Professor Emeritus
Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology


Ph.D., Boston University, Anatomy, 1975

Phone: (949) 533-3824


University of California, Irvine
Mail Code: 1275
Irvine, CA 92697


Research Interests

Electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry, hippocampus, neocortex, GABAergic neurons, epilepsy, newborn neurons in adults, microglia


Academic Distinctions

Klingenstein Fellow in the Neurosciences (1983-1986)
Citation Classic Author, Institute for Scientific Information (1987)
Michael Prize in Epilepsy (1987)
Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award (1990)
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994)
Cajal Club (President 2000-2002; Secretary/Treasurer 2005-Present)

Current Editorial Boards:
Brain Structure & Function (2007-Present)
Hippocampus (2000 – Present)


Research Abstract

My laboratory has used immunocytochemical labeling methods to analyze changes in neural circuitry in several experimental models of epilepsy. Initially, we showed a selective loss of inhibitory, GABAergic neurons and synapses at sites of focal epilepsy in a primate model. Studies involving temporal lobe epilepsy models in rats showed that granule cells in the dentate gyrus form hilar basal dendrites after seizures. These dendrites provide additional postsynaptic targets for mossy fibers and thus enhance recurrent excitatory circuitry that may underlie the seizure activity. Adult neurogenesis of granule cells provided the basis for the outgrowth of hilar basal dendrites following seizures. Our studies also have focused on the role of radial glia for birthing granule cells and the role of microglia for targeting granule cells for cell death.

US patent application serial no. 08/787,784 for Brain Aging Assay (Patent Pending) Co-inventors: G. Lynch, E. Bednarski and C.M. Gall


Select Publications from over 150:

Ribak, C.E, Harris, A.B., Vaughn, J.E. and Roberts, E. Inhibitory, GABAergic nerve terminals decrease at sites of focal epilepsy. Science, 1979, 205:211-214.

Ribak, C.E., Bradburne, R.M. and Harris, A.B. A preferential loss of GABAergic, symmetric synapses in epileptic foci: a quantitative ultrastructural analysis of monkey neocortex. J. Neurosci. 1982,12:1725-1735.

Ribak, C.E. Axon terminals of GABAergic chandelier cells are lost at epileptic foci. Brain Res., 1985, 326:251-260.

Spigelman, I., Yan, X.X., Obenaus, A., Lee, E.Y., Wasterlain, C.G. and Ribak, C.E. Dentate granule cells form novel basal dendrites in a rat model of temporal lobe epilepsy. Neuroscience, 1998, 86:109-120.

Ribak, C.E., Tran, P.H., Spigelman, I., Okazaki, M.M. and Nadler, J.V. Status epilepticus-induced basal dendrites on rodent granule cells contribute to recurrent excitatory circuitry. J. Comp. Neurol., 2000, 428:240-253 .

Shapiro, L.A., Korn, M.J. and Ribak, C.E. Newly generated dentate granule cells from epileptic rats exhibit elongated hilar basal dendrites that align along GFAP-immunolabeled processes. Neuroscience, 2005,136:823-831.

Toni, N., Laplagne, D.A., Zhao, C., Lombardi, G., Ribak, C.E., Gage, F.H. and Schinder, A.F. Neurons born in the adult dentate gyrus form functional synapses with target cells. Nat. Neurosci. 2008, 11:901-907.

Ribak, C.E., Shapiro, L.A., Perez, Z.D. and Spigelman, I.  Microglia-associated granule cell death in the normal adult dentate gyrus.

Brain Struct. Funct.., 2009, 214:25-35.

Shapiro, L.A., Wang, L., Upadhyaya, P. and Ribak, C.E. Seizure-induced increased neurogenesis occurs in the dentate gyrus of aged Sprague-Dawley rats. Aging Dis., 2011, 2:286-293.


Professional Societies

Society for Neuroscience

Cajal Club