Professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine
Office Phone: 202-994-3489
Department: Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine
- BS, Simmons College, 1968
- PhD, Harvard University, 1974
Kenna D. Peusner is a Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Biology in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She received her BS degree in Biology from Simmons College, Boston, MA (1968), PhD in Anatomy from Harvard University (with Dr. D. Kent Morest) (1974), and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School (1975). In 1975, she accepted a faculty appointment at Jefferson Medical College (1975-1981), and in 1981 she joined the faculty of George Washington University School of Medicine, where she became a full professor in 1990. Since joining GW SMHS, her main teaching activities have involved lecturing in the Cell and Tissue Biology and Neurobiology courses offered to the first year medical students. Special professional interests include membership on the National Research Council advisory committee to NASA (Committee for Space Biology and Medicine), ad hoc member of NIH and NASA study sections and strategic planning committees, and advisor to the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
Her major research interests are centered on understanding the fundamental mechanisms operating during the development of neurons in the CNS and how these processes may be reexpressed in young neurons responding to injury or disease. The model used is the developing central vestibular system, and the techniques applied are state-of-the-art structural and electrophysiological methods. Specific projects include characterizing the onset and emergence of potassium currents and excitability in developing vestibular nuclei neurons, developmental change in synaptic transmission between first- and second-order vestibular neurons, the ionic membrane and synaptic conductances underlying vestibular compensation, the localization and colocalization of glutamate immunoreactivity for NMDA and AMPA receptor subunits during vestibular development and during vestibular compensation, and electrotonic transmission between developing sensory neurons. The techniques used include electrophysiological recordings on brain slices of chick embryos and newborn animals using both voltage- and current-clamp recordings with patch electrodes and intracellular current-clamp recordings with sharp electrodes, pharmacological testing with blocking agents for neurotransmitters and ionic currents, dye coupling studies, light and ultrastructural immunocytochemistry using immunoperoxidase and immunogold labeling with rapid freezing techniques. This work is supported by the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD, NIH).
Industry Relationships and Collaborations
This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.