Christopher J. Frederickson, Ph.D.
CEO/CTO, NeuroBio Tex
Adjunct Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch
Monday, March 21, 2022
10:00 AM US EST - 3:00 PM London
Contact: Elias Aizenman firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Frederickson obtained his undergraduate degree (a.b., magna cum laude) from Harvard College in 1967 and his PhD (behavioral neuroscience, highest honors) from the University of Chicago in 1972. He held faculty appointments at Carnegie-Mellon University (1972-1975; founded Neural Engineering Program), the University of Texas at Dallas (1975 – 1999; founded Brain and Cognition Program) and the University of Texas Medical Branch (1999 – 2004, Adjunct: 2004 – present). He is the Co-Founder and CEO of NeuroBioTex, Inc. (1999 – present) and TestMyZinc, Inc (2021 - present). Chris was among the first scientists who revealed a role for zinc in the brain. In the 1980’s his seminal studies identified a pool of mobile zinc ions in present in subpopulations of excitatory synaptic terminals. He then led a series of important investigations determining the role synaptic zinc plays in neuronal function and dysfunction:
“In 1977 I looked at a dithizone-stained hippocampal hilus in a cat brain that I was cutting in my cryostat and asked myself, ‘why is all that bright-red-stained zinc in there?’ For the next few decades, I pursued that basic question. Now we know (as Maske suggested in the 1950s) that the zinc is a neuromodulator. Indeed, zinc is synaptically released from the especially-plastic glutamatergic terminals of the cerebral corticofugal glutamatergic neurons. My interest in zinc as a plasticity-modulating co-transmitter has since broadened to the clinical need to measure zinc in semen (diagnosing cancer) and then to the broader question of measuring zinc in the body in general, to accurately diagnose zinc deficiency. That latter quest has led me to design and certify hair and nail measures as quick, cheap, accurate, field-portable ways to diagnose deficiency.”
Chris’ leadership in the field of zinc biology was crystalized by organizing the early Zinc Signals meetings, which laid the foundation for the development of the International Society for Zinc Biology. The Christopher Frederickson Prize was established in 2012, awarded by the ISZB to recognize excellence in research in the field of zinc biology.