Department of Otorhinolaryngology

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Thomas D. Parsons VMD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery
Associate Professor of Swine Production Medicine, Department of Clinical Studies – New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Secondary Appointment - Associate Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Department: Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
Dept of Clinical Studies
New Bolton Center
382 West Street Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348-1692
Office: 610-925-6554
Fax: 610-925-6834
Graduate Group Affiliations
B.A. (Biology & Neuroscience, Magna Cum Laude)
Amherst College, 1982.
V.M.D. (Veterinary Medicine)
University of Pennsylvania, 1986.
Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
University of Pennsylvania, 1989.
Post-Graduate Training
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program, 1982-1988.
Resident Visitor, Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Dept., AT&T Bell Labs , 1988-1989.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, Supervisor: Brian M. Salzberg, 1988-1989.
Research Associate, School of Medicine, Emory University, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Supervisor: H. Criss Hartzell , 1989-1992.
Research Associate, Abteilung Molekulare Zellforschung Max-Planck-Institut f. Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany, Supervisors: Wolfhard Almers & Bert Sakmann , 1993-1995.
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Description of Research Expertise

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release

exocytosis, endocytosis, synaptic transmission, neurotransmitter release

time-resolved detection of neurotransmitter release from single cells: cell membrane capacitance, amperometric voltametry, and voltage clamp of detector cells or sniffer patches; optical monitoring and modulation of intracellular calcium; fluorescent indicator dyes of calcium, and photolabile chelators of calcium; cell culture and brain slice-like preparations.

My laboratory focuses on pre-synaptic mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Hearing dictates that the inner hair cell of the cochlea must release transmitter for prolonged periods and with exquisite temporal fidelity. Mechanisms of neurotransmitter release are being studied to understand the cellular and molecular specializations utilized by different parts of the nervous system to meet their unique requirements for neurotransmission.

Primary area of research:
Basic sciences – Neuroscience with a special emphasis on synaptic mechanisms in the auditory system.
Clinical science – Swine health and well-being

Selected Publications

Hughes, E.G., Peng, X., Gleichman, A.J., Lai, M., Zhou, L., Tsou, R., Parsons, T.D., Lynch, D.R., Dalmau, J., Balice-Gordon, R.J.: Cellular and synaptic mechanisms of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. J Neurosci 28(30): 5866-75, 2010.

*Wittig, J.H. Jr., Parsons, T.D.: Synaptic ribbon enables temporal precision of hair cell afferent synapse by increasing the number of readily releasable vesicles: A modeling study. J Neurophysiol 100: 1724-1739, 2008.

Bell, T.J., Miyashiro, K.Y., Sul, J.Y., Jochems, J., Haydon, P.G., Parsons, T.D., Eberwine, J.: Cytoplasmic BKCa channel pre-mRNAs contribute to the excitability of hippocampal neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 12(105): 1901-6, 2008.

*Avissar, M., Furman, A.C., Saunders, J.C., Parsons, T.D.: Adaptation reduces spike count reliability, but not spike timing precision, of auditory nerve responses. J Neurosci 13(27): 6461-72, 2007.

Parsons, T.D.: Auditory fidelity. Nature. 444: 1013-1014, 2006.

*Spassova, M., M. Avissar, A.C. Furman, M.A. Crumling, J.C. Saunders & T.D. Parsons. : Evidence that rapid replenishment of the synaptic ribbon with vesicles mediates recovery from short-term adaptation at the hair cell afferent synapse. J.Assc.Res.Otolaryn. 5: 376-390, 2004.

Parsons, T.D. and P. Sterling.: Synaptic ribbon: a conveyor belt or safety belt? Neuron 37: 379-382, 2003.

*Hassinger, W.J., K.A. Monahan, K.A. T.L. Scanlon, Parsons, T.D.: Nutrient management practices among swine operations of various sizes. J. Am.Vet. Med. Assc. 217: 1526-1535, 2000.

Gardner, I.A., T.E. Carpenter, L. Leontidis, Parsons, T.D.: Financial evaluation of vaccination and testing alternatives for control of parvovirus-induced reproductive failure in swine. J. Am. Vet. Med. 208: 863-869, 1996.

Parsons, T.D., J.C. Coorssen, H. Horstmann, and W. Almers.: Docked granules, the exocytic burst and the need for ATP hydrolysis in endocrine cells. Neuron. 15: 1085-1096, 1995.

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Last updated: 06/26/2014
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