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Recent News

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  • November – Congrats to Roger on being appointed the Louise B. McGavock Chair!
  • October – Colbran lab lifts first prize in the 2018 MPB Halloween Costume Contest going as the Royal Wedding Party, complete with Harry, Meghan, Kate and of course the Queen.  A THREE-PEAT.  Mellow Mushroom here we come!
  • July:  CONGRATULATIONS TO TYLER – he just learned that he has been awarded an AHA pre-doctoral fellowship!
  • June: We welcome Jessica Thomas to the Colbran lab! Jessica was a graduate student at the University of Iowa (Lee lab), and will be funded by the Training Program in Functional Neurogenomics
  • May: Roger gave an invited presentation at the 3rd International Calcium Channel Conference in Alpbach, Austria, titled “CaMKII Interactions with Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels”.
  • May: Roger was honored to receive the Charles R. Park Award for basic research revealing insights into physiology or pathophysiology from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Park was Chairman of the Department of Physiology at Vanderbilt from 1952-84, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences!
  • May: Our stellar undergraduate student, Keeley Spiess, graduated from Vanderbilt, with a Neuroscience major, and we are delighted that she will join the lab for a year (or two?) of postbac research.


  • December: Xiaohan defends his dissertation entitled: “Multifaceted Regulation Of Neuronal L-Type Ca2+ Channels By The N-Terminal Domain: From CaMKII Targeting To Nuclear Signaling”. Great job, Xiaohan!
  • December: Congrats to Brian for his paper now accepted in Biological Psychiatry entitled: “Role of Striatal Direct Pathway 2-Arachidonoylglycerol Signaling in Sociability and Repetitive Behavior” with a VUMC article written about the research here.
  • November: Tyler and Xiaohan present posters at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
  • October: Colbran lab wins the prize for best lab costume at the MPB Halloween Party, going as characters from the Game of Thrones – Daenerys Targaryen, John Snow and three dragons.
  • October:  Kudos to Keeley for winning the prize for best undergraduate poster presentation at the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research Science Day.
  • October: Congrats to Xiaohan for his paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry entitled: “A novel mechanism for Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II targeting to L-type Ca2+ channels that initiates long-range signaling to the nucleus”, featured in this Vanderbilt article.
  • October:  Christian presented a poster of her work “The Role of CaMKII in mGlu5 Signaling” at the 9th International Meeting on Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors in Sicily, Italy.
  • July: Xiaohan won the Best Student Poster Award, and was selected to give an oral presentation at the FASEB Ion Channels Conference in Steamboat Springs, CO.
  • June: We are delighted to welcome Lan Hu to the lab, as our new Research Assistant and Lab manager.
  • June: Tyler received 2nd place Poster Award at the Annual Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Departmental Retreat.
  • May: Bon Voyage to Walker, who completed his postbac year in the lab and moved on to bigger and better things to be determined.
  • April: Alumna News: Hala Haddad, our  2015 undergraduate summer student learned that she has been awarded a prestigious NSF graduate fellowship. She will be attending Brown University in the fall.
  • April: Bon Voyage to Jay Stephenson, who has taken a Medical Science Liaison position affiliated with Bayer.
  • January: Alumni News: Stefan Strack was appointed as the endowed John Paul Long Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Iowa


  • Congratulations to Jay Stephenson for the acceptance of his manuscript “A Novel Human CAMK2A Mutation Disrupts Dendritic Morphology and Synaptic Transmission, and Causes ASD-Related Behaviors.” at The Journal of Neuroscience. A Vanderbilt article about his research is featured here.
  • Roger traveled to China to speak at the annual meeting of the Chinese Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and also gave 4 other talks in Nanjing and Beijing. He was hosted by lab alumna, Yuxia Jiao in Beijing. The Great Wall was, well, great!
  • November: Congrats to Roger for being elected to a AAAS Fellow.
  • May: Congratulations to our stellar undergraduate, Walker Parrish, who graduated from Vanderbilt with a Neuroscience major, and is joining the lab for a year of postbac research.


  • The Colbran lab costume, Little Bo’ Peep and her sheep, took home first prize in the MPB Halloween Lab Costume contest!
  • Jay and Xiaohan contributed the cover image for a new JBC mini-review series on “Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Plasticity”, which can be found here.
  • KUDOS to Jay Stephenson, who won the postdoc award for “BEST POSTER” in the Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience category at the September 29 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science day, for his poster entitled “Physiological Effects of an ASD-associated mutation in CaMKIIa”.
  • Our best wishes to Johanna, who left the lab in September to take a science writing position.  Taco Mamacita was the lunch choice for this one…..
  • A warm welcome to Naomi Kelly who has  joined the lab in September as a Research Assistant.
  • BON VOYAGE to Tyler R., who left the lab in August for the hills of Missouri, after several years as a research assistant. A good excuse to try a FLIP Burger for lunch!
  • Hala left for her senior year on July 31 after a great rotation in the lab – celebrated with a lab lunch at Martin’s BBQ Joint
  • Congratulations to Johanna, for the publication of her paper entitled “Differential CaMKII regulation by voltage-gated calcium channels in the striatum” in Mol Cell Neurosci.
  • July: Tyler P. passed his Ph.D. Qualifying Exam and is now a Ph.D. Candidate
  • ​In June, we welcomed Hala Haddad from Hunter College, NYC to the lab for a summer research experience as part of the the BP Endure program. Hala was born in Jordan and moved to the US as a teenager.
  • Congratulations to Christian!  Her fellowship application to the AHA received a 1.35% score and will be funded July 1! She followed that up with a 6% score for her NRSA application to NIH!
  • Congratulations to Brian! His K01 application to the NIMH received a perfect “10” score and will be funded July 1!
  • We welcomed Aichu Kamalova from the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan for an IGP research rotation in March.
  • Christian won a Poster Award at the Tennessee Physiological Society Meeting
  • Christian’s STEM outreach efforts with Curiosity Machine were acknowledged in the ASBMB Today magazine


  • Tyler P. joined the lab as an MPB student and received funding through the Molecular Endocrinology Training Program (METP)
  • Christian and Vicki passed their Ph.D. Qualifying Exams and are now Ph.D. Candidates
  • Johanna received an postdoctoral NRSA award from the NIMH.
  • Xiaohan was awarded a predoctoral fellowship by the American Heart Association
  • Tyler R. got married!
  • Roger was profiled in the ASBMB Today magazine
  • Jay Stephenson joined the lab as a new postdoctoral fellow, supported by the Neurogenomics Training Program



  • Xiaohan and Vicki both joined the lab this year as Neuroscience graduate students