Alex Straiker

Alex Straiker

Associate Scientist, Psychological and Brain Sciences

  • (206) 850-2400
  • Multidisciplinary Science Building II 110
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Ph.D., UC San Diego, 2001
  • B.S., University of Washington, 1997
  • B.A., University of Washington, 1988


The central goal of my research has been to characterize cannabinoid signaling in the brain. Exogenous cannabinoids are important drugs of abuse and have a role in human history dating back thousands of years. Only recently have we begun to learn how cannabinoids actually work in the body. Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are nearly ubiquitous in the CNS, by some counts the most numerous G protein-coupled receptors in the brain. They are involved in many important brain functions including (un-)learning and memory, epilepsy, motor control, vision, and probably much more. Much has been learned recently about the mechanisms by which cannabinoids act at the cellular level, but despite the detail, the picture is far from complete. By all accounts, CB1 receptors are part of a complex web of transporters, enzymes for production and breakdown of endocannabinoids, and signaling molecules, each subject to modulation. The precise workings of endocannabinoid signaling, and even the identity of the endocannabinoid at a given synapse, generally remain an open question. My primary approach is to use electrophysiology in combination with molecular biology, anatomy, endocannabinoid measurement, and microarray analysis to investigate specific mechanisms of cannabinoid signaling and their roles in health and disease.