Kathlyn Gan

Assistant Professor



CSB Appointment


Research Areas

Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Physiology


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, 2021
Ph.D., Simon Fraser University, 2015
A.R.C.T., Royal Conservatory of Music, 2003

Primary Undergraduate Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Programs

Cell & Systems Biology

Research Description

Synapses, the unitary connections between neurons that enable information processing and memory storage, decline in number and function as we age. This loss of synaptic connectivity weakens neural circuits and networks, leading to cognitive impairment and increasing the risk of disease. To help develop effective therapeutic strategies for neurodegeneration, our lab studies molecular pathways that regulate synapse formation and function and harnesses them to restore synaptic connectivity in the aging brain. In particular, we are investigating how specific regenerative factors, found enriched in young blood, promote synapse formation and function in human neurons. Our lab combines approaches in stem cell biology and neuronal induction, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, recombinant protein biochemistry, electrophysiology, and high-resolution microscopy to pursue these research goals.

Contact Information


Mailing Address

Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
1265 Military Trail
Scarborough, ON M1C 1A4



SPARCL1 Promotes Excitatory But Not Inhibitory Synapse Formation and Function Independent of Neurexins and Neuroligins

Gan KJ, Südhof TC
2020, The Journal of Neuroscience, 10.1523/jneurosci.0454-20.2020

GSK3β Impairs KIF1A Transport in a Cellular Model of Alzheimer’s Disease but Does Not Regulate Motor Motility at S402

Gan K, Akram A, Blasius T, Ramser E, Budaitis B, Gabrych D, Verhey K, Silverman M
2020, eneuro, 10.1523/eneuro.0176-20.2020

Back to top


Specific factors in blood from young but not old mice directly promote synapse formation and NMDA-receptor recruitment

Gan KJ, Südhof TC
2019, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.1902672116

Neuromodulator Signaling Bidirectionally Controls Vesicle Numbers in Human Synapses

Patzke C, Brockmann MM, Dai J, Gan KJ, Grauel MK, Fenske P, Liu Y, Acuna C, Rosenmund C, Südhof TC
2019, Cell, 10.1016/j.cell.2019.09.011

Back to top


Imaging organelle transport in primary hippocampal neurons treated with amyloid-β oligomers

Gan KJ, Silverman MA
2016, , 10.1016/bs.mcb.2015.06.012

Back to top


Dendritic and axonal mechanisms of Ca2+ elevation impair BDNF transport in Aβ oligomer–treated hippocampal neurons

Gan KJ, Silverman MA, Holzbaur E
2015, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 10.1091/mbc.e14-12-1612

Back to top


Atlas stumbled: Kinesin light chain-1 variant E triggers a vicious cycle of axonal transport disruption and amyloid-β generation in Alzheimer’s disease

Gan KJ, Morihara T, Silverman MA
2014, BioEssays, 10.1002/bies.201400131

Back to top


Amyloid-β oligomers induce tau-independent disruption of BDNF axonal transport via calcineurin activation in cultured hippocampal neurons

Ramser EM, Gan KJ, Decker H, Fan EY, Suzuki MM, Ferreira ST, Silverman MA, Forscher P
2013, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 10.1091/mbc.e12-12-0858

Back to top


Thyroid hormone accelerates opsin expression during early photoreceptor differentiation and induces opsin switching in differentiated TRα-expressing cones of the salmonid retina

Gan KJ, Novales Flamarique I
2010, Developmental Dynamics, 10.1002/dvdy.22392

Back to top


Thyroid Hormone Induces a Time-Dependent Opsin Switch in the Retina of Salmonid Fishes

Cheng CL, Gan KJ, Flamarique IN
2009, Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 10.1167/iovs.08-2713

Back to top


The Ultraviolet Opsin Is the First Opsin Expressed during Retinal Development of Salmonid Fishes

Cheng CL, Gan KJ, Flamarique IN
2007, Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 10.1167/iovs.06-0442

Back to top