Joseph Watson, Ph.D. (Retired)

Work Address:
760 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 760 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Dr. Watson received his Ph.D from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA in 1985 in Jay Gralla's Laboratory in which he combined virology and protein biochemistry to identify early SV40 virus replication and transcription complexes associated with the nuclear matrix of eukaryotic cells. He then went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology of the nervous system in Dr. J. Gregor Sutcliffe's lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, where he began his initial studies of neurodegenerative diseases focusing on identifying novel genes relevant to Huntington's Disease (HD). He returned to UCLA in 1989 as a member of the Mental Retardation Research Center and the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, studying synaptic targets of neurodegenerative diseases that include Parkinson's Disease (PD), HD, and Alzheimer's Disease. He has also served as the Vice Chair of the Neuroscience Undergraduate Interdepartmental Program for the UCLA campus and Outreach Program Director for the Brain Research Institute (BRI). He also served as an Associate Dean in the Graduate Division from 2012 until 2019. He is currently an Emeritus Professor in Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences continuing his research in PD and HD.


A selected list of publications:

Barry Joshua, Sarafian Theodore A, Watson Joseph B, Cepeda Carlos, Levine Michael S   Mechanisms underlying the enhancement of γ-aminobutyric acid responses in the external globus pallidus of R6/2 Huntington's disease model mice Journal of neuroscience research, 2020; 98(11): 2349-2356.
Sarafian Theodore A, Yacoub Amneh, Kunz Anastasia, Aranki Burkan, Serobyan Grigor, Cohn Whitaker, Whitelegge Julian P, Watson Joseph B   Enhanced mitochondrial inhibition by 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-acetaldehyde (DOPAL)-oligomerized α-synuclein Journal of neuroscience research, 2019; 97(12): 1689-1705.
Sarafian Theodore A, Littlejohn Kaitlyn, Yuan Sarah, Fernandez Charlene, Cilluffo Marianne, Koo Bon-Kyung, Whitelegge Julian P, Watson Joseph B   Stimulation of synaptoneurosome glutamate release by monomeric and fibrillated α-synuclein Journal of neuroscience research, 2017; 95(9): 1871-1887.
Cepeda Carlos, Galvan Laurie, Holley Sandra M, Rao Shilpa P, André Véronique M, Botelho Elian P, Chen Jane Y, Watson Joseph B, Deisseroth Karl, Levine Michael S   Multiple sources of striatal inhibition are differentially affected in Huntington's disease mouse models The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2013; 33(17): 7393-406.
Sarafian Theodore A, Ryan Christopher M, Souda Puneet, Masliah Eliezer, Kar Upendra K, Vinters Harry V, Mathern Gary W, Faull Kym F, Whitelegge Julian P, Watson Joseph B   Impairment of mitochondria in adult mouse brain overexpressing predominantly full-length, N-terminally acetylated human α-synuclein PloS one, 2013; 8(5): e63557.
Chang Julia W, Arnold Monica M, Rozenbaum Anna, Caputo Anna, Schweizer Felix E, Huynh My, Mathern Gary W, Sarafian Theodore A, Watson Joseph B   Synaptoneurosome micromethod for fractionation of mouse and human brain, and primary neuronal cultures Journal of neuroscience methods, 2012; 211(2): 289-95.
Romero-Calderón Rafael, O'Hare Elizabeth D, Suthana Nanthia A, Scott-Van Zeeland Ashley A, Rizk-Jackson Angela, Attar Aida, Madsen Sarah K, Ghiani Cristina A, Evans Christopher J, Watson Joseph B   Project brainstorm: using neuroscience to connect college students with local schools PLoS biology, 2012; 10(4): e1001310.
Cummings Damian M, Alaghband Yasaman, Hickey Miriam A, Joshi Prasad R, Hong S Candice, Zhu Chunni, Ando Timothy K, André Véronique M, Cepeda Carlos, Watson Joseph B, Levine Michael S   A critical window of CAG repeat-length correlates with phenotype severity in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease Journal of neurophysiology, 2012; 107(2): 677-91.
Cepeda Carlos, Cummings Damian M, Hickey Miriam A, Kleiman-Weiner Max, Chen Jane Y, Watson Joseph B, Levine Michael S   Rescuing the Corticostriatal Synaptic Disconnection in the R6/2 Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease: Exercise, Adenosine Receptors and Ampakines PLoS currents, 2010; 2(2): .
Watson J B, Hatami A, David H, Masliah E, Roberts K, Evans C E, Levine M S   Alterations in corticostriatal synaptic plasticity in mice overexpressing human alpha-synuclein Neuroscience, 2009; 159(2): 501-13.
Watson J B, Arnold M M, Ho Y-S, O'Dell T J   Age-dependent modulation of hippocampal long-term potentiation by antioxidant enzymes Journal of neuroscience research, 2006; 84(7): 1564-74.
Zhao Danyun, Watson Joseph B, Xie Cui-Wei   Amyloid beta prevents activation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and AMPA receptor phosphorylation during hippocampal long-term potentiation Journal of neurophysiology, 2004; 92(5): 2853-8.
Chotiner J K, Khorasani H, Nairn A C, O'Dell T J, Watson J B   Adenylyl cyclase-dependent form of chemical long-term potentiation triggers translational regulation at the elongation step Neuroscience, 2003; 116(3): 743-52.
Watson J B, Khorasani H, Persson A, Huang K-P, Huang F L, O'Dell T J   Age-related deficits in long-term potentiation are insensitive to hydrogen peroxide: coincidence with enhanced autophosphorylation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II Journal of neuroscience research, 2002; 70(3): 298-308.
Cepeda Carlos, Crawford Cynthia A, Margulies Jody E, Watson Joseph B, Levine Michael S, Cohen Randy W   Enhanced epileptogenic susceptibility in a genetic model of reactive synaptogenesis: the spastic Han-Wistar rat Developmental neuroscience, 2002; 24(4): 262-71.
Watson, J.B.   Subtractive cDNA Hybridization and Brain: Then, Now, and Tomorrow, Handbook of Molecular-Genetic Techniques for Brain and Behavior Research (Techniques in the Behavior, 1999; Vol. 13: 189-199.
Makhinson M, Chotiner J K, Watson J B, O'Dell T J   Adenylyl cyclase activation modulates activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II autophosphorylation The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 1999; 19(7): 2500-10.
Johnson M W, Chotiner J K, Watson J B   Isolation and characterization of synaptoneurosomes from single rat hippocampal slices Journal of neuroscience methods, 1997; 77(2): 151-6.
Chang, JW Schumacher, E Coulter, PM Vinters, HV Watson, JB   Dendritic translocation of RC3/neurogranin mRNA in normal aging, Alzheimer disease and fronto-temporal dementia Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology. , 1997; 56(10): 1105-18.