New York Medical College

Christopher S. Leonard, Ph.D.

Professor of Physiology

Christopher LeonardEmail:


Department of Physiology
Basic Sciences Building
New York Medical College
Valhalla, NY 10595




Professional Interests:

Dr. Leonard is focused on understanding how neurons communicate. Using sophisticated biophysical recording techniques as well as computer modeling, the group examines how neurons in the brain stem and cerebral cortex generate electrical impulses, and how these neurons and their synaptic interactions are modulated by neurotransmitters. Dr. Leonard aims to correlate current cellular studies with the system-level behavior of neurons—processes that regulate how the brain stays awake, sleeps and generates dreams.

Education Profile:

Post Graduate Studies  
1988 - NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics, NYU Medical Ctr, NY (Rodolfo Llinás, mentor)

Graduate Degree: 
1986 - Ph.D. Physiology & Biophysics

Graduate Degree Institution:  
New York University, NY

Undergraduate Institution:  
1978 - B.S. (with Honors) Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston

Selected Bibliography:

Leonard. C.S., Kalogiannis, M. and Kohlmeier, K.A.: Hypocretin/orexin receptor functions in mesopontine systems regulating sleep and arousal. In: Narcolepsy: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment. edited by Scammell, T. and Baumann, C.: Springer 2011

Kalogiannis, M., Grupke, S.L., Potter, P.E.; Edwards, J.G., Chemelli, R.M., Kisanuki, Y.Y., Yanagisawa, M. and Leonard, C.S.: Narcoleptic orexin receptor knockout mice express enhanced cholinergic properties in laterodorsal tegmental neurons. European Journal of Neuroscience 32 (1): 130-142 (2010)

Ishibashi, M, Leonard, C.S. and Kohlmeier, K.A.: Nicotinic activation of laterodorsal tegmental neurons: implications for addiction to nicotine. Neuropsychophamacology 34, 2529–2547 (2009) doi 10.1038/npp.2009.82

Kohlmeier, K.A., Watanabe, S., Tyler, C.J., Burlet, S. and Leonard, C.S.: Dual orexin actions on arousal related neurons in mouse: Activation of a noisy cation current and selective enhancement of Ca2+ transients mediated by L-type calcium channels. Journal of Neurophysiology 100(4):2265-81 (2008)

Kohlmeier K.A. and Leonard C.S.: Transmitter modulation of spike-evoked calcium transients in arousal related-neurons: Muscarinic inhibition of SNX-482 sensitive calcium influx. European Journal of Neuroscience, 23:1151-1162. (2006)

Goldberg, E.M., Watanabe, S., Chang, S., Leonard, C.S. and Rudy, B. Specific functions of synaptically-localized potassium channels in synaptic transmission at the neocortical GABAergic fast-spiking cell synapse. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(21):5230-5235 (2005)

Burlet, S., Tyler, C. J. and Leonard, C. S.: Direct and indirect excitation of laterodorsal tegmental neurons by Hypocretin/Orexin peptides: Implications for wakefulness and narcolepsy. Journal of Neuroscience 22(7): 2862-2872, 2002.