Istvan Mody Phd


Department of Neurology, Physiology

NRB 1, Room 575E
310-206-4481 | 310-206-3485 (lab) | 310-825-0033


  • BSc (Hon), University of British Columbia, 1981
  • PhD, University of British Columbia, 1985
  • Post-doc, Max-Planck Institute, 1985-86
  • Post-doc, Playfair Neuroscience Unit, University of Toronto, 1986-88

Awards and Positions

  • Traveling Grass Lecturer, Society for Neuroscience, 2007
  • Ambassador for Epilepsy, ILAE, 2005
  • Epilepsy Research Award, American Epilepsy Society/Milken Family Foundation, 2004
  • Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, NIH, 2001
  • Member, Hungarian National Academy of Sciences, 2001
  • Michael Prize for Epilepsy, 1999
  • Traveling Grass Lecturer, Society for Neuroscience, 1995
  • Tony Coelho Professor of Neurology,UCLA School of Medicine, 1995
  • Hume Faculty Scholar, Stanford University, 1988-92
  • Esther A., & Joseph Klingenstein Fellow in the Neurosciences, 1989-92
  • Alfred Hauptmann Prize for Epilepsy, 1988
  • John Charles Polanyi Prize for Physiology and Medicine, 1988
  • Medical Research Council of Canada Fellowship, 1985-88
  • Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fellowship, 1985-87
  • Frank F. Wesbrook Fellowship, 1983-85

Research Interests

Professor Mody’s research focuses on 1) the physiology, pharmacology, and
pathology of synaptic transmission in the mammalian brain, and 2) the
regulation of intracellular calcium homeostasis. The two themes ultimately
converge in his quest for understanding how long-term alterations in the
excitability of nerve cells and circuits are responsible for offsetting the
frail balance between excitation and inhibition. Tipping this balance, either
acutely of chronically, results in the nervous system showing signs of abnormal
activity leading to specific brain disorders. He studies synaptic transmission
and the activation of extrasynaptic receptors in the healthy and the diseased
brain. He presently carries out research in animal models of epilepsy,
Huntington’s disease, stress, alcoholism, PMS/PMDD, postpartum depression,
while also recording from human brain tissue surgically removed for the
treatment of epilepsies. By studying the fundamental mechanisms responsible for
the altered synapses and circuits our studies will lead to novel therapies for
a number of devastating neurological and psychiatric disorders. The
experimental approaches he uses include patch-clamp recordings (whole-cell,
single channel and perforated patch) in brain slices, in acutely isolated
animal and human neurons, or in cultured neurons/slices; chronic recordings in
vivo to monitor long-term changes in the excitability of circuits; infrared and
fluorescent video microscopy and simultaneous recordings in live brain tissue;
various neuroanatomical and immunohistochemical techniques; measurement of
intraneuronal calcium and the binding kinetics of calcium to various
calcium-binding proteins; molecular biological approaches aimed at reducing or
altering specific brain proteins as in genetic knockouts/knockins and various
methods aimed at altering cellular protein levels. 


Recent Papers

  1. Faas G.C., Mody I., “Measuring the kinetics of calcium binding proteins with flash photolysis,” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Oct 7. (Epub ahead of print)
  2. Faas G.C., Raghavachari S. Lisman J.E., Mody I., “Calmodulin as a direct detector of Ca2+ signals,” Nat Neurosci. 2011 Mar;14(3):301-4. Epub 2011 Jan 23.
  3. Clarkson A.N., Huang B.S., Macisaac S.E., Mody I. Carmichael S.T., “Reducing excessive GABA-mediated tonic inhibition promotes functional recovery after stroke,” Nature. 2010 Nov 11;468(7321):305-9. Epub 2010 Nov 3.
  4. Engel J. Jr., Bragin A., Staba R., Mody I., “High-frequency oscillations: what is normal and what is not?” Epiepsia. 2009 Apr;50(4):598-604. Epub 2008 Dec 4. Review.
  5. Mann E.O., Mody I., “The multifaceted role of inhibition in epilepsy: seizure-genesis through excessive GABAergic inhibition in autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy,” Curr Opin Neurol. 2008 Apr;21(2):155-60. Review.
  6. Farshchi S., Pesterev A., Nuyujukian P.H., Mody I., Judy J.W., “Bi-Fi: an embedded sensor/system architecture for REMOTE biological monitoring,” IEEE Trans Inf Technol Biomed. 2007 Nov;11(6):611-8.
  7. Mody I., “Extrasynaptic GABAA receptors in the crosshairs of hormones and ethanol,” Neurochem Int. 2008 Jan;52(1-2):60-4. Epub 2007 Jul 17. Review.
  8. Mody I., Glykys J., Wei W., “A new meaning for “Gin & Tonic”: tonic inhibition as the target for ethanol action in the brain,” Alcohol. 2007 May;41(3):145-53. Epub 2006 may 23. Review.
  9. Farshchi S., Nuyujukian P.H., Pesterev A. Mody I., Judy J.W., “A TinyOS-enabled MICA2-based wireless neural interface,” IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2006 Jul;53(7):1416-24.
  10. Pathological cell-cell interactions elicited by a neuropathogenic form of mutant Huntingtin contribute to cortical pathogenesis in HD mice,” Neuron. 2005 May 5;46(3):433-44.