Terman Lab


Meet the PI

Jonathan Terman, Ph.D.

Jonathan Terman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

6000 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75235
Phone: 214-648-1464
Lab: 214-648-4963
Fax: 214-648-1801

Jonathan Terman, Ph.D., completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., in 1991. After working for a year in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, he began his graduate work at The Ohio State University and received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience. As a graduate student in George F. Martin's Laboratory, he utilized the unique embryology of the marsupial opossum and focused on understanding the potential for axon regeneration in the spinal cord of mammals and the factors associated with its failure. As an initial step toward identifying the molecular mechanisms limiting axon regeneration, he focused his postdoctoral training on investigating the molecular mechanisms that enable axonal growth and guidance. While a postdoctoral fellow with Alex L. Kolodkin at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Terman utilized molecular and genetic approaches in both Drosophila and mammals to better characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying axon guidance. He joined the faculty of The Department of Neuroscience in 2005.

Lab Members

Umar Yazdani, M.D.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Laura Taylor Alto, Ph.D.


Ruei-Jiun Hung, M.S.

Former Lab Members/Current Position

Zhiyu Huang

Research Assoc - Genentech

Nidhi Gupta

Postdoc - Lecturer
Jaypee Institute of Information Technology University, Uttar Pradesh, India

Sue Shiao

Summer Student
Student, California Institute of Technology

Research Interests

A normal functioning human nervous system requires the interconnection of billions of neurons but much remains to be learned on how these circuits are assembled, and how they may be repaired after injury or disease. Remarkably, the signals that help neurons find and connect with their targets appear common to all animals. Simple animals like worms and flies use many of the same axon guidance signals as more complex animals. These extracellular axon guidance signals or cues guide axons by associating with cell surface receptors present on growing axons. How these axon guidance cues alter the cytoskeletal machinery necessary to steer an axon is still poorly understood, however. Relatively little is known of the intracellular signaling molecules and mechanisms within the growing tip of an axon that orchestrates growth, navigation, and target selection.

Research in my laboratory focuses on better understanding the molecules and mechanisms that assemble axonal connections to utilize this knowledge to encourage axons to reestablish their connections after trauma or disease. To address these questions, we employ a combination of molecular, biochemical, structural, genetic, and cell biological approaches both in vivo and in vitro in simple and complex organisms. Work currently underway in the lab is focused on:

  • Identifying the molecules involved in neural connectivity and assembling them into signaling pathways.
  • Studying the functional importance of these proteins in the formation of the nervous system.
  • Characterizing the biochemical and physiological role of these proteins.
  • Using these findings to devise and test therapeutic strategies to encourage axons to regrow after injury.

One of our major interests is to better characterize a new family of proteins, the MICALs, that contain a flavoprotein oxidoreductase domain that is required for proper neuronal connectivity. Our recent results reveal that MICALs are oxidoreductase enzymes that utilize novel oxidation-reduction (redox) signaling mechanisms to directly regulate the actin cytoskeletal elements necessary for axonal growth, steering, and targeting. This work reveals new mechanisms underlying neural connectivity and also identifies a new class of enzymes that regulate the actin cytoskeleton, the basic building blocks for many aspects of cell behavior.


Williamson, W. R., T. Yang, J.R. Terman, and P. R. Hiesinger (2010) Guidance receptor degradation is required for neuronal connectivity in the Drosophila nervous systemPLoS Biology, 8: e1000553.

Hung, R.-J., U. Yazdani, J. Yoon, H. Wu, T. Yang, N. Gupta, Z. Huang, W.J.H. van Berkel, and J.R. Terman (2010) MICAL links semaphorins to F-actin disassemblyNature, 463: 823-827.

He, H., T. Yang, J.R. Terman, and X. Zhang (2009) Crystal structure of the Plexin A3 intracellular region reveals an autoinhibited conformation through active site sequestrationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106:15610-15615.

Gupta, N. and J.R. Terman (2008) Characterization of MICAL Flavoprotein Oxidoreductases: Expression and Solubility of Different Truncated Forms of MICAL, Flavins, and Flavoproteins. 345-350.

Yazdani, U., Z. Huang, and J.R. Terman (2008) The Glucose Transporter (GLUT4) Enhancer Factor is required for normal wing-positioning in DrosophilaGenetics, 178:919-929.

Huang, Z., U. Yazdani, K. L. Thompson-Peer, A. L. Kolodkin, and J.R. Terman (2007) Crk-associated substrate (Cas) adaptor protein functions with integrins to specify axon guidance during developmentDevelopment, 134:2337-2347.

Yazdani, U., and Terman, J.R. (2006) The semaphorinsGenome Biology, 7:211-225.

Ayoob, J. C., Terman, J.R. and Kolodkin, A. L. (2006) Drosophila Plexin B is a semaphorin-2a receptor required for axon guidanceDevelopment, 133:2125-2135.

Pasterkamp, R. J., H. Dai, J.R. Terman, K. Wahlin, B. Kim, B. S. Bregman, P. G. Popovich, and A. L. Kolodkin (2006) MICAL flavoprotein monooxygenases: expression in the developing and adult rat nervous system and following spinal cord injuriesMol Cell Neurosci, 31:52-69.

Siebold, C., Berrow, N., Walter, T. S., Harlos, K., Owens, R. J., Stuart, D. I., Terman, J.R., Kolodkin, A. L., Pasterkamp, R. J., and Yvonne Jones, E. (2005) High-resolution structure of the catalytic region of MICAL (molecule interacting with CasL), a multidomain flavoenzyme-signaling moleculeProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 102:16,836-16,841.

Ayoob, J. C., H.-H. Yu, J.R. Terman, A. L. Kolodkin (2004) DrGC-1, a Drosophila receptor guanylyl cyclase, is a key component of semaphorin-1a mediated axon guidanceJ Neurosci, 24:6639-6649.

Terman, J.R., and A. L. Kolodkin (2004) The AKAP nervy links Protein Kinase A to plexin-mediated semaphorin repulsionScience, 303: 1204-1207.

Terman, J.R., T. Mao, R. J. Pasterkamp, H.-H. Yu, and A. L. Kolodkin (2002) MICALs, a family of conserved flavoprotein oxidoreductases, function in plexin-mediated axonal repulsionCell, 109:887-900.

Martin, G. F., J.R. Terman, and X. M. Wang (2000) Regeneration of descending spinal axons after transection of the thoracic spinal cord during early development in the North American opossum, Didelphis virginiana. Brain Res. Bulletin, 53:677-687.

Terman, J.R., X. M. Wang, and G. F., Martin (2000) Repair of the transected spinal cord at different stages of development in the North American opossum, Didelphis virginianaBrain Res. Bulletin, 53:845-855.

Wang, X. M., J.R. Terman, and G. F. Martin (1999) Rescue of axotomized rubrospinal neurons by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the developing opossum, Didelphis virginiana. Devl. Brain Res, 118:177-184.

Terman, J.R., and A. L. Kolodkin (1999) Attracted or repelled? Look withinNeuron, 23:193-195.

Terman, J.R., X. M. Wang, and G. F. Martin (1999) Developmental plasticity of ascending spinal axons. Studies using the North American opossum, Didelphis virginianaDevl. Brain Res., 112:65-77.

Terman, C. R., and J.R. Terman (1999) Early-summer reproductive hiatus in wild white-footed miceJournal of Mammalogy, 80:1251-1256.

Wang, X. M., J.R. Terman, and G. F. Martin (1998) Regeneration of supraspinal axons after transection of the thoracic spinal cord in the developing opossum, Didelphis virginianaJournal of Comparative Neurology, 398:83-97.

Wang, X.M., D.M. Basso, J.R. Terman, J.C. Bresnahan, and G.F. Martin (1998) Adult opossums (Didelphis virginiana) demonstrate near normal locomotion after spinal cord transection as neonatesExperimental Neurology, 151:50-69.

Terman, J.R., X. M. Wang, and G. F. Martin (1998) Origin, course and laterality of spinocerebellar axons in the North American opossum, Didelphis virginianaAnatomical Record, 251:528-547.

Contact Us

6000 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75235
Phone: 214-648-1464
Lab: 214-648-4963
Fax: 214-648-1801