Dr. Jerrel Louis Yakel is Senior Scientist and Head of the Ion Chanel Physiology Group, Laboratory of Neurobiology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institues of Health (NIH). He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Yakel’s research is directed toward understanding the role of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and brain function, as well as how dysfunction in this receptor leads to various neurodegenerative diseases and addiction. In particular his work is focused on how this receptor may affect cognitive processes, and how this relates to Alzheimer’s disease. He also studies the interaction between apolipoprotein E with the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and dendritic calcium signaling due to activation of α7-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in rat hippocampal neurons. He uses various electrophysiological and voltage-sensitive dye recording techniques to study hippocampal excitability and circuits regulated by nicotinic receptor activation to gain insights into disease mechanisms.