Jyoti Watters, Degree

Jyoti_WattersEmail: jjwatters@wisc.edu
Title: Associate Professor
Department: Comparative Biosciences
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PubMed Publications


BS 1990 University of Arizona - Tuscon, Tuscon, AZ
PhD 1997 University of Washington, Seattle, WA
1st Postdoctoral position: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Research Focus

Microglia are phagocytic immune cells that reside in the central nervous system. They comprise between and 5-15% of all brain cells, and respond to the presence of invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. In addition to their roles in the maintenance of normal brain connectivity and function, they are also integral to the development of many sexually dimorphic neurodegenerative diseases such as MS, ALS, Parkinson's disease etc.

Microglia are among the first cell types to respond to brain injury, and upon their activation, they synthesize and secrete toxic mediators such as oxygen free radicals and numerous cytokines/chemokines, that when produced in excessive quantities can be toxic to neurons.  P2 purinergic receptors are very important modulators of microglial inflammatory activities.  These cell surface receptors are activated by extracellular adenine nucleotides (e.g. ATP),  which are abundant in the CNS following injury, exposure to hypoxia/ischemia or during neurodegenerative disease processes.  We have found that certain members of the P2X receptor family can either exacerbate or attenuate microglial inflammatory mediator production, depending upon the history of oxygen exposure.  Studies are underway to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the opposing effects of oxygen in microglia.

Program Activities

  • Joined ERP Program: 2002

Research Funding

  • NIH funded


Current Trainees Degree Goal
No Current ERP Students  
Past Trainees Degree Completed
Ann Baker MS