Max Joffe, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
Portrait picture of Max Joffe




Education & Training

PhD, Vanderbilt University (2016)


Bridgeside Point II, Room 219

Research Interest Summary

GPCR modulation of prefrontal cortex circuits

The laboratory’s goal is to identify, scrutinize, and validate novel druggable targets for the treatment of alcohol use disorders (AUDs), mood disorders, and other diseases. While the advent of optogenetics and sophisticated gene editing technology provides exciting opportunities for the development of next-generation psychiatric treatments, pharmacological approaches retain theoretical and practical advantages for the rapid delivery of new therapies. Our laboratory therefore aims to leverage contemporary neuroscience techniques to investigate how G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) regulate discrete prefrontal cortex circuits.

Researchers in our laboratory ask: (1) How do GPCRs regulate neuronal activity, synaptic plasticity, and animal behavior? (2) How do disease-relevant experiences usurp, impair, or modify synaptic plasticity mechanisms? (3) How can we leverage this information to identify new psychiatric treatments? Our research approaches these questions from several angles. Graduate students in the laboratory will have opportunities to train extensively in whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics-assisted circuit mapping, in vivo biosensor-based imaging, and rodent behavioral techniques.

Representative Publications

Maksymetz J, Byun NE, Luessen DJ, Li B, Barry R, Gore JC, Niswender CM, Lindsley CW, Joffe ME, Conn PJ. mGlu1 potentiation enhances cortical somatostatin interneuron activity to rescue schizophrenia-like physiological and cognitive deficits. Cell Reports. In press.

Joffe ME, Santiago CI, Stansley BJ, Maksymetz J, Gogliotti RG, Engers JL, Nicoletti F, Lindsley CW & Conn, PJ. Mechanisms underlying prelimbic prefrontal cortex mGlu3/mGlu5-dependent plasticity and reversal learning deficits following acute stress. Neuropharmacology. 2019 Jan;144:19-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.10.013.

Joffe ME, Santiago CI, Oliver KH, Maksymetz J, Harris NA, Engers JL, Lindsley CW, Winder DG, Conn PJ. mGlu2 and mGlu3 negative allosteric modulators divergently potentiate thalamocortical transmission and exert rapid antidepressant-like effects. Neuron. 2020 Jan 8;105(1)46-59. pii: S0896-6273(19)30847-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.09.044. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Joffe ME, Santiago CI, Engers JL, Lindsley CW, Conn PJ. Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 3 gates acute stress-induced dysregulation of amygdala-cortical function. Molecular Psychiatry. 2019 Jun; 24(6):916-927. doi:10.1038/s41380-017-0015-z. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Joffe ME and Grueter BA. Cocaine experience enhances thalamo-accumbens N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor function. Biological Psychiatry. 2016 Nov 1;80(9):671-681.