Grant Kusick



PhD in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology | The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD – Laboratory of Shigeki Watanabe

B.S.  in Biology with a minor in Spanish | State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY  – Summa cum Laude

Research Summary

Grant works on two topics in membrane trafficking of regulated secretory vesicles:

1) Mechanisms of synaptic vesicle docking during neuronal activity, with a focus on calcium sensors and implications for plasticity and asynchronous release.

2) Biogenesis and trafficking of dense-core vesicles in neurons and other professional secretory cells, with a particular focus on how molecularly distinct populations of vesicles gain their identity.

His broad interests are in cellular dynamics: membrane trafficking, the cytoskeleton, and overall, how things move in cells.

In addition to his research, Grant is passionate about undergraduate education, and uses evidence-based, active, and inclusive approaches to teach future scientists and healthcare practitioners.


Outside of work, Grant loves classical and heavy metal music, gaming, volleyball (playing), basketball (watching), and film.


Wu, Z.* and Kusick, G.F.* et al. Synaptotagmin 7 docks synaptic vesicles for Doc2α-triggered asynchronous neurotransmitter release. eLife (2023).

Kusick, G. F. et al. Synaptic vesicles transiently dock to refill release sites. Nat. Neurosci. 23, 1329-1338 (2020).

Kusick, G.F., Ogunmowo, T.H., and Watanabe, S. Transient docking of synaptic vesicles: implications and mechanisms. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 74 (2022).

Ogunmowo, T. *, Jing, H.*, *, Raychaudhuri, S.*, Kusick., G.F.* et al. Membrane compression by synaptic vesicle exocytosis triggers ultrafast endocytosis. Nat Commun. 14 (2023).

-Vevea, J.D., Kusick, G.F., Chen, E., Courtney, K.C., Watanabe, S., and Chapman, E.R. Synaptotagmin 7 is enriched at the plasma membrane through γ-secretase processing to promote vesicle docking and control synaptic plasticity. eLife (2021).

-Li, S. et al. Asynchronous release sites align with NMDA receptors in mouse hippocampal synapses. Nat. Comm. (2021).

-Watanabe, S., Davis, M. W., Kusick, G. F., Iwasa, J. & Jorgensen, E. M. SynapsEM: computer-assisted synapse morphometry. Front. Synaptic Neurosci. (2020).

-Ogunmowo, T., Raychaudhuri, S., Kusick, G.F., Li, S. & Watanabe, S. Correlative Super Resolution and Electron Microscopy to Detect Molecules in Their Native Cellular Context. in Neuromethods 155, 1–13 (Humana Press Inc., 2020).

*Equal contribution