Home > About > Faculty Profiles > Murali Temburni, PhD

Murali Temburni, PhD

murali temburniAssociate Professor
Science Center South, lab: SCS 105
mtemburni [at] desu.edu



PhD. Life Sciences, Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

M.S. Biochemistry, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India

B.S. Microbiology, Zoology and Chemistry, Osmania University, India

Research Interests/Area

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neural Networks
  • Astrocyte-Neuron interactions in the development of Synchrony
  • Epilepsy

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Neuroscience


  1. Sanchez, K. R., Harrington, M.A., Madadi, K., Dezayas, G., Chitra, S.P. and Temburni M.K. (2018). Astrocytes are required for development of synchronous activity of vertebrate neurons in culture. Manuscript in preparation.
  2. Sanchez, K.R., Mersha, M.D., Dhillon, H.S., Temburni, M.K. (2018). Assessment of the Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds on the Development of Vertebrate Neural Network Function Using Multi-electrode Arrays. J. Vis. Exp. (134), e56300, doi:10.3791/56300.
  3. Mersha, M. D., Sanchez, K. R., Temburni, M. K., Dhillon, H. S. (2018). Long-term Behavioral and Reproductive Consequences of Embryonic Exposure to Low-dose Toxicants. J. Vis. Exp. (133), e56771, doi:10.3791/56771.
  4. Mohanan, V., Temburni, M. K., Kappes, J. C., & Galileo, D. S. (2013). L1CAM stimulates glioma cell motility and proliferation through the fibroblast growth factor receptor. Clinical & experimental metastasis. 30(4): 507-520.
  5. Sauers DJ, Temburni, MK, Biggins JB, Ceo LM, Galileo DS, and Koh JT. 2010. Light-Activated Gene Expression Directs Segregation of Co-cultured Cells in Vitro. ACS Chemical Biology. 53: 313-320.
  6. Yang M, Adla S, Temburni MK, Patel VP, Lagow EL, Brady OA, Tian J, Boulos MI, Galileo DS. 2009. Stimulation of glioma cell motility by expression, proteolysis, and release of the L1 neural cell recognition molecule. Cancer Cell Int. 29(1):27.
  7. Rosenberg, M, Fang, Y, Giovanni, M, Mohn, J, Temburni, MK and Jacob, MH. 2008. Adenomatous polyposis coli plays a key role, in vivo, in coordinating assembly of the neuronal nicotinic postsynaptic complex Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 38(2): 138-52.
  8. Fotos, JS, Patel, VP, Karin, NJ, Temburni, MK, Koh, JT, Galileo, DS. 2006. Automated time-lapse microscopy and high-resolution tracking of cell migration. Cytotechnology. 51(1):7-19.
  9. Temburni, MK, Madelaine Rosenberg, Narendra Pathak and Michele H. Jacob. 2004. Neuronal nicotinic synapse assembly requires the adenomatous polyposis coli tumor suppressor protein. Journal of Neuroscience. 24(30):6776-84. (Selected by Faculty of 1000 as a recommended paper).
  10. Temburni, MK and Michele H Jacob. 2001. New functions for glia in the brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 98:3631-3632.
  11. Temburni, MK, Blitzblau, R.C. and Jacob, M.H. 2000. Receptor targeting and heterogeneity at interneuronal nicotinic cholinergic synapses in vivo. The Journal of Physiology. 525(1):21-29.
  12. Williams, Brian M., Temburni, MK, Levey MS, Bertrand S, Bertrand D and Jacob MH. 1999. The long cytoplasmic loop of the a3 subunit targets specific nAChR subtypes to synapses on neurons in vivo. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 868:640-644.
  13. Williams, BM, Temburni, MK, Levey MS, Bertrand S, Bertrand D and Jacob MH. 1998. The long internal loop of the a3 subunit targets nAChR subtypes to microdomains within individual synapses in vivo. Nature Neuroscience. 1(7): 557-562.
  14. T. Murali Krishna, Begum Z, Swamy Ch.V.B. and Khar A. 1998. Molecular cloning and characterization of a tumor rejection antigen from rat histiocytoma, AK-5. DNA and Cell Biology. 17(7): 603-612.

Honors & Awards

  • Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching (2017)
  • CMNST Teaching Excellence Award (2017)
  • Continuous Improvement Award - course release time, Georgian Court University (2012)


  • University Seminar BIOL 191
  • Biological Mechanisms BIOL 650
  • Neuroanatomy BIOL 610
  • Neurochemistry BIOL 622
  • Human Heredity BIOL 107

Additional Information

Brief Non-technical Description of Research (for layperson):

The focus of my lab is to understand the role of a type of glial cell called astrocyte in the development of synchronous activity in the brain. Nerve cells or neurons communicate with each other by generating action potentials or spikes. In the awake brain the overall spiking activity of the hundred billion neurons appears random. However, when in deep sleep or under anesthesia, the spiking activity becomes synchronized between various regions in the brain. This type of synchronous spiking is thought to be necessary for the development and maintenance of the functional organization of the brain – neurons that fire together wire together! Synchronized spiking activity also occurs during epileptic seizures – epilepsy is currently an intractable disease with no cure. Our central hypothesis is that astrocytes play a central role in the synchronization of neurons in the brain. Our preliminary data using pure neuron only and mixed (astrocyte and neuron) cultures on multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) demonstrates that astrocytes are necessary for synchronization of the spiking activity. We are currently dissecting the molecular pathways within astrocytes that are necessary for the synchronization of neuronal spiking activity.

Grants obtained since joining DSU

August 2018 to July 2021
NSF IOS Neural Systems Cluster
Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Astrocyte Neuron Interactions in the Development of Neuronal Synchrony
Budget: $753,000 for 3 years
In collaboration with Dr. Rhonda Dzakpasu, Georgetown University
My role: PI
Status: Funded and current

September 2015-August 2020
NIH R25 Research Education Project
Title: A Neuroscience-Focused Undergraduate Research Program at an HBCU”
Budget: $536,030 for 5 years
Date Submitted: April 2, 2015
My role: Co-PI (Melissa Harrington, PI)
Status: Funded

June 2015 to December 2018
NSF- HBCU-UP RIA Research Initiation Award
Title: Role of Astrocytes in the Development of Synchronized Bursting Behavior in Neuronal Networks
Budget: $ 200,000
My role: PI
Status: funded

April 2013 to March 2015
COBRE Pilot Proposal
Title: The role of glia in the development of synchronized bursting behavior in neuronal networks in culture.
Budget: 50,000/year for two years
My role: PI
Status: funded

February 2013 to July 2013
Proposal submitted to the CIBER-EPSCoR seed grant in collaboration with Dr. Harb Dhillon
Title: Long-term biological consequences of embryonic exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS)
Budget: $30,000
My role: PI
Status: funded

$4000 + full year of stipend support for one undergraduate student
The role of glia in the development of synchronized bursting behavior in neuronal networks in culture
Budget: $4000 + full year of stipend support for one undergraduate student
My Role: PI
Status: funded