John P. Welsh, PhD

John P. Welsh, PhD

Children's Title: Prinicipal Investigator

Academic Title: Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Research Center: Center for Integrative Brain Research

"When I was a kid, I was fascinated by animal behavior—by questions such as why does that dog do what it does, or why does one squirrel chase another squirrel? I realized there has to be something internal to the animal that determines, with millisecond precision, what it's going to be doing at a particular moment. As I grew up, I kept getting more interested in how the brain generates behavior, in the neurological processes underlying thinking and action and in trying to apply those insights to medical issues and neurological disorders."

Making A Difference


Research Description

My research seeks to understand brain function in both health and disease and spans SIDS and autism. In SIDS, my team is investigating the molecular basis of neurotransmitter receptor changes in the brainstem after bouts of brain hypoxia and their relation to the hyperexcitability and neuronal death upon recovery to normoxia. For Autism, my team is describing the electrophysiological signatures of neocortical activity that permit rapid temporal processing of sound sequences and how their disruption in autism may serve as an electrophysiological phenotype for delayed language development. Our studies are based within the laboratory but also reach out to collaborators in clinical and preclinical settings around the country. Our experiments are inherently multidisciplinary and involve behavioral conditioning, in vivo multiple microelectrode neurophysiology in behaving animals, gene transfer using retroviral-based vectors, in vitro electrophysiology, and real-time optical imaging of neuronal circuits.

Research Focus Area

Neuroscience / Neurodevelopment


  • Bonomo J, Welsh JP, Manthiram K, Swartz JR
    Comparing the functional properties of the Hsp70 chaperones, DnaK and BiP.
    Biophysical chemistry , 2010 June : 58-66
  • Welsh JP, Patel KG, Manthiram K, Swartz JR
    Multiply mutated Gaussia luciferases provide prolonged and intense bioluminescence.
    Biochemical and biophysical research communications , 2009 Nov. 27 : 563-8
  • Placantonakis DG, Bukovsky AA, Aicher SA, Kiem HP, Welsh JP
    Continuous electrical oscillations emerge from a coupled network: a study of the inferior olive using lentiviral knockdown of connexin36.
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience , 2006 May 10 : 5008-16
  • Welsh JP, Yamaguchi H, Zeng XH, Kojo M, Nakada Y, Takagi A, Sugimori M, Llinás RR
    Normal motor learning during pharmacological prevention of Purkinje cell long-term depression.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 2005 Nov. 22 : 17166-71
  • Welsh JP, Ahn ES, Placantonakis DG
    Is autism due to brain desynchronization?
    International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience , 2005 Apr, : 253-63
  • Placantonakis DG, Bukovsky AA, Zeng XH, Kiem HP, Welsh JP
    Fundamental role of inferior olive connexin 36 in muscle coherence during tremor.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 2004 May 4 : 7164-9
  • Johnson JL, Welsh JP
    Independently movable multielectrode array to record multiple fast-spiking neurons in the cerebral cortex during cognition.
    Methods (San Diego, Calif.) , 2003 May : 64-78
  • Welsh JP
    Functional significance of climbing-fiber synchrony: a population coding and behavioral analysis.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences , 2002 Dec. : 188-204
  • Placantonakis D, Cicirata F, Welsh JP
    A dominant negative mutation of neuronal connexin 36 that blocks intercellular permeability.
    Brain research. Molecular brain research , 2002 Jan. 31 : 15-28
  • Welsh JP, Placantonakis DG, Warsetsky SI, Marquez RG, Bernstein L, Aicher SA
    The serotonin hypothesis of myoclonus from the perspective of neuronal rhythmicity.
    Advances in neurology , 2002 : 307-29
  • Welsh JP, Yuen G, Placantonakis DG, Vu TQ, Haiss F, O'Hearn E, Molliver ME, Aicher SA
    Why do Purkinje cells die so easily after global brain ischemia? Aldolase C, EAAT4, and the cerebellar contribution to posthypoxic myoclonus.
    Advances in neurology , 2002 : 331-59
  • Llinás R, Lang EJ, Welsh JP, Makarenko VI
    A New Approach to the Analysis of Multidimensional Neuronal Activity: Markov Random Fields.
    Neural networks : the official journal of the International Neural Network Society , 1997 July : 785-789