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 certain viral infections. The Weltzin lab has several research objectives:

1) Investigate endogenous protein modulation of nAChR function and expression to understand
how these interactions are involved in healthy and disease states.
2) Characterize the cellular mechanism of neuronal nAChR interactions with specific viral
3) Develop cell penetrating peptides from viral glycoproteins that are highly selective for nAChR

The Weltzin lab performs electrophysiology, cell culture, confocal microscopy, cell viability,
among other biochemical assays. By addressing basic and translational research questions, the
Weltzin team aims to develop novel therapeutic approaches to diseases that are associated
with altered cholinergic tone.

The Weltzin team is always interested in collaborating with fellow researchers, and accepting
new undergraduate and graduate student members. Please contact Dr. Maegan Weltzin
( to discuss research opportunities.

Maegan Weltzin CV

Selected Publications

  • BCV O’Brien, L Weber, K Hueffer, MM Weltzin. (2023) SARS-CoV-2 spike ectodomain targets
    α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 104707. DOI:
  • M Lian, K Hueffer, M Weltzin. (2022) “Interactions between the rabies virus and nicotinic
    acetylcholine receptors: A potential role in rabies virus induced behavior modifications.” Heliyon,
    e10434. DOI:
  • MM Weltzin, AA George, RJ Lukas, P Whiteaker. (2021) Sleep-related hypermotor epilepsy
    associated mutations uncover important kinetic roles of α4β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
    intracellular structures. Plos one 16 (3), e0247825. DOI:
  • MM Weltzin, AA George, RJ Lukas, P Whiteaker. (2019) “Distinctive single-channel properties
    of α4β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor isoforms.” PloS one 14 (3), e0213143. DOI:
  • MM Weltzin, JM Lindstrom, RJ Lukas, P Whiteake. (2016) Distinctive effects of nicotinic
    receptor intracellular-loop mutations associated with nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy.
    Neuropharmacology 102, 158-173. DOI:
  • MM Weltzin and MK Schulte. (2015) Desformylflustrabromine modulates α4β2 neuronal
    nicotinic acetylcholine receptor high-and low-sensitivity isoforms at allosteric clefts containing the β2 subunit. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 354 (2), 184-194. DOI:
  • S Luo, D Zhangsun, CI Schroeder, X Zhu, Y Hu, Y Wu, MM Weltzin, S Eberhard, Q Kaas, DJ
    Craik, JM McIntosh, P Whiteaker. (2014) A novel α4/7-conotoxin LvIA from Conus lividus that
    selectively blocks α3β2 vs. α6/α3β2β3 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The FASEB Journal 28
    (4), 1842. DOI: 10.1096/fj.13-244103
  • MM Weltzin, MK Schulte. (2010) Pharmacological characterization of the allosteric modulator
    desformylflustrabromine and its interaction with α4β2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
    orthosteric ligands. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 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