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Dr. Gary Wenk

Dr. Gary Wenk

Dr. Gary Wenk

Emeritus Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience


Gary L. Wenk, a Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, is a leading authority on the consequences of chronic brain inflammation and animal models of Alzheimer's disease. He is also a member of the OSU Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair. He received a B.A. degree in psychology and biology from Albion College and a Ph.D. in Neurotoxicology from the University of Cincinnati. He then trained as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Drs. Peter Davies and Robert Terry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He joined the faculty of the Departments of Psychology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University for nine years and served as a Program Director for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory & Biological Basis of Behavior Program, Division of Behavioral and Neural Sciences, at the National Science Foundation. He joined the faculty of the University of Arizona and was a research scientist in the Division of Neural Systems, Memory & Aging for 15 years. Professor Wenk has had continuous RO1-level support from the National Institutes of Health since 1984 and has served as chairperson of three different NIH study sections since 1997.

Dr. Wenk is the recipient of the Vernon & Virginia Furrow Excellence in Teaching Award, The Five Star Faculty Teaching Award, The Distinguished Teaching Award from Ohio State University, The Joan N Huber Award for Outstanding Scholarship and The Harlan Hatcher Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award. Professor Wenk's research is focused upon the investigation of drugs that can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and rescue the brain from the consequences of normal and pathological aging. He has been interviewed about his work by many magazines and radio stations, including NPR, WBZ, WJR, CBS News, & WABC, numerous local and national television programs, including CNN and The Dr Oz show; he was interviewed by Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Amanada Productions for a 2-hr TV documentary on the topic of cognitive enhancers. (See Links for movies)

Professor Wenk was elected in 2008 to the rank of Fellow by the American Assosciation for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions in the field of neuropharmacology, neurodegenerative diseases and neuroinflammatory processes. This rank was first given in 1874 to members of AAAS whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished."

Professor Wenk is currently also Director of the Neuroscience Undergraduate Programs and was recently appointed by Governor Kasich to the Governor's Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee as the Academic Research Representative.

Your Brain on Food - How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings by Gary L Wenk The Brain - What Everyone Need to Know by Gary L Wenk

Recent Inverviews

Doctor Oz TV Interview

Food for Thought:How Diet Influences Brain Function

TED Talk 2012 - The Braine Cafe

TIME Magazine Interview 

Television Inverviews

OSU Video: Your Aging Brain, Marijuana and Food









Selected Publications

Gold, P.E., Cahill, L., & Wenk, G.L. (2003) The lowdown on Ginkgo biloba. Scientific American, April, 86-91. PDF

Doody, R.S., Mintzer, J.E., Sano, M., Wenk, G.L. & Grossberg, G.T. (2003) Alzheimer's disease: Emerging noncholinergic treatments. Geriatrics, (Suppl) 3-11.

Wenk, G.L. (2003) Neuropathologic changes in Alzheimer¹s Disease. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 64 (Suppl 9): 7-10. PDF

Rogawski, M. & Wenk, G.L. (2003) The neuropharmacological basis for Memantine in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. CNS Drug Reviews9: 275-308. 

Wenk, G.L., McGann-Gramling, K., Hauss-Wegrzyniak, B., Ronchetti, D., Maucci, R., Rosi, S., Gasparini, L. & Ongini, E. (2004) Attenuation of chronic neuroinflammation by a nitric oxide-releasing derivative of the antioxidant ferulic acid. Journal of Neurochemistry89: 484-493. PDF

Wrenn, C.C., Kinney, J.W., Marriott, L.K., Holmes, A., Harris, A.P., Saavedra, M.C., Starosta, G., Innerfield, C.E., Jacoby, A.S., Shine, J., Iismaa, T.P., Wenk, G.L. & Crawley, J.N. (2004) Learning and memory performance in mice lacking the GAL-R1 subtype of galanin receptor. European Journal of Neuroscience19:1384-1396.

Wenk, G.L. (2004) The role of BDNF and dopamine dysfunction in autism, In: M.L. Bauman & T.L. Kemper, (Eds.) The Neurobiology of Autism, 2nd Ed., The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, pp. 362-370.

Gasparini, L., Ongini, E. & Wenk, G.L. (2004) Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) in Alzheimer's disease: old and new mechanisms of action. Journal of Neurochemistry91: 521-536. PDF

Mohmmad Abdul, H., Wenk, G.L., McGann-Gramling, K., Hauss-Wegrzyniak, B. & Butterfield, D.A. (2004) APP and PS-1 mutations induce brain oxidative stress independent of dietary cholesterol: implications for Alzheimer's disease. Neuroscience Letters368: 148-150. PDF

Rosi, S., Ramirez-Amaya, V., Vazdarjanova, A., Worley, P.F., Barnes, C.A. & Wenk, G.L. (2005) Neuroinflammation alters selective patterns of behaviorally induced Arc expression in the hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience25: 723-731. PDF

Rosi, S., Pert, C.B., Ruff, M.R., McGann-Gramling, K. & Wenk, G.L. (2005) CCR5 chemokine receptor antagonist DAPTA reduces microglia and astrocyte activation within the hippocampus in a neuroinflammatory rat model of Alzheimer's disease. Neuroscience, 134:671-676PDF

Rosi, S., Vazdarjanova, A., Ramirez-Amaya, V., Worley, P.F., Barnes, C.A. & Wenk, G.L. (2006) Memantine reduces the consequences of chronic neuroinflammation and restores the hippocampal pattern of behaviorally-induced Arc expression. Neuroscience142:1303-1315. PDF

Wenk, G.L. (2006) Neuropathologic changes in Alzheimer’s disease: Potential targets for treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 67:3-7. PDF

Wenk, G.L., Parson, C. & Danysz, W. (2006) Potential role of NMDA receptors as executors of neurodegeneration resulting from diverse insults – focus on memantine. Behavioral Pharmacology 17: 411-424. PDF

Marchalant, Y., Rosi, S. & Wenk, G.L. (2007) Anti-inflammatory property of the cannabinoid agonist WIN-55212-2 in a rodent model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroscience, 144:1516-1522. PDF

Marchalant, Y., Cerbai, F., Brothers, H. & Wenk, G.L. (2008) Cannabinoid receptor stimulation is anti-inflammatory and improves memory in old rats. Neurobiology of Aging, 29:1894-1901. PDF

Wenk, G.L. & Marchalant, Y. (2009) Neuropharmacology. In: G.G. Berntson & J.T. Cacioppo, (Eds.) Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences, John Wiley & Sons.

Wenk, G.L. (2009) Neuroanatomy of learning and memory. In: D.S. Charney, E.J. Nestler, & B.S. Bunney, (Eds.) Neurobiology of Mental Illness, 3rd Ed., Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

Marchalant,Y.,Brothers,H.M.,Norman,G.J.,Karolina,K.,DeVries, C. & Wenk, G.L. (2009) The differential role of endocannabinoid and vanilloid receptors in the control of neuroinflammation and neurogenesis in aged rats. Neurobiology of Disease, 34: 300-307. PDF

Rosi, S., Ramirez-Amaya, V., Vazdarjanova, A., Esperanza, E., Larkin, P., Fike, J.R., Wenk, G.L. & Barnes, C.A. (2009) Accuracy of hippocampal network activity is disrupted by neuroinflammation: rescue by memantine. Brain, 132:2464-2468. PDF

Marchalant, Y., Brothers, H.M. & Wenk, G. Wenk, (2009) Cannabinoid agonist WIN-55,212-2 partially restores neurogenesis in the aged rat brain. Molecular Psychiatry, 14:1068-1071. PDF

Brothers, H.M., Marchalant, Y., & Wenk, G. L. (2010) Caffeine attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation. Neuroscience Letters, 480:97-100. PDF

Norman, G.J., Morris, J.S., Karelina, K., Weil, Z.M., Zhang, N., Al-Abed, Y., Brothers, H.M., Wenk, G.L., Pavlov, V.A., Tracey, K.J., DeVries, A.C., (2011) Cardiopulmonary arrest and resuscitation disrupts cholinergic anti-inflammatory processes: a role for cholinergic α7 nicotinic receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 31:3446-3452. PDF

Marchalant, Y., Baranger, K., Wenk, G.L., Khrestchatisky, M. & Rivera, S. (2012) Can the benefits of cannabinoid receptor stimulation on neuroinflammation, neurogenesis and memory during normal aging be useful in AD prevention? Journal of Neuroinflammation, 9:10-13. PMID: 22248015. PDF

Bardou, I. DiPatrizio, N., Brothers, H.M., Kaercher, R.M., Baranger, K., Mitchem, M.R., Hopp, S.C., Wenk, G.L. & Marchalant, Y. (2012) Pharmacological manipulation of cannabinoid neurotransmission reduces neuroinflammation associated with normal aging. Health, 4:679-684. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.429107PDF

Cerbai, F., Lana, D., Nosi, D., Petkova-Kirova, P., Zecchi, S., Brothers, H., Wenk, G. L. & Giovannini, M.G. (2012) The neuron-astrocyte-microglia triad in normal brain aging and a model of neuroinflammation in the rat hippocampus. PlosOne, 7(9):e45250. PMID: 23028880 PDF

Bardou, I. Brothers, H.M., Kaercher, R.M., Hopp, S.C. & Wenk, G.L. (2013) Differential effects of duration and age upon the consequences of neuroinflammation in the hippocampus. Neurobiology of Aging, 34:2293-2301. PDF

Brothers, H.M., Bardou, I., Hopp, S.C., Marchalant, Y., Kaercher, R.M., Turner, S.M., Mitchem M.R., Kigerl K. & Wenk, G.L. (2013) Time-dependent compensatory responses to chronic neuroinflammation in hippocampus and brainstem: the potential role of glutamate neurotransmission. The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Parkinsonism, March 28, 3:110. PMCID: PMC3939715; http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0460.1000110. PDF

Brothers, H.M., Bardou, I., Hopp, S.C., Kaercher, R.M., Wynne-Corona, A., Fenn, A.M., Godbout, JP & Wenk, G.L. (2013) Riluzole partially rescues age-associated, but not LPS-induced, loss of glutamate transporters and spatial memory impairment. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 8:1098-1105. PMID: 2013-05-25_0010. PDF

Bardou, I. Brothers, H.M., Kaercher, R.M., Hopp, S.C., Royer, S. & Wenk, G.L. (2014) Age and duration of inflammatory environment differentially affect the neuroimmune response and catecholaminergic neurons in the midbrain and brainstem. Neurobiology of Aging, 35:1065-1073. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.11.006. PDF

Hopp, S.C., Royer, S., Brothers, H.M., Kaercher, R.M., D’Angelo , H., Bardou, I. & Wenk, G.L. (2014) Age-associated alterations in the time-dependent profile of pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins within the hippocampus in response to acute exposure to interleukin-1β.  Journal of Neuroimmunology, 267:86-91 DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2013.12.010. PDF

Duarte, J.M.N., Schuck, P.F., Wenk, G.L. & Ferreira, G.C. (2014) Metabolic disturbances in diseases with neurological involvement. Aging & Disease, 5: April. DOI:10.14336/AD. PDF

Hopp, S.C., D’Angelo, H.M., Royer, S.E., Kaercher, R.M., Crockett, A.M., Adzovic, L. & Wenk, G.L. (2014) Spatial memory deficits in aged rats correlate with markers of calcium dysregulation: differential rescue by L-VDCC and RyR antagonism. Neuroscience, 240:10-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.09.007. PDF

Hopp, S.C., D’Angelo, H.M., Royer, S.E., Kaercher, R.M., Crockett, A.M., Adzovic, L. & Wenk, G.L. (2015) Calcium dysregulation via L-type voltage dependent calcium channels and ryanodine receptors underlies memory deficits and synaptic dysfunction during chronic neuroinflammation. Journal of Neuroinflammation, In press.

Hopp, S.C., Royer, S.E., D’Angelo, H.M., Kaercher, R.M., Fisher, D.A. & Wenk, G.L. (2015) Differential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of L-type voltage dependent calcium channel and ryanodine receptor antagonists in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, In press.