frank deak

Associate Professor
Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
Medical College of Georgia

Mailing Address:

Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
1120 15th Street, Rm. CA4010
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Augusta, GA 30912

E-mail address:


1994 Semmelweis Medical University (Budapest, Hungary) - MD

2000 Semmelweis University (Budapest, Hungary) - PhD

Postdoctoral Training:

2008 Post-doctoral fellowship, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (Dallas, TX, USA)

2012 Associate Consultant, Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, FL, USA)

Research Interests:

Alzheimer's disease and Memory
Project:  How does Aging effect Synaptic Neurotransmission and contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease
Title:  Early signs of Alzheimer's Disease caused by dysregulation of Synaptic Neurotransmission.

There are more than 5 million patients in the USA, who suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease is thought to be the result of disturbed neuronal communication due to synaptic dysfunction. Aggregated amyloid beta protein accumulates in AD, a process leading to impaired neuronal communication. In a series of studies we investigate why aging is the most relevant risk factor to Alzheimer’s dementia. We test the age-related changes in a set of essential synaptic proteins, which regulate vesicular neurotransmitter release from synapses and their effect on beta-amyloid secretion. Maintaining physiological synaptic function while reducing amyloid secretion may provide a breakthrough to design effective therapies that halt progression of dementia in Alzheimer's disease.

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. W246G Mutant ELOVL4 impairs synaptic plasticity in parallel and climbing fibers and causes motor defects in a rat model of SCA34.  Raghavendra Y. Nagaraja, David M. Sherry, Jennifer L. Fessler, Megan A. Stiles, Feng Li, Karanpreet Multani, Albert Orock, Mohiuddin Ahmad, Richard S. Brush, Robert E. Anderson, Martin-Paul Agbaga*, Ferenc Deák*  Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Jul 5. doi: 10.1007/s12035-021-02439-1. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34227061
  2. Age-Related Cognitive Impairment: Role of Reduced Synaptobrevin-2 Levels in Deficits of Memory and Synaptic Plasticity.  Orock A, Logan S, Deak F.  J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci., 2020 Sep 16;75(9):1624-1632. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz013  PMID: 30649208.  Editor's Choice - featured in the main periodical of Gerontology Soc. America.
  3. Novel Cellular Functions of Very Long Chain-Fatty Acids: Insight From ELOVL4 Mutations.  Deák F, Anderson RE, Fessler JL, Sherry DM.  Front Cell Neurosci. 2019 Sep 20;13:428. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00428. eCollection 2019. Review.  PMID: 31616255
  4. Dysregulation of the SNARE-binding protein Munc18-1 impairs BDNF secretion and synaptic neurotransmission: a novel interventional target to protect the aging brain.  Lee YI, Kim YG, Pyeon HJ, Ahn JC, Logan S, Orock A, Joo KM, Lőrincz A, Deák F. Geroscience. 2019 Apr;41(2):109-123. doi: 10.1007/s11357-019-00067-1. Epub 2019 Apr 30.  PMID: 31041658
  5. Munc18-1 haploinsufficiency impairs learning and memory by reduced synaptic vesicular release in a model of Ohtahara syndrome.  Orock A, Logan S, Deak F.  Mol Cell Neurosci. 2018 Apr;88:33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2017.12.002. Epub 2017 Dec 5.  PMID: 29217410
  6. Homozygous Expression of Mutant ELOVL4 Leads to Seizures and Death in a Novel Animal Model of Very Long-Chain Fatty Acid Deficiency.  Hopiavuori BR, Deák F, Wilkerson JL, Brush RS, Rocha-Hopiavuori NA, Hopiavuori AR, Ozan KG, Sullivan MT, Wren JD, Georgescu C, Szweda L, Awasthi V, Towner R, Sherry DM, Anderson RE, Agbaga MP.  Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Feb;55(2):1795-1813. doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0824-8. Epub 2017 Nov 22.  PMID: 29168048
  7. Hypertension-induced synapse loss and impairment in synaptic plasticity in the mouse hippocampus mimics the aging phenotype: implications for the pathogenesis of vascular cognitive impairment.  Tucsek Z, Noa Valcarcel-Ares M, Tarantini S, Yabluchanskiy A, Fülöp G, Gautam T, Orock A, Csiszar A, Deak F, Ungvari Z.  Geroscience. 2017 Aug;39(4):385-406. doi: 10.1007/s11357-017-9981-y. Epub 2017 Jun 29.  PMID:  28664509
  8. Memory loss: Five new things.  Deak et al. Neurol Clin Pract. 2016 Dec;6(6):523-529. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000314.  Memory loss can be due to a wide variety of causes. We provide new information about the biology of common genetic and acquired causes of memory loss in older adults.
  9. Recent Developments in Understanding Brain Aging: Implications for Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Cognitive Impairment.  Deak F, Freeman WM, Ungvari Z, Csiszar A, Sonntag WE. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Jan;71(1):13-20. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glv206. Epub 2015 Nov 20. Review.  PMID: 26590911
  10. Deficiency in LRP6-mediated Wnt signaling contributes to synaptic abnormalities and amyloid pathology in Alzheimer's disease.  Liu et al. Neuron. 2014 Oct 1;84(1):63-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.048.


Open Positions in the Deak Lab:

  1. We support the training of graduate students, and accept applications for laboratory rotation.
  2. We encourage interested electrophysiology experts to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship in our laboratory  -  Job Opening ID: 247302
  3.  We have Current open position for Research Assistant  -  Job Opening ID: 247305


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