Julie Coffield

Associate Professor, Toxicology & Neuroscience
Associate Dean, The UGA Graduate School
  • DVM (1989) University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • PhD (1991) University of Wisconsin–Madison

In the Lab

The current focus of Dr. Coffield’s research program involves mechanistic studies of the different actions of Botulinum neurotoxin on motor nerve terminals. These include the now established actions of these toxins on SNARE proteins, as well as the novel actions of the toxin on neurite outgrowth. The lab utilizes a variety of tissue and cell preparations, as well as several methodologies in these studies.

Using primary cultures of motor neurons from embryonic mice, Dr. Coffield’s lab determined that this agent stimulated both the outgrowth of new neurites as well as neurite branching.

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are extremely potent neuromuscular poisons that act through soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein cleavage to inhibit neurotransmitter release. The ability of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) to eliminate localized transmitter release at extremely low doses is well characterized. In the current study, we investigated the less understood characteristic of BoNT/A to induce nerve outgrowth, sometimes referred to as sprouting. This phenomenon is generally considered a secondary response to the paralytic actions of BoNT/A, and other potential factors that may initiate this sprouting have not been investigated…. Read More

Research Interest

  • Toxicology
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Cellular mechanisms of Botulinum neurotoxins


  • ​Publications by Dr. Coffield may be found at PubMed.