Elgin, I.R. Epstein, J. Handelsman, G.F. Hatfull, R. Losick*, D.K. O’Dowd*, B.M. Olivera, S.A. Strobel, G.C. Walker, and I.M. Warner (2011) Changing the Culture of Science Education at Research Universities. Science 331: 152-153. *corresponding authors.
  Stover, A., D. Brick, H. Nethercott, M. Banuelos, L. Sun, D. K. O’Dowd, and P. Schwartz (2013) Process-based expansion and neural differentation of human pluripotent stem cells for transplantation and disease-modeling. J. Neurosci. Res 91: 1247-1262. PMID: 23893392
  Sun, L., J. Gilligan, C. Staber, R.J. Schutte, V. Nguyen, D.K.O’Dowd* and R. Reenan* (2012) A knock-in model of human epilepsy in Drosophila reveals a novel cellular mechanism associated with heat-induced seizure. J. Neurosci. 32: 14145-14155. *co-corresponding authors
  Aguilar-Roca, N.M., A. E. Williams, and D.K. O’Dowd (2012) The impact of laptop-free zones on student performance and attitudes in large lectures. Computers & Education 59: 1300-1308.
  Ren, P., H. Zhang, F. Qiu, Y.Q. Liu, H. Gu, D.K. O’Dowd, Q.Y. Zhou, and W.P. Hu. (2011) Prokineticin 2 regulates the electrical activity of rat suprachiasmatic nuclei neurons. PloSOne 6:(6):e20263
  Anderson WA, Amasino RM, Ares M Jr, Banerjee U, Bartel B, Corces VG, Drennan CL, Elgin SC, Epstein IR, Fanning E, Guillette LJ Jr, Handelsman J, Hatfull GF, Hoy RR, Kelley D, Leinwand LA, Losick R, Lu Y, Lynn DG, Neuhauser C, O'Dowd DK, Olivera T, Pevzner P, Richards-Kortum RR, Rine J, Sah RL, Strobel SA, Walker GC, Walt DR, Warner IM, Wessler S, Willard HF, Zare RN (2011) Competencies: A cure for pre-med. curriculum. Science 334: 760-761. Letter.
  Moravec, M, A. Williams, N. Aguilar-Roca, D.K. O’Dowd (2010) Learn before lecture: A strategy that improves learning outcomes in a large introductory biology class. CBE-Life Science Education 9: 473-481.
  Gu, H., S.A. Jiang, J.M. Campusano, J. Iniguez, H. Su, A.A. Hoang, M. Lavian, X. Sun, and D.K.O’Dowd (2009) Cav2-type calcium channels encoded by cac regulate AP-independent neurotransmitter release at cholinergic synapses in adult Drosophila brain. J. Neurophysiol. 101: 42-53.
  Williams, A., N.M. Aguilar-Roca, M. Tsai, M. Wong, M. Moravec Beaupré, and D. K. O’Dowd (2011) Assessment of learning gains associated with independent exam analysis in introductory biology. CBE-Life Science Education 10: 346-356.
  Hilgenberg, L.G.W, B. Pham, M. Ortega, S. Walid, T. Kemmerly, D.K. O’Dowd, and M.A. Smith (2009) Regulation of a3 sodium potassium ATPase activity modulates cardiac myocyte contraction, J. Biol. Chem. 284: 16956-65.
  O’Dowd, D.K. and N. Aguilar-Roca (2009) Garage Demos: Using physical models to illustrate dynamic aspects of microscopic processes. Cell Biology Education 8: 118-122.
  Aguilar-Roca, N., A. Williams, R. Warrior, D.K.O’Dowd (2009) Two minute training in class significantly increases the use of professional formatting in student to faculty email correspondence. IJSoTL: In press. http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/
  Sheeba, V.*, H. Gu*, V.K. Sharma, D.K.O’Dowd, and T. Holmes (2008) Circadian- and light-dependent regulation of resting membrane potential and spontaneous action potential firing of Drosophila circadian pacemaker neurons. J. Neurophysiol. 99: 976-88. *authors contributed equally to the work.
  Sheeba, V., V.K. Sharma, H. Gu, Y-T Chou, D.K. O’Dowd, and T. Holmes (2008) Pigment Dispersing factor-dependent and –independent circadian locomoter behavioral rhythms. J. Neurosci, 28: 217-227.
  Campusano, J.M., H. Su, S.A. Jiang, B. Sicaeros, D. K. O’Dowd (2007) nAChR-mediated calcium responses and plasticity in Drosophila Kenyon cells. Dev. Neurobiology 67: 1520-1532.
Grants HHMI Professor Grant 2006-2014
CART Pilot Project 2013-14
NSF Wider Eager Grant 2012-2014
NIH RO1 (O'Dowd, PI) NINDS, #NS083009-01A1 Title: Functional studies of epilepsy mutations in Drosophila and human iPSC-derived neurons Award dates: 2/14-1/19
Society for Neuroscience
Society for General Physiology
Graduate Programs Cellular and Molecular Biosciences

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Research Center Developmental Biology Center
Link to this profile http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=2702
Last updated 04/23/2016