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Salvatore J Cherra, PhD


780 Rose St., MN208 Medical Science Building


  • Assistant Professor

College Unit(s)

Biography and Education


B.S., Biology, The University of Scranton

Ph.D., Cellular & Molecular Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Postdoc, Neurobiology, University of California, San Diego


Our lab studies neural circuit development and function during health and disease. Our research currently focuses on how non-neuronal cells limit synaptic connectivity and how GTPase signaling pathways coordinate presynaptic development. For additional details about the lab, please visit the Cherra Lab.

Selected Publications

Lamb, R., Dhar, B., and Cherra, S.J. 3rd. 2022. PXF-1 promotes synapse development at the neuromuscular junction in Caenorhabditis elegans. Front. Mol. Neurosci. Oct 13; 15:945680.

Cherra, S.J. 3rd, Goncharov, A., Boassa, D., Ellisman, M., and Jin, Y. 2020. C. elegans MAGU-2/Mpp5 homolog regulates epidermal phagocytosis and synapse density. J. Neurogenet. Sep-Dec; 34(3-4):298-306.

McCulloch, K.A., Qi, Y.B., Takayanagi-Kiya, S., Jin, Y., and Cherra, S.J. 3rd. 2017. Novel mutations in synaptic transmission genes suppress neuronal hyperexcitation in C. elegans. G3 (Bethesda). July 5;7(7):2055-2063.

Zhou, K., Cherra, S.J. 3rd, Goncharov, A., and Jin, Y. 2017. Asynchronous Cholinergic Drive Correlates with Excitation-Inhibition Imbalance via a Neuronal Ca2+ Sensor Protein. Cell Rep. May 9;19(6):1117-1129.

Cherra, S.J. 3rd and Jin, Y. 2016. A Two-Immunoglobulin-Domain Transmembrane Protein Mediates an Epidermal-Neuronal Interaction to Maintain Synapse Density. Neuron. Jan 20;89(2):325-36. Previewed in Neuron 20;89(2):239-41. Recommended by Faculty of 1000.

Cherra, S.J. 3rd, Steer, E., Gusdon, A.M., Kiselyov, K., Chu, C.T. 2013. Mutant LRRK2 elicits calcium imbalance and depletion of dendritic mitochondria in neurons. Am J Pathol. Feb;182(2):474-84.

Cherra, S.J. 3rd, Kulich S.M., Uechi G.T., Balasubramani M., Mountzouris J., Day B.W., Chu C.T. 2010. Regulation of the autophagy protein LC3 by phosphorylation. J Cell Biol. 190(4):533-9. In Focus commentary in J Cell Biol 190 (4): 483. Recommended by Faculty of 1000.

Dagda R.K., Cherra, S.J. 3rd, Kulich S.M., Tandon A, Park D, Chu C.T. 2009. Loss of PINK1 Function Promotes Mitophagy through Effects on Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Fission. J Biol Chem. 15;284(20):13843-55. Recommended by Faculty of 1000.

Plowey, E.D., Cherra, S.J. 3rd, Liu, Y.-J. , and Chu, C.T. 2008. Role of autophagy in G2019S-LRRK2-associated neurite shortening in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells. J Neurochem.  105(3):1048-1056.


Pubmed Publications