University of Vermont

The University of Vermont Cancer Center

Bio for Rae Nishi, Ph.D.
Rae Nishi, Ph.D.

Rae Nishi, Ph.D.

Department of Neurological Sciences
Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Contact Information
Office Location:
Neurological Sciences, HSRF 406, 149 Beaumont Ave., Burlington, Vt




1980-1984: Postdoctoral training, Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
1980: Ph.D., Biology, University of California, San Diego, CA
1975: B.S., Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Academic Interests

I am the director of three advanced graduate courses: Topics in Developmental Neurobiology (NSCI320), Neurochemistry (NSCI 323), and Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Biomedical Research (NSCI 327). I also oversee small group discussions for first year medical students in the Neural Science course of the Vermont integrated Curriculum. I am very interested in promoting outreach in neuroscience to K-12 students and the public. In 2011, I was elected a member of the Dana Alliance for the Brain Initiative, a program of the Dana Foundation.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in neural development and CNS function using a multidisciplinary approach that includes molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, cell culture, transgenic mice, and chicken embryos.

Administrative Interests

I am the director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program and director of the Neuroscience, Behavior and Health Initiative at UVM.

Academic Appointments

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


Simpson J, Keefe J and Nishi R. 2013. Differential Effects of Ret and TrkB on Axonal Branching and Survival of Parasympathetic Neurons. Dev. Neurobiol 73:45-59. Epub 2012 Jul 20. PMC in process

DeWitt J, Ochoa V, Urschitz J, Elston M, Moisyadi S, and Nishi R. 2013. Constitutively active TrkB confers an aggressive transformed phenotype in a normal neural crest derived cell line. Ocogene. [Epub ahead of print], PMC in process

Nishi R, Stubbusch J, Hulce JJ, Hruska M, Pappas A, Bravo MC, Huber LP, Bakondi B. Soltys J, Rohrer H. 2010. The cortistatin gene PSS2 rather than the somatostatin gene PSS1 is strongly expressed in developing avian autonomic neurons. J Comp Neurol. 518:839-850. PMC2919489

Hruska M, Keefe J, Wert D, Tekinay AB, Hulce JJ, IbaƱez-Tallon I, Nishi R. (2009). Prostate stem cell antigen is an endogenous lynx1-like prototoxin that antagonizes alpha7-containing nicotinic receptors and prevents programmed cell death of parasympathetic neurons. J Neurosci., 29(47):14847-54. PMID: 19940180.

Hruska M. and Nishi R. (2007). Cell-Autonomous Inhibition of a7-Containing Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors Prevents Death of Parasympathetic Neurons during Development. J. Neurosci. 27(43):11501-11509.

Straub J., Sholler, G. and Nishi, R. (2007). Embryonic sympathoblasts transiently express TrkB in vivo and proliferate in response to brain-derived neurotrophic factor in vitro. BMC Dev Biol. 7:10-23.

To view more of Dr. Nishi's publications, please visit PubMed.