Schweizer, Felix


Professor, Neurobiology

Director, Neuroscience GPB Home Area

Collaborator, Vestibular Neuroscience Laboratory

Member, Brain Research Institute

Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area

Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area

Contact Information

Lab Number: (310) 206-0448
Office Phone Number: 310-794-5733

Office Address:

650 Charles E Young Dr South
CHS 63-323
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Felix E. Schweizer was born in Basel, Switzerland and conducted his graduate research in the laboratory of Prof. Max M. Burger under the direction of Dr. Theo Schafer. He received his PhD degree in biochemistry summa cum laude from the University of Basel in 1989. From 1990 to 1994, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University in the laboratory of Prof. Richard W. Tsien. From 1994 to 1998, he was postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University in the laboratory of Professor George J. Augustine. Dr. Schweizer joined the Department of Neurobiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1998 as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. Dr. Schweizer's research interests concern the molecular mechanisms by which neurons communicate, the regulation of communication by neurons and how alterations in neuronal communication might contribute to neuronal diseases. The Schweizer laboratory uses electrophysiological and optical tools to investigate the dynamic molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of neurotransmitter release. We are particularly interested in the role of protein ubiquitination in regulating neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. In collaboration with Dr. James Wohlschlegel, we used multiplexed SILAC and identified synaptic proteins that are dynamically regulated. More recently, in collaboration with Dr. David Krantz, we are using pesticides linked to neuro-degenerative disorders as unbiased tools identify novel pathways that might be involved in early signs of degeneration. In addition, we are characterizing transmission at the first synapse of the vestibular system, i.e. between utricular sensory hair cells and primary afferent neurons. In collaboration with Dr. Larry Hoffman we are finding that changing the gravitational load alters synaptic structures. We are now using serial EM and EM tomography in addition to physiology and cell biology to define in more detail the transfer function between head-movement input and afferent nerve-firing output.


A selected list of publications:

Quiñones Patricia M, Luu Cindy, Schweizer Felix E, Narins Peter M   Exocytosis in the frog amphibian papilla Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO, 2012; 13(1): 39-54.
Schweizer Felix E, Myers Katherine M, Caputo Anna   In the zone: presynaptic function at high res Nature neuroscience, 2012; 15(7): 928-9.
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.
Rinetti Gina V, Schweizer Felix E   Ubiquitination acutely regulates presynaptic neurotransmitter release in mammalian neurons The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2010; 30(9): 3157-66.
Hutnick Leah K, Golshani Peyman, Namihira Masakasu, Xue Zhigang, Matynia Anna, Yang X William, Silva Alcino J, Schweizer Felix E, Fan Guoping   DNA hypomethylation restricted to the murine forebrain induces cortical degeneration and impairs postnatal neuronal maturation Human molecular genetics, 2009; 18(15): 2875-88.
Huynh Duong P, Maalouf Marwan, Silva Alcino J, Schweizer Felix E, Pulst Stefan M   Dissociated fear and spatial learning in mice with deficiency of ataxin-2 PloS one, 2009; 4(7): e6235.
Schweizer Felix E, Savin David, Luu Cindy, Sultemeier David R, Hoffman Larry F   Distribution of high-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels in rat vestibular epithelia The Journal of comparative neurology, 2009; 517(2): 134-45.
Schweizer Felix E   Exit chloride, enter glutamate Nature neuroscience, 2009; 12(2): 111-2.
Ratnaparkhi Anuradha, Lawless George M, Schweizer Felix E, Golshani Peyman, Jackson George R   A Drosophila model of ALS: human ALS-associated mutation in VAP33A suggests a dominant negative mechanism PloS one, 2008; 3(6): e2334.
Cruz-Martín Alberto, Schweizer Felix E   Imbalance between excitation and inhibition among synaptic connections of CA3 pyramidal neurons in cultured hippocampal slices The European journal of neuroscience, 2008; 27(6): 1353-63.
Schweizer Felix E   Modifying theories is the fabric of scientific progress Nature, 2007; 450(7170): 610.
Willeumier Kristen, Pulst Stefan M, Schweizer Felix E   Proteasome inhibition triggers activity-dependent increase in the size of the recycling vesicle pool in cultured hippocampal neurons The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2006; 26(44): 11333-41.
Schweizer Felix E, Ryan Timothy A   The synaptic vesicle: cycle of exocytosis and endocytosis Current opinion in neurobiology, 2006; 16(3): 298-304.
Matsuka, Yoshizo Edmonds, Brian Mitrirattanakul, Somsak Schweizer, Felix E. Spigelman, Igor   Two types of neurotransmitter release patterns in IB4-positive and negative trigeminal ganglion neurons, Neuroscience, 2006; in press: .
Chanda Baron, Blunck Rikard, Faria Leonardo C, Schweizer Felix E, Mody Istvan, Bezanilla Francisco   A hybrid approach to measuring electrical activity in genetically specified neurons Nature neuroscience, 2005; 8(11): 1619-26.
Golshani Peyman, Hutnick Leah, Schweizer Felix, Fan Guoping   Conditional Dnmt1 deletion in dorsal forebrain disrupts development of somatosensory barrel cortex and thalamocortical long-term potentiation Thalamus & related systems, 2005; 3(3): 227-233.
Egusa Hiroshi, Schweizer Felix E, Wang Chia-Chien, Matsuka Yoshizo, Nishimura Ichiro   Neuronal differentiation of bone marrow-derived stromal stem cells involves suppression of discordant phenotypes through gene silencing The Journal of biological chemistry, 2005; 280(25): 23691-7.
Edmonds Brian W, Gregory Frederick D, Schweizer Felix E   Evidence that fast exocytosis can be predominantly mediated by vesicles not docked at active zones in frog saccular hair cells The Journal of physiology, 2004; 560(Pt 2): 439-50.
Sippy Tanya, Cruz-Martín Alberto, Jeromin Andreas, Schweizer Felix E   Acute changes in short-term plasticity at synapses with elevated levels of neuronal calcium sensor-1 Nature neuroscience, 2003; 6(10): 1031-8.
Kruger Lawrence, Light Alan R, Schweizer Felix E   Axonal terminals of sensory neurons and their morphological diversity Journal of neurocytology, 2003; 32(3): 205-16.
Gregory Frederick D, Schweizer Felix E   Exocytosis with a snap Nature neuroscience, 2002; 5(1): 4-6.
Augustine, G. J. Burns, M. E. DeBello, W. M. Hilfiker, S. Morgan, J. R. Schweizer, F. E. Tokumaru, H. Umayahara, K.   Proteins involved in synaptic vesicle trafficking J Physiol, 1999; 520 Pt 1: 33-41.
el Far, O. O'Connor, V. Dresbach, T. Pellegrini, L. DeBello, W. Schweizer, F. Augustine, G. Heuss, C. Schafer, T. Charlton, M. P. Betz, H.   Protein interactions implicated in neurotransmitter release J Physiol Paris, 1998; 92(2): 129-33.
Schweizer, Felix E. Dresbach, Thomas DeBello, William M. O'Connor, Vincent Augustine, George J. Betz, Heinrich   Regulation of neurotransmitter release kinetics by NSF, Science, 1998; 279: 1203-1206.
Schweizer, F. E. Augustine, G. J.   SNARE proteins and the timing of neurotransmitter release Mol Psychiatry, 1998; 3(4): 293-7.
Hilfiker, Sabine Schweizer, Felix E. Kao, H.-T. Czernik, Andrew J. Greengard, Paul Augustine, George J.   Two Sites of Action for Synapsin Domain E in Regulating Neurotransmitter Release, Nature Neuroscience, 1998; 1(1): 29-35.
Augustine, G. J. Burns, M. E. DeBello, W. M. Pettit, D. L. Schweizer, F. E.   Exocytosis: proteins and perturbations, Annual Review of Pharmacology & Toxicology, 1996; 36: 659-701.
O'Connor, V. Pellegrini, L. Dresbach, T. Bommert, K. el Far, O. Betz, H. DeBello, W. Hunt, J. M. Schweizer, F. Augustine, G. Charlton, M. P.   Protein-protein interactions in synaptic vesicle exocytosis Biochem Soc Trans, 1996; 24(3): 666-70.
Schweizer, F. E. Betz, H. Augustine, G. J.   From vesicle docking to endocytosis: intermediate reactions of exocytosis, Neuron, 1995; 14(4): 689-96.
Burns, M. E. Beushausen, S. A. Chin, G. J. Tang, D. DeBello, W. M. Dresbach, T. O. Connor V Schweizer, F. E. Wang, S. S. Whiteheart, S. W.   Proteins involved in synaptic vesicle docking and fusion, Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 1995; 60: 337-48.
DeBello, W. M. O'Connor, V. Dresbach, T. Whiteheart, S. W. Wang, S. S. Schweizer, F. E. Betz, H. Rothman, J. E. Augustine, G. J.   SNAP-mediated protein-protein interactions essential for neurotransmitter release Nature, 1995; 373(6515): 626-30.
Wendland, B. Schweizer, F. E. Ryan, T. A. Nakane, M. Murad, F. Scheller, R. H. Tsien, R. W.   Existence of nitric oxide synthase in rat hippocampal pyramidal cells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1994; 91(6): 2151-5.
Chiang, L. W. Schweizer, F. E. Tsien, R. W. Schulman, H.   Nitric oxide synthase expression in single hippocampal neurons, Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research, 1994; 27(1): 183-8.
Ryan, T. A. Reuter, H. Wendland, B. Schweizer, F. E. Tsien, R. W. Smith, S. J.   The kinetics of synaptic vesicle recycling measured at single presynaptic boutons, Neuron, 1993; 11(4): 713-24.
Schweizer, F. E. Schafer, T. Burger, M. M.   Intracellular mechanisms in exocytotic secretion, Biochemical Pharmacology, 1991; 41(2): 163-9.
Bookman, R. J. Lim, N. F. Schweizer, F. E. Nowycky, M.   Single cell assays of excitation-secretion coupling, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1991; 635(5): 352-64.
Schweizer, F. E. Schaefer, T. Tapparelli, C. Grob, M. Karli, U. O. Heumann, R. Thoenen, H. Bookman, R. J. Burger, M. M.   Inhibition of exocytosis by intracellularly applied antibodies against a chromaffin granule-binding protein, Nature, 1989; 339(6227): 709-12.
Bookman, Richard J. Schweizer, Felix E.   Fast and slow phases in chromaffin cell exocytosis depend on Ca entry and Ca buffering, Journal of General Physiology, 1988; 92: 4a.
Schaefer, T. Karli, U. O. Gratwohl, E. K. Schweizer, F. E. Burger, M. M.   Digitonin-permeabilized cells are exocytosis competent, Journal of Neurochemistry, 1987; 49(6): 1697-707.
Schaefer, T. Karli, U. O. Schweizer, F. E. Burger, M. M.   Docking of chromaffin granules--a necessary step in exocytosis?, Bioscience Reports, 1987; 7(4): 269-79.
Grygoruk Anna, Chen Audrey, Martin Ciara A, Lawal Hakeem O, Fei Hao, Gutierrez Gabriel, Biedermann Traci, Najibi Rod, Hadi Richard, Chouhan Amit K, Murphy Niall P, Schweizer Felix E, Macleod Gregory T, Maidment Nigel T, Krantz David E   The redistribution of Drosophila vesicular monoamine transporter mutants from synaptic vesicles to large dense-core vesicles impairs amine-dependent behaviors The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2014; 34(20): 6924-37.
Pereda Alberto E, Schweizer Felix E, Zottoli Steven J   On the training of future neuroscientists: insights from the Grass laboratory Neuron, 2013; 79(1): 12-5.
Martin Ciara A, Myers Katherine M, Chen Audrey, Martin Nathan T, Barajas Angel, Schweizer Felix E, Krantz David E   Ziram, a pesticide associated with increased risk for Parkinson's disease, differentially affects the presynaptic function of aminergic and glutamatergic nerve terminals at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction Experimental neurology, 2015; .
Kunze Anja, Tseng Peter, Godzich Chanya, Murray Coleman, Caputo Anna, Schweizer Felix E, Di Carlo Dino   Engineering cortical neuron polarity with nanomagnets on a chip ACS nano, 2015; 9(4): 3664-76.
Scharr Alexandra L, Mooney T Aran, Schweizer Felix E, Ketten Darlene R   Aminoglycoside-induced damage in the statocyst of the longfin inshore squid, Doryteuthis pealeii The Biological bulletin, 2014; 227(1): 51-60.