Maegan Weltzin

Research DescriptionMaegan Weltzin

The research goals of the Weltzin lab are to understand the role of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in neurological disorders and infectious disease. nAChRs are ligand gated ion channels that are highly expressed in the central nervous system and periphery. They are involved in many diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, nicotine addiction, epilepsy and rabies infection. The Weltzin lab has two research objectives: 1) Investigate nAChR’s contribution to neurological diseases by characterizing receptor behavior in both non-diseased and diseased states (initially studying Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy (NFLE)), and 2) Characterize the cellular mechanisms of neuronal nAChR interactions with viral glycoproteins. Results from these two projects will lead to an enhanced understanding about nAChR’s role in neurological pathologies and infectious disease. Findings will provide a direct translation to improving human health through the identification and characterization of disease-driven changes in human nAChR behavior, paving the way for the development of potential novel therapeutic compounds.

Interested undergraduate students and prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact Dr. Maegan Weltzin ( to discuss research opportunities.

Selected Publications

  • Weltzin, M. M., J. M. Lindstrom, Lukas, R. (2016) "Distinctive effects of nicotinic receptor intracellular-loop mutations associated with nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy." Neuropharmacology 102: 158-173.
  • Lucero, L. M., Weltzin, M. M., Eaton, J. B., Cooper, J. F., Lindstrom, J. M., Lukas, R. J., Whiteaker, P. (2016) "Differential alpha4(+)/(-)beta2 Agonist-binding Site Contributions to alpha4beta2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Function within and between Isoforms." J Biol Chem 291(5): 2444-2459.
  • Weltzin, M. M. and M. K. Schulte (2015). "Desformylflustrabromine Modulates alpha4beta2 Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor High- and Low-Sensitivity Isoforms at Allosteric Clefts Containing the beta2 Subunit." J Pharmacol Exp Ther 354(2): 184-194.
  • Luo S., Zhangsun D., Schroeder C.I., Zhu X., Hu Y., Wu Y., Weltzin M. M., Eberhard S., Kaas Q., Craik D. J., McIntosh J. M., Whiteaker P. (2014) A novel alpha4/7-conotoxin LvIA from Conus lividus that selectively blocks alpha3beta2 vs. alpha6/alpha3beta2beta3 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 28:1842-1853.
  • Weltzin, M. M. and M. K. Schulte (2010). "Pharmacological characterization of the allosteric modulator desformylflustrabromine and its interaction with alpha4beta2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor orthosteric ligands." J Pharmacol Exp Ther 334(3): 917-926.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 03/2012 - 07/2016 Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Ph.D., 2011, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (emphasis in Neuroscience), University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK.
  • B.S., 2006, Chemistry with emphasis in Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK.


Phone: 907-474-6527
Fax: 907-474-5640
Maegan Weltzin
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6160