Beginning with his work as a graduate student at Michigan, Professor Ueda made a series of impressive discoveries. He isolated and characterized a synapse-specific phosphoprotein in the central nervous system, called protein I or synapsin, which plays an important role in synaptic function, and he characterized the protein kinase involved in its phosphorylation.
While continuing his interest in the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission, Professor Ueda also began a systematic study of the uptake of glutamate into synaptic vesicles. Over 50 percent of the synapses in the brain are thought to use glutamate as a neurotransmitter, and abnormalities in glutamate synaptic function have been implicated in strokes, Alzheimers disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders. Professor Uedas groundbreaking work in this area provides a much clearer view of how to regulate and control critical pathways in the brain, and it is expected to have implications for reduction of damage following trauma or stroke.
An outstanding scientist who possesses a pioneering spirit and an infectious enthusiasm for his work, we are proud to honor Tetsufumi Ueda with the Senior Research Scientist Lectureship Award.