A. Rory McQuiston, PH.D.


A. Rory McQuiston, PH.D.

Department: Anatomy and Neurobio

Phone: 804-828-1573

Fax: 804-828-9477

Email: adam.mcquiston@vcuhealth.org

2009-present  Associate Professor (Tenured). Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. 
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
1101 E. Marshall St
Sanger Hall, 9-001
P.O. Box 980709
Richmond, VA 23298
Phone: 804-828-1573
Fax: 804-828-9477


  • B.Sc. Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont., Canada. 1983 - 1987


  • Ph.D. Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. Canada.
    Thesis title: Cellular actions of neuropeptide Y
    Thesis advisor: W.F. Colmers 1990 - 1995
  • M.Sc. Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. Canada.
    Thesis title: Electrophysiological properties of the cell membranes of the corpora allata in the cockroach Diploptera punctata
    Thesis Advisor: S.S. Tobe 1988 - 1990


  • Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University 1995 - 1998
  • Department of Neurobiology, Duke University 1998 - 2000
  • Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine 2000 - 2002


  • In the McQuiston laboratory, we study an area of the brain crucial to the formation of long term memories – the hippocampus. In particular, we are interested in how small groups of inhibitory neurons (interneurons) control the integration of excitatory activity and the generation of brain rhythms associated with cognition. More specifically, we are interested in how neuromodulators affect hippocampal neural network function, as occurs during attentive behaviors. Recently, we have become interested in neurodegenerative processes that effect neural circuitry involved in cognitiion and memory formation. In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms that contribute to dementia and Alzheimer's disease. In our investigations, we use whole cell patch clamping, voltage-sensitive dye imaging, optogenetics, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology and transgenic animals. We hope that our studies will contribute to a better understanding of both physiological and pathophysiological changes that occur in hippocampal neural network function.


  • Cellular and systems neuroscience to professional and graduate students.


  • Neuroscience
  • acetylcholine
  • synaptic inhibition
  • GABA
  • interneuron
  • neuronal networks
  • ion channels
  • Excitability of neural membranes
  • synaptic transmission
  • hippocampus


  • Albert and Ellen Grass Faculty Grant, Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. 2005
  • Stanford School of Medicine Dean's Fellowship, Stanford University, Stanford CA, USA 1995
  • David Spitzer Prize for Graduate Research in Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. 1995
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Studentship 1991
  • University of Alberta PhD Scholarship, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. 1990
  • University of Toronto Open Fellowship, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. 1989


  • Society for Neuroscience 1992 - Present
  • American Physiological Society 2005 - 2008


  • Tu, HY, Chen, YJ, McQuiston, AR, Chiao, CC, and Chen CK. A Novel Retinal Oscillation Mechanism in an Autosomal Dominant Photoreceptor Degeneration Mouse Model. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 9:513. 2016. 2016
  • Marks WD, Paris JP, Schier CJ, Denton MD, Fitting S, McQuiston AR, Knapp, PE and Hauser KF. HIV-1 Tat causes cognitive deficits and selective loss of parvalbumin, somatostatin, and neuronal nitric oxide synthase expressing hippocampal CA1 interneuron subpopulations. J. Neurovirol. 2016 2016
  • Bell, LA, Bell, KA, and McQuiston, AR Activation of muscarinic receptors by ACh release in hippocampal CA1 depolarizes VIP but has varying effects on parvalbumin-expressing basket cells. J. Physiol. (Lond). 593(1):197-215. 2015. 2015
  • Bell, LA, Bell, KA, and McQuiston, AR Acetylcholine release in mouse hippocampal CA1 preferentially activates inhibitory-selective interneurons via a4ß2* nicotinic receptor activation. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 9:115. 2015. 2015
  • Bell, LA, Bell, KA, and McQuiston, AR Synaptic Muscarinic Response Types in Hippocampal CA1 Interneurons Depend on Different Levels of Presynaptic Activity and Different Muscarinic Receptor Subtypes. Neuropharmacology. 73: 160–173. 2013. 2013
  • Shim H, Wang CT, Chen YL, Chau VQ, Fu KG, Yang J, McQuiston AR, Fisher RA, and Chen CK. Defective Retinal Depolarizing Bipolar Cells in Regulators of G Protein Signaling (RGS) 7 and 11 Double Null Mice. J Biol Chem. 287(18):14873-9. 2012. 2012
  • Jurgens CWD, Bell KA, McQuiston AR, William Guido. Optogenetic Stimulation of the Corticothalamic Pathway Affects Relay Cells and GABAergic Neurons Differently in the Mouse Visual Thalamus. PLOS ONE 7(9): 1-14. 2012. 2012
  • McQuiston, A.R. Mu opioid receptor activation normalizes temporo-ammonic pathway driven inhibition in hippocampal CA1. Neuropharmacology. 60: 472-479, 2011. 2011
  • Sun D, Gugliotta M, Rofle A, Reid WM, McQuiston AR, Hu W, and Young H. Sustained survival and maturation of adult neural stem/progenitor cells following transplantation into the injured brain. J Neurotrauma. 28(6): 961-972, 2011. 2011
  • Bell K.A., Shim, H., Chen, C.K., and McQuiston, A.R. Nicotinic excitatory postsynaptic potentials in hippocampal CA1 interneurons are predominantly mediated by nicotinic receptors that contain a4 and b2 subunits. Neuropharmacology. 61(8): 1379-1388, 2011. 2011


  • McQuiston, A.R. Slow synaptic transmission in the CNS. In Nicotinic Receptors. (Ed. Lester, R.A.J.) , Humana Press/Springer, New York, NY. 2014. 2014
  • Meredith, M.A., Krzysztof, Cios, K.J., McQuiston, A.R., Lim, H.K., Keniston, L.P., and Clemo, R. Neuroanatomical identification of multisensory convergence on higher-level cortical neurons. In The New Handbook of Multisensory Integration, (Ed. By Stein, B.E.), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 2012. 2012
  • McQuiston, A.R., Thompson, C.S. and Tobe, S.S. Voltage-dependent sodium and calcium channels of the corpora allata of the cockroach Diploptera punctata. In Insect Neurochemistry and Neurophysiology, (Ed. by Borkovec A.B. and Gelman D.B.), Humana Press, Clifton, NJ. 1989. 1989

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