University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Aaron W. McGee


Assistant Professor

Research Topics

  1. Regulation of plasticity in the mammalian CNS
  2. Mechanisms of functional recovery following CNS injury
  3. Dynamics of synapse formation and maintenance

Research Overview

In the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), the flexibility of neuronal functional properties and anatomical connectivity diminish as development concludes. As the limited capacity for plasticity in the mature CNS impedes recovery from both childhood neurologic disorders as well as CNS injury, understanding how plasticity is regulated has significant therapeutic potential. My research explores the genes and mechanisms that mediate this transition from robust plasticity in the developing CNS to more restricted plasticity in the mature CNS. The lab uses a combination of genetics, electrophysiology, and in vivo imaging to study plasticity in the developing visual system as well as recovery following CNS injury. Our goal is to devise interventions that acutely enhance plasticity in the CNS to promote more efficient and complete restitution of function from a broad range of childhood and adult neurologic disorders such as amblyopia (lazy eye), autism, and spinal cord injury.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Saban Research Institute
4650 W Sunset Blvd, mailstop 135
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Office Location:
Saban 323
Office Phone:
(323) 361-7197
Lab Location:
Saban 3rd floor
Lab Phone:
(323) 361-3157
(323) 361-1549


  • B.A. University of Colorado - Boulder, MCD Biology and Biochemistry, 1995
  • Ph.D. University of California - San Francisco (UCSF), Neuroscience, 2001
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University School of Medicine, 2002-2008

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Selected Publications

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McGee AW, Yang Y, Fischer QS, Daw NW, Strittmatter SM. Experience-driven plasticity of visual cortex limited by myelin and nogo receptor. Science 2005, 309:2222-2226.

McGee AW, Nunziato DA, Maltez JM, Prehoda KE, Pitt GS, Bredt DS. Calcium channel function regulated by the SH3-GK module in beta subunits. Neuron 2004, 42(1):89-99.

McGee AW, Strittmatter SM. The Nogo-66 receptor: focusing myelin inhibition of axon regeneration. Trends Neurosci. 2003 Apr;26(4):193-8.

McGee AW, Bredt DS. Assembly and plasticity of the glutamatergic postsynaptic specialization. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Feb;13(1):111-8.

McGee AW, Dakoji SR, Olsen O, Bredt DS, Lim WA, Prehoda KE.  Structure of the SH3-guanylate kinase module from PSD-95 suggests a mechanism for regulated assembly of MAGUK scaffolding proteins.  Molecular Cell 2001, 8(6):1291-301.

McGee AW, Topinka JR, Hashimoto K, Petralia RS, Kakizawa S, Kauer F, Aguilera-Moreno A, Wenthold RJ, Kano M, Bredt DS.  PSD-93 knock-out mice reveal that neuronal MAGUKs are not required for development or function of parallel fiber synapses in cerebellum.  J. Neurosci. 2001, 21(9):3085-91.

McGee AW, Bredt DS.  Identification of an intramolecular interaction between the SH3 and guanylate kinase domains of PSD-95.  J. Biol. Chem. 1999, 274(25):17431-6 -PubMed