University of California, Los Angeles About Us   |   Diversity and Inclusion  |   Contact Us   |   Campus Directory   |   Giving   |   Maps/Directions

James Waschek, Ph.D.

Contact Information:

Work Phone Number:


Laboratory Address:

635 Charles E. Young Dr. South
NRB 355
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Office Address:

UCLA Psychr & Biobehav Sci
635 S. Charles E. Young Dr
BOX 957332, NRB 345
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Work Email Address:



Home Page:

     Waschek laboratory

Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Adult Psychiatry

Professor in Residence, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Member, ACCESS Program

Access Cell and Developmental Biology Home Area

Access Immunity, Microbes, and Molecular Pathogenesis Home Area

Access Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Home Area

Access Neuroscience Home Area

Brain Research Institute


JCCC Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program Area

Neuroscience IDP

A Short Biography:

Research in the Waschek laboratory has centered mainly on the biological actions of neuropeptides in the VIP and PACAP family. These peptides are rather unique because they function not only as neurotransmitters, but also as potent growth factors and immunomodulators. Recent large scale genetic studies have linked mutations in the genes encoding these peptides and receptors to schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), diseases now believed to have developmental/plasticity underpinnings. Current projects with long-standing funding in the laboratory have utilized animal models of multiple sclerosis, perinatal brain inflammation, and Parkinson's Disease. In more recently funded projects, we have begun to employ studies of fear conditioning and extinction and circadian rhythms to help understand the mechanistic links of these molecules to PTSD, schizophrenia, and autism. As critical reagents for these investigations, the laboratory has generated several neuropeptide-deficient and reporter mice, and utilized several transgenic and conditional knockout mouse strains that alter the phenotype of astrocytes and myeloid cells. In addition, we employ a wide variety of standard and specialized approaches, including viral gene delivery, fluorescence microscopy, FACS, and tissue culture. More detailed information is available at

Detailed Biography:

Dr. Waschek is a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and is an expert in the molecular and cellular biology and physiological actions of neuropeptides. Dr. Waschek received a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1984 from the University of California at San Francisco, after which he took a postdoctoral position at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1988 he came to UCLA, where his research has centered on three broad, but related topics: 1) CNS development, degeneration, injury, and repair, 2) neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis, and maternal inflammation-induced perinatal white matter disease, and 3) brain tumor pathogenesis. A past and continuing objective has been to better understand the biological roles of neuropeptides in these processes, especially the two related peptides PACAP and VIP (pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating peptide and vasoactive intestinal peptide, respectively). A major contribution in this area was his discovery first reported in 1998 that PACAP and functional PACAP receptors are highly expressed in the murine neural tube and other germinal centers, and that PACAP acts in part via cAMP and protein kinase A to regulate neural patterning and proliferation via antagonism of hedgehog signaling. Using gene targeting and other approaches, he found this interaction to be relevant not only during brain development, but also in the pathogenesis of malignant pediatric brain tumors. In other work, he has demonstrated growth factor-like actions of PACAP in the maturation of white matter (myelin) and in axon regeneration after injury. Most recently, he determined that VIP and PACAP are critically involved in inflammatory responses after nerve injury and in other pathologies such as lung and liver injury, colitis, cystitis, viral infection, and in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. These studies have revealed significant effects of PACAP and VIP PACAP loss on innate cellular responses to injury, as well as in Th1, Th2, and Th17 differentiation, regulatory T cell production, and immune cell invasion of the CNS parenchyma. Has been continuously funding for his research by the NIH since 1984, and is also currently receiving funding through major grants from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the National Brain Tumor Society. Dr. Waschek has served on NIH study sections almost continuously since 2006, and served as an external reviewer for the newly-formed LOWEE Institute on Tumors and Inflammation in Marburg, Germany, and a consultant for the Japanese-Israeli Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement in Life Sciences in the Topic of Stem Cell Research.


Tan Yossan-Var, Abad Catalina, Wang Yuqi, Lopez Robert, Waschek James A   Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase Activating Peptide Deficient Mice Exhibit Impaired Thymic and Extrathymic Regulatory T Cell Proliferation during EAE PloS one, 2013; 8(4): e61200.
Yan Yan, Zhou Xiaofeng, Pan Zui, Ma Jianjie, Waschek James A, DiCicco-Bloom Emanuel   Pro- and anti-mitogenic actions of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide in developing cerebral cortex: potential mediation by developmental switch of PAC1 receptor mRNA isoforms The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2013; 33(9): 3865-78.
Tyagi Ethika, Agrawal Rahul, Zhuang Yumei, Abad Catalina, Waschek James A, Gomez-Pinilla Fernando   Vulnerability imposed by diet and brain trauma for anxiety-like phenotype: implications for post-traumatic stress disorders PloS one, 2013; 8(3): e57945.
Ji Haofeng, Zhang Yu, Shen Xiuda, Gao Feng, Huang Cynthia Y, Abad Catalina, Busuttil Ronald W, Waschek James A, Kupiec-Weglinski Jerzy W   Neuropeptide PACAP in mouse liver ischemia and reperfusion injury: immunomodulation via cAMP-PKA pathway Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.), 2012; 166(1): .
Nobuta Hiroko, Ghiani Cristina A, Paez Pablo M, Spreuer Vilma, Dong Hongmei, Korsak Rose A, Manukyan Armine, Li Jiaxi, Vinters Harry V, Huang Eric J, Rowitch David H, Sofroniew Michael V, Campagnoni Anthony T, de Vellis Jean, Waschek James A   STAT3-mediated astrogliosis protects myelin development in neonatal brain injury Annals of neurology, 2012; 72(5): 750-65.
Abad Catalina, Tan Yossan-Var, Cheung-Lau Gardenia, Nobuta Hiroko, Waschek James A   VIP deficient mice exhibit resistance to lipopolysaccharide induced endotoxemia with an intrinsic defect in proinflammatory cellular responses PloS one, 2012; 7(5): e36922.
Abad Catalina, Gomariz Rosa, Waschek James, Leceta Javier, Martinez Carmen, Juarranz Yasmina, Arranz Alicia   VIP in inflammatory bowel disease: state of the art Endocrine, metabolic & immune disorders drug targets, 2012; 12(4): 316-22.
Ghiani Cristina A, Mattan Natalia S, Nobuta Hiroko, Malvar Jemily S, Boles Julie, Ross Michael G, Waschek James A, Carpenter Ellen M, Fisher Robin S, de Vellis Jean   Early effects of lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation on foetal brain development in rat ASN neuro, 2011; 3(4): .
Loh Dawn H, Dragich Joanna M, Kudo Takashi, Schroeder Analyne M, Nakamura Takahiro J, Waschek James A, Block Gene D, Colwell Christopher S   Effects of vasoactive intestinal Peptide genotype on circadian gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and peripheral organs Journal of biological rhythms, 2011; 26(3): 200-9.
Alexandre David, Alonzeau Jessy, Bill Brent R, Ekker Stephen C, Waschek James A   Expression analysis of PAC1-R and PACAP genes in zebrafish embryos Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN, 2011; 43(1): 94-100.
Abad Catalina, Waschek James A   Immunomodulatory roles of VIP and PACAP in models of multiple sclerosis Current pharmaceutical design, 2011; 17(10): 1025-35.
Hirose Megumi, Niewiadomski Pawel, Tse Gary, Chi Gloria C, Dong Hongmei, Lee Alice, Carpenter Ellen M, Waschek James A   Pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating peptide counteracts hedgehog-dependent motor neuron production in mouse embryonic stem cell cultures Journal of neuroscience research, 2011; 89(9): 1363-74.
Tan Yossan-Var, Waschek James A   Targeting VIP and PACAP receptor signalling: new therapeutic strategies in multiple sclerosis ASN neuro, 2011; 3(4): .
Cohen Joseph R, Resnick Daniel Z, Niewiadomski Pawel, Dong Hongmei, Liau Linda M, Waschek James A   Pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating polypeptide inhibits gli1 gene expression and proliferation in primary medulloblastoma derived tumorsphere cultures BMC cancer, 2010; 10(1): 676.
Dragich Joanna M, Loh Dawn H, Wang Louisa M, Vosko Andrew M, Kudo Takashi, Nakamura Takahiro J, Odom Irene H, Tateyama Sei, Hagopian Arkady, Waschek James A, Colwell Christopher S   The role of the neuropeptides PACAP and VIP in the photic regulation of gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus The European journal of neuroscience, 2010; 31(5): 864-75.
Abad Catalina, Tan Yossan-Var, Lopez Robert, Nobuta Hiroko, Dong Hongmei, Phan Phu, Feng Ji-Ming, Campagnoni Anthony T, Waschek James A   Vasoactive intestinal peptide loss leads to impaired CNS parenchymal T-cell infiltration and resistance to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010; 107(45): 19555-60.
Kim Woo-Kyun, Meliton Vicente, Park Kye Won, Hong Cynthia, Tontonoz Peter, Niewiadomski Pawel, Waschek James A, Tetradis Sotirios, Parhami Farhad   Negative regulation of Hedgehog signaling by liver X receptors Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.), 2009; 23(10): 1532-43.
Tan Yossan-Var, Abad Catalina, Lopez Robert, Dong Hongmei, Liu Shen, Lee Alice, Gomariz Rosa P, Leceta Javier, Waschek James A   Pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide is an intrinsic regulator of Treg abundance and protects against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009; 106(6): 2012-7.
Stack Conor M, Lim Maria A, Cuasay Katrina, Stone Madeleine M, Seibert Kimberly M, Spivak-Pohis Irit, Crawley Jacqueline N, Waschek James A, Hill Joanna M   Deficits in social behavior and reversal learning are more prevalent in male offspring of VIP deficient female mice Experimental neurology, 2008; 211(1): 67-84.
Lelievre Vincent, Seksenyan Akop, Nobuta Hiroko, Yong William H, Chhith Seririthanar, Niewiadomski Pawel, Cohen Joseph R, Dong Hongmei, Flores Avegail, Liau Linda M, Kornblum Harley I, Scott Matthew P, Waschek James A   Disruption of the PACAP gene promotes medulloblastoma in ptc1 mutant mice Developmental biology, 2008; 313(1): 359-70.
Girard Beatrice M, Malley Susan E, Braas Karen M, Waschek James A, May Victor, Vizzard Margaret A   Exaggerated Expression of Inflammatory Mediators in Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide Knockout (VIP(-/-)) Mice with Cyclophosphamide (CYP)-Induced Cystitis Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN, 2008; 36(1-3): 188-99.
Jensen Dorthe G, Studeny Simon, May Victor, Waschek James, Vizzard Margaret A   Expression of phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein (p-CREB) in bladder afferent pathways in VIP-/- mice with cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced cystitis Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN, 2008; 36(1-3): 299-309.
Armstrong B D, Abad C, Chhith S, Cheung-Lau G, Hajji O E, Nobuta H, Waschek J A   Impaired nerve regeneration and enhanced neuroinflammatory response in mice lacking pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating peptide Neuroscience, 2008; 151(1): 63-73.
Nemetz Nicole, Abad Catalina, Lawson Greg, Nobuta Hiroko, Chhith Seririthanar, Duong Lucy, Tse Gary, Braun Jonathan, Waschek James A   Induction of colitis and rapid development of colorectal tumors in mice deficient in the neuropeptide PACAP International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer, 2008; 122(8): 1803-9.
Nakano Ichiro, Masterman-Smith Michael, Saigusa Kuniyasu, Paucar Andres A, Horvath Steve, Shoemaker Lorelei, Watanabe Momoko, Negro Alejandra, Bajpai Ruchi, Howes Amy, Lelievre Vincent, Waschek James A, Lazareff Jorge A, Freije William A, Liau Linda M, Gilbertson Richard J, Cloughesy Timothy F, Geschwind Daniel H, Nelson Stanley F, Mischel Paul S, Terskikh Alexey V, Kornblum Harley I   Maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase is a key regulator of the proliferation of malignant brain tumors, including brain tumor stem cells Journal of neuroscience research, 2008; 86(1): 48-60.
Niewiadomski Pawel, Coûté-Monvoisin Anne-Claire, Abad Catalina, Ngo Danny, Menezes Adrian, Waschek James A   Mice Deficient in both Pituitary Adenylyl Cyclase-activating Polypeptide and Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Survive, but Display Growth Retardation and Sex-dependent Early Death Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN, 2008; 36(1-3): 200-7.
Lim Maria A, Stack Conor M, Cuasay Katrina, Stone Madeleine M, McFarlane Hewlet G, Waschek James A, Hill Joanna M   Regardless of genotype, offspring of VIP-deficient female mice exhibit developmental delays and deficits in social behavior International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience, 2008; 26(5): 423-34.
Studeny Simon, Cheppudira Bopaiah P, Meyers Susan, Balestreire Elena M, Apodaca Gerard, Birder Lori A, Braas Karen M, Waschek James A, May Victor, Vizzard Margaret A   Urinary bladder function and somatic sensitivity in vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-/- mice Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN, 2008; 36(1-3): 175-87.
Loh Dawn H, Abad Catalina, Colwell Christopher S, Waschek James A   Vasoactive intestinal peptide is critical for circadian regulation of glucocorticoids Neuroendocrinology, 2008; 88(4): 246-55.
Lelievre V, Favrais G, Abad C, Adle-Biassette H, Lu Y, Germano P M, Cheung-Lau G, Pisegna J R, Gressens P, Lawson G, Waschek J A   Gastrointestinal dysfunction in mice with a targeted mutation in the gene encoding vasoactive intestinal polypeptide: a model for the study of intestinal ileus and Hirschsprung's disease Peptides, 2007; 28(9): 1688-99.
Lacombe Arnaud, Lelievre Vincent, Roselli Charles E, Muller Jean-Marc, Waschek James A, Vilain Eric   Lack of vasoactive intestinal peptide reduces testosterone levels and reproductive aging in mouse testis The Journal of endocrinology, 2007; 194(1): 153-60.
Said Sami I, Hamidi Sayyed A, Dickman Kathleen G, Szema Anthony M, Lyubsky Sergey, Lin Richard Z, Jiang Ya-Ping, Chen John J, Waschek James A, Kort Smadar   Moderate pulmonary arterial hypertension in male mice lacking the vasoactive intestinal peptide gene Circulation, 2007; 115(10): 1260-8.
Koh Shay-Whey M, Guo Yan, Bernstein Steve L, Waschek James A, Liu Xiuhuai, Symes Aviva J   Vasoactive intestinal peptide induction by ciliary neurotrophic factor in donor human corneal endothelium in situ Neuroscience letters, 2007; 423(2): 89-94.
Lacombe Arnaud, Lelievre Vincent, Roselli Charles E, Salameh Wael, Lue Yan-he, Lawson Gregory, Muller Jean-Marc, Waschek James A, Vilain Eric   Delayed testicular aging in pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) null mice Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2006; 103(10): 3793-8.
Lelievre Vincent, Ghiani Cristina A, Seksenyan Akop, Gressens Pierre, de Vellis Jean, Waschek James A   Growth factor-dependent actions of PACAP on oligodendrocyte progenitor proliferation Regulatory peptides, 2006; 137(1-2): 58-66.
Waschek James A, Dicicco-Bloom Emanuel, Nicot Arnaud, Lelievre Vincent   Hedgehog signaling: new targets for GPCRs coupled to cAMP and protein kinase A Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2006; 1070(10): 120-8.
Armstrong Brian D, Abad Catalina, Chhith Seririthanar, Cheung-Lau Gardenia, Hajji Omar E, Coute Anne-Claire, Ngo Danny H, Waschek James A   Impairment of axotomy-induced pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating peptide gene expression in T helper 2 lymphocyte-deficient mice Neuroreport, 2006; 17(3): 309-12.
Szema Anthony M, Hamidi Sayyed A, Lyubsky Sergey, Dickman Kathleen G, Mathew Suni, Abdel-Razek Tarek, Chen John J, Waschek James A, Said Sami I   Mice lacking the VIP gene show airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation, partially reversible by VIP American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology, 2006; 291(5): L880-6.
Galbraith Gary, Waschek James, Armstrong Brian, Edmond John, Lopez Ivan, Liu Weixin, Kurtz Ira   Murine auditory brainstem evoked response: putative two-channel differentiation of peripheral and central neural pathways Journal of neuroscience methods, 2006; 153(2): 214-20.
Abad Catalina, Gomariz Rosa P, Waschek James A   Neuropeptide mimetics and antagonists in the treatment of inflammatory disease: focus on VIP and PACAP Current topics in medicinal chemistry, 2006; 6(2): 151-63.
Girard Beatrice A, Lelievre Vincent, Braas Karen M, Razinia Tannaz, Vizzard Margaret A, Ioffe Yevgeniya, El Meskini Rajaa, Ronnett Gabriele V, Waschek James A, May Victor   Noncompensation in peptide/receptor gene expression and distinct behavioral phenotypes in VIP- and PACAP-deficient mice Journal of neurochemistry, 2006; 99(2): 499-513.
Aton Sara J, Colwell Christopher S, Harmar Anthony J, Waschek James, Herzog Erik D   Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide mediates circadian rhythmicity and synchrony in mammalian clock neurons Nature neuroscience, 2005; 8(4): 476-83.
Itri Jason, Michel Stephan, Waschek James A, Colwell Christopher S   Circadian rhythm in inhibitory synaptic transmission in the mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus Journal of neurophysiology, 2004; 92(1): 311-9.
Armstrong Brian D, Abad Catalina, Chhith Seririthanar, Rodriguez Williams, Cheung-Lau Gardenia, Trinh Van, Waschek James A   Restoration of axotomy-induced PACAP gene induction in SCID mice with CD4+ T-lymphocytes Neuroreport, 2004; 15(17): 2647-50.
Colwell Christopher S, Michel Stephan, Itri Jason, Rodriguez Williams, Tam J, Lelievre Vincent, Hu Zhou, Liu X, Waschek James A   Disrupted circadian rhythms in VIP- and PHI-deficient mice American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology, 2003; 285(5): R939-49.
Armstrong Brian D, Hu Zhongting, Abad Catalina, Yamamoto Miya, Rodriguez Williams I, Cheng Jennifer, Tam Jimmy, Gomariz Rosa P, Patterson Paul H, Waschek James A   Lymphocyte regulation of neuropeptide gene expression after neuronal injury Journal of neuroscience research, 2003; 74(2): 240-7.
Hu Zhongting, Lelievre Vincent, Rodriguez Williams I, Cheng Jennifer W, Waschek James A   Comparative distributions of pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide and its selective type I receptor mRNA in the frog (Xenopus laevis) brain Regulatory peptides, 2002; 109(1-3): 15-26.
Lelievre Vincent, Hu Zhongting, Byun Ji-Yun, Ioffe Yevgeniya, Waschek James A   Fibroblast growth factor-2 converts PACAP growth action on embryonic hindbrain precursors from stimulation to inhibition Journal of neuroscience research, 2002; 67(5): 566-73.
Nicot Arnaud, Lelièvre Vincent, Tam Jimmy, Waschek James A, DiCicco-Bloom Emanuel   Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide and sonic hedgehog interact to control cerebellar granule precursor cell proliferation The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2002; 22(21): 9244-54.
UCLA    |    Terms & Conditions    |    Disability Resources    |    UC Regents