Dr. Baker is Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University. He completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Kalivas at the Medical University of South Carolina. He obtained his Ph.D. at Arizona State University in 1999 and his B.S. at Montana State University in 1992 working in the laboratories of Dr. Janet Neisewander and Dr. Michael Babcock, respectively.
Dr. Baker’s primary research interest is to understand the contribution of neurotransmitter release from astrocytes to brain function in the normal and diseased states, especially as it relates to addiction and schizophrenia. A major emphasis of his program is to develop novel therapeutics for these and other disorders. To this end, Dr. Baker has co-founded Promentis Pharmaceuticals, a start-up pharmaceutical company developing novel CNS therapeutics. He has recently received the Freedman Award from NARSAD for excellence in basic research and has received research funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, NARSAD, and the State of Wisconsin.Dr. Baker is the course director for BISC 4120 and BIOL 8530, and serves as a course instructor for BISC 7520 and 7120. He oversees the department’s involvement in Marquette’s Neuroscience Graduate Program and currently serves as a dissertation advisor for two doctoral students.
Probing Outside of the Synapse: Contribution of Extrasynaptic Glutamate to Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Glutamate represents the primary excitatory neurotransmitter and is involved in most aspects of brain functioning in the normal and diseased states. While synaptically released glutamate has been studied in great detail, a dearth of knowledge exists regarding the contribution of extrasynaptic glutamate release mechanisms, including cystine-glutamate antiporters (also referred to as system xc-), to pathological conditions involving glutamate dysfunction. The focus of my research is to determine whether extrasynaptic release mechanisms represent unrecognized targets in unmasking the etiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders.