Javier Cuevas I-4941-2012

Javier Cuevas, Ph.D.

Professor, College of Medicine Family Medicine

Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine

Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy

Assoc Professor, Cop Dept of Pharmaceutical Science

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine

Member, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Executive Committee, College of Medicine

Member, Neuroscience Signature Program Executive Committee, College of Medicine

Member, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office

Assistant Dean, & Professor, College of Medicine Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

Contact Info 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa FL 33612

Academic Email: jcuevas@health.usf.edu

Academic Phone:(813) 974-1545

View My C.V.


  • Postdoc, Biology, University of California, San Diego, 1998
  • Postdoc, Physiology, University of Queensland, 1996
  • PHD, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of Miami, 1995
  • Postdoc, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of Miami, 1995
  • BA, Biology/Psychology, Dartmouth, 1988

Interdisciplinary and Emerging Signature Programs

  • Cardiovascular
  • Neuroscience

Research Interests

  • Over the last 10 years my lab's emphasis has been on elucidating molecular mechanisms involved in the process of neuronal and glial injury following ischemia in the central nervous system. My research has sought to identify key components of the injury that can serve as biomarkers for disease progression and/or as target for therapeutics. We actively collaborate with experts from other disciplines in our efforts to develop new molecular entities for stroke therapeutics. Some of my current research interests are:
  • 1. Small molecule design and development targeting sigma receptors for stroke therapy at delayed time points.
  • 2. Exploring overlapping molecular mechanisms involved in expansion of the ischemic core in large-vessel stroke and infarct coalesces in lacunar infarcts.
  • 3. Characterizing a novel endogenous agonist of acid-sensing ion channels that may be involved in physiological and pathophysiological function of this channel in the brain.


  • American Heart Association (Member, 2006 - Present)
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (member, 1999 - Present)
  • Society for Neuroscience (Member, 1999 - Present)

Recent Publications

  • Katnik C, Garcia A, Behensky AA, Yasny IE, Shuster AM, Seredenin SB, Petrov AV, Cuevas J. Activation of σ1 and σ2 receptors by afobazole increases glial cell survival and prevents glial cell activation and nitrosative stress after ischemic stroke. Journal of neurochemistry. , 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27488244
  • Mari Y, Katnik C, & Cuevas J. σ-1 Receptor Inhibition of ASIC1a Channels is Dependent on a Pertussis Toxin-Sensitive G-Protein and an AKAP150/Calcineurin Complex. Neurochemical Research. 40(10) : 2055-67, 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24925261
  • Cuevas J. Molecular mechanisms of dysautonomia during heart failure. Focus on "Heart failure-induced changes of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and cell excitability in rat cardiac postganglionic neurons". American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology. 306(2) : C121-2, 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24108866
  • Katnik C, Garcia A, Behensky AA, Yasny IE, Shuster AM, Seredenin SB, Petrov AV, Seifu S, McAleer J, Willing A, & Cuevas J. Treatment with afobazole at delayed time points following ischemic stroke improves long-term functional and histological outcomes. Neurobiology of Disease. 62: 354-64, 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24141021
  • Katnik C & Cuevas J. Non-specific inhibition of ischemia- and acidosis-induced intracellular calcium elevations and membrane currents by α-phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone, butylated hydroxytoluene and trolox. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 15(3) : 3596-611, 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24583849
  • Behensky AA, Yasny IE, Shuster AM, Seredenin SB, Petrov AV, & Cuevas J. Stimulation of sigma receptors with afobazole blocks activation of microglia and reduces toxicity caused by amyloid-β25-35. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 347(2) : 458-67, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006337
  • Panguluri SK, Tur J, Chapalamadugu KC, Katnik C, Cuevas J, & Tipparaju SM. MicroRNA-301a mediated regulation of Kv4.2 in diabetes: identification of key modulators. PLoS One. 8(4) : e60545, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23573265
  • Behensky AA, Yasny IE, Shuster AM, Seredenin SB, Petrov AV, & Cuevas J. Afobazole activation of σ-1 receptors modulates neuronal responses to amyloid-β25-35. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 347(2) : 468-77, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006338
  • Behensky AA, Cortes-Salva M, Seminerio MJ, Matsumoto RR, Antilla JC, & Cuevas J. In vitro evaluation of guanidine analogs as sigma receptor ligands for potential anti-stroke therapeutics. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 344(1) : 155-66, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23065135
  • Achyuta AK, Conway AJ, Crouse RB, Bannister EC, Lee RN, Katnik CP, Behensky AA, Cuevas J, & Sundaram SS. A modular approach to create a neurovascular unit-on-a-chip. Lab on a Chip. 13(4) : 542-53, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108480
  • Cuevas J, Behensky A, Deng W, & Katnik C. Afobazole modulates neuronal response to ischemia and acidosis via activation of sigma-1 receptors. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 339(1) : 152-60, 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715562
  • Cuevas J, Rodriguez A, Behensky A, & Katnik C. Afobazole modulates microglial function via activation of both sigma-1 and sigma-2 receptors. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 339(1) : 161-72, 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715561
  • Yanamandra N, Buzzeo RW, Gabriel M, Hazlehurst LA, Mari Y, Beaupre DM, & Cuevas J. Tipifarnib-Induced Apoptosis in Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma Cells Depends on Ca2+ Influx through Plasma Membrane Ca2+ Channels. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 337(3) : 636-43, 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21378206
  • Cortes-Salva M, Nguyen BL, Cuevas J, Pennypacker KR, & Antilla JC. Copper-catalyzed guanidinylation of aryl iodides: the formation of N,N'-disubstituted guanidines. Organic Letters. 12(6) : 1316-9, 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170103
  • Mari Y, Katnik C, & Cuevas J. ASIC1a channels are activated by endogenous protons during ischemia and contribute to synergistic potentiation of intracellular Ca(2+) overload during ischemia and acidosis. Cell Calcium. 48(1) : 70-82, 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20678793
  • Hall AA, Herrera Y, Ajmo CT, Cuevas J, Pennypacker KR. Sigma receptors suppress multiple aspects of microglial activation. Glia. 57(7) : 744-54, 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19031439
  • Ajmo CT, Collier LA, Leonardo CC, Hall AA, Green SM, Womble TA, Cuevas J, Willing AE, Pennypacker KR. Blockade of adrenoreceptors inhibits the splenic response to stroke. Experimental neurology. 218(1) : 47-55, 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19371742
  • Zhang H, Katnik C, Cuevas J. Sigma receptor activation inhibits voltage-gated sodium channels in rat intracardiac ganglion neurons. International journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. 2(1) : 1-11, 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21383893
  • Pollock VV, Pastoor T, Katnik C, Cuevas J, Wecker L. Cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase A and protein kinase C phosphorylate alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor subunits at distinct stages of receptor formation and maturation. Neuroscience. 158(4) : 1311-25, 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19101612
  • Herrera Y, Katnik C, Rodriguez JD, Hall AA, Willing A, Pennypacker KR, Cuevas J. sigma-1 receptor modulation of acid-sensing ion channel a (ASIC1a) and ASIC1a-induced Ca2+ influx in rat cortical neurons. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 327(2) : 491-502, 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18723775
  • Song S, Song S, Zhang H, Cuevas J, Sanchez-Ramos J. Comparison of neuron-like cells derived from bone marrow stem cells to those differentiated from adult brain neural stem cells. Stem cells and development. 16(5) : 747-56, 2007. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17999596
  • McCord AM, Cuevas J, Anderson BE. Bartonella-induced endothelial cell proliferation is mediated by release of calcium from intracellular stores. DNA and cell biology. 26(9) : 657-63, 2007. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17678436
  • Ajmo CT, Vernon DO, Collier L, Pennypacker KR, Cuevas J. Sigma receptor activation reduces infarct size at 24 hours after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats. Current neurovascular research. 3(2) : 89-98, 2006. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16719792
  • Henning RJ, Cuevas J. Cocaine activates calcium/calmodulin kinase II and causes cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology. 48(1) : 802-13, 2006. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16891908
  • Katnik C, Guerrero WR, Pennypacker KR, Herrera Y, Cuevas J. Sigma-1 receptor activation prevents intracellular calcium dysregulation in cortical neurons during in vitro ischemia. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 319(3) : 1355-65, 2006. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988055
  • Zhang H, Cuevas J. sigma Receptor activation blocks potassium channels and depresses neuroexcitability in rat intracardiac neurons. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 313(3) : 1387-96, 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15764734
  • Sawmiller DR, Henning RJ, Cuevas J, Dehaven WI, Vesely DL. Coronary vascular effects of vasoactive intestinal peptide in the isolated perfused rat heart. Neuropeptides. (5) , 2004. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15464194
  • DeHaven WI, Cuevas J. VPAC receptor modulation of neuroexcitability in intracardiac neurons: dependence on intracellular calcium mobilization and synergistic enhancement by PAC1 receptor activation. The Journal of biological chemistry. (39) , 2004. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15280371
  • Severance EG, Zhang H, Cruz Y, Pakhlevaniants S, Hadley SH, Amin J, Wecker L, Reed C, Cuevas J. The alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit exists in two isoforms that contribute to functional ligand-gated ion channels. Molecular pharmacology. (3) , 2004. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15322233
  • Herber DL, Severance EG, Cuevas J, Morgan D, Gordon MN. Biochemical and histochemical evidence of nonspecific binding of alpha7nAChR antibodies to mouse brain tissue. The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society. (10) , 2004. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15385583
  • Severance EG, Cuevas J. Distribution and synaptic localization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing a novel alpha7 subunit isoform in embryonic rat cortical neurons. Neuroscience letters. (1-2) , 2004. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531097
  • DeHaven WI, Cuevas J. Heterogeneity of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide receptors in rat intrinsic cardiac neurons. Neuroscience letters. (1) , 2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12123856
  • Zhang H, Cuevas J. Sigma receptors inhibit high-voltage-activated calcium channels in rat sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons. Journal of neurophysiology. (6) , 2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12037190
  • Cuevas J, Adams DJ. Substance P preferentially inhibits large conductance nicotinic ACh receptor channels in rat intracardiac ganglion neurons. Journal of neurophysiology. 84(4) : 1961-70, 2000. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11024089
  • Liu DM, Cuevas J, Adams DJ. VIP and PACAP potentiation of nicotinic ACh-evoked currents in rat parasympathetic neurons is mediated by G-protein activation. The European journal of neuroscience. (7) , 2000. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10947803
  • Cuevas J, Roth AL, Berg DK. Two distinct classes of functional 7-containing nicotinic receptor on rat superior cervical ganglion neurons. The Journal of physiology. 525 Pt 3: 735-46, 2000. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10856125
  • Loughnan M, Bond T, Atkins A, Cuevas J, Adams DJ, Broxton NM, Livett BG, Down JG, Jones A, Alewood PF, Lewis RJ. alpha-conotoxin EpI, a novel sulfated peptide from Conus episcopatus that selectively targets neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The Journal of biological chemistry. (25) , 1998. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9624161
  • Cuevas J, Berg DK. Mammalian nicotinic receptors with alpha7 subunits that slowly desensitize and rapidly recover from alpha-bungarotoxin blockade. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 18(24) : 10335-44, 1998. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9852571
  • Cuevas J, Harper AA, Trequattrini C, Adams DJ. Passive and active membrane properties of isolated rat intracardiac neurons: regulation by H- and M-currents. Journal of neurophysiology. 78(4) : 1890-902, 1997. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9325358
  • Cuevas J, Adams DJ. M4 muscarinic receptor activation modulates calcium channel currents in rat intracardiac neurons. Journal of neurophysiology. 78(4) : 1903-12, 1997. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9325359
  • Poth K, Nutter TJ, Cuevas J, Parker MJ, Adams DJ, Luetje CW. Heterogeneity of nicotinic receptor class and subunit mRNA expression among individual parasympathetic neurons from rat intracardiac ganglia. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 17(2) : 586-96, 1997. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8987781
  • Cuevas J, Adams DJ. Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide modulation of nicotinic ACh receptor channels in rat intracardiac neurones. The Journal of physiology. 493 ( Pt 2): 503-15, 1996. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8782112
  • Cuevas J, Adams DJ. Local anaesthetic blockade of neuronal nicotinic ACh receptor-channels in rat parasympathetic ganglion cells. British journal of pharmacology. 111(3) : 663-72, 1994. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7517326
  • Cuevas J, Bassett AL, Cameron JS, Furukawa T, Myerburg RJ, Kimura S. Effect of H+ on ATP-regulated K+ channels in feline ventricular myocytes. The American journal of physiology. 261(3 Pt 2) : H755-61, 1991. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1887923
  • Kimura S, Bassett AL, Furukawa T, Cuevas J, Myerburg RJ. Electrophysiological properties and responses to simulated ischemia in cat ventricular myocytes of endocardial and epicardial origin. Circulation research. 66(2) : 469-77, 1990. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2297813
  • Cameron JS, Gaide MS, Goad PL, Altman CB, Cuevas J, Myerburg RJ, Bassett AL. Enhanced adverse electrophysiologic effects of histamine after myocardial infarction in guinea pigs. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 232(2) : 480-4, 1985. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3155796

Positions Held

  • Associate Professor (Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of South Florida 2005 - 2006)
  • Assistant Professor (Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of South Florida 1999 - 2005)


  • Biotechnology Excellence Award (University of South Florida College of Medicine - 2006)
  • Outstanding Mentor (University of South Florida McNair Scholars Program - 2004)