University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences

Bio for Felix Eckenstein, Ph.D.
Felix Eckenstein, Ph.D.

Felix Eckenstein, Ph.D.

Department of Neurological Sciences

Contact Information
Office Location:
University of Vermont, College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Ave., HSRF 408, Burlington, Vermont 05405




1980: Biochemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland Ph.D.
1978: Biochemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland M.S.

Academic Interests

I am the course director of the “Basic Science of Neurological Disease” course (ANNB 326), and participate in teaching Developmental Neurobiology (ANNB 320), Neurochemistry (ANNB 323), and Comparative Neurobiology (ANNB 330) courses. I also participate in teaching the Neural Science course for first year medical students.

Research Interests

I am focused on studying the molecular and cellular responses of the nervous system to environmental toxins and drugs. One project investigates the effect of Methyl Mercury (MeHg) on the differentiation of neural stem cells. We have shown in cell culture that very low sub-cytotoxic doses of MeHg enhance cytokine induced STAT3 phosphorylation, which results in enhanced expression of target genes such as GFAP, and promotes glial differentiation. We are now testing whether MeHg exposure has a similar effect in vivo.

A second project investigates the role of prototoxins, such as Lynx1 and Lynx2, in the response of cortical and basal forebrain neurons to nicotine. These prototoxins are thought to associate with and modulate the activity of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. We are currently evaluating the morphological and molecular effects of nicotine exposure in prototoxin knockout mice. This project is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Rae Nishi in Neurological Scieces.

I am also interested in developing a program to evaluate the ffects of environmental toxins and drugs neural plasticity in humans. We are currently investigating the effects of chemotherapy on peripheral nerve fiber density and morphology. This project is a collaboration with Dr. Rup Tandan in Neurological Sciences.

Academic Appointments

2012-Present: Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
2001-2012: Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine


Eckenstein F, McGovern T, Kern D, Deignan J.  Neuronal vulnerability in transgenic mice expressing an inducible dominant-negative FGF receptor.  Exp Neurol. 2006 Feb 15; [Epub ahead of print]

Stackman RW, Eckenstein F, Frei B, Kulhanek D, Nowlin J, Quinn J.  Prevention of age-related spatial memory deficits in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease by chronic Ginkgo biloba treatment. Exp. Neurol. 2003;  184: 510-520

Quinn J, Montine T, Morrow J, Woodward WR, Kulhanek D, Eckenstein F.  Inflammation and cerebral amyloidosis are disconnected in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease.  J.Neuroimmunol. 2003; 137:32-41.

Montine K.S., Montine T.J., Morrow J.D., Frei B., Milatovic D., Eckenstein F., and Quinn J.F.  Mouse cerebral prostaglandins, but not oxidative damage, change with age and are responsive to indomethacin treatment. Brain Res. 2002;  930: 75-82

Quinn J., Davis F., Woodward W., and Eckenstein F.P.   Beta amyloid plaques induce neuritic dystrophy of nitric oxide producing neurons in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.  Exp. Neurol.  2001; 168: 203-212

To see more of Dr. Eckenstein's publications, please visit PubMed.