Faculty & Staff bios

Steven Standley, PhD,

Assistant Professor

Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences

E-Mail: sstandley@westernu.edu

Phone: 202 436 0689

Join year: 2012


B.S., University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.

Ph.D., Neurobiology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles California.

Professional Experience

1992-1997 Graduate Student, University of Southern California. Thesis Advisor: Michel Baudry.

1997-1998 Postdoctoral Fellow, USC. 1998-2003 IRTA Fellow, NIDCD, NIH. P.I.: Robert Wenthold.

2003-2004 Science Fellow, NIDCD, NIH. P.I.: Robert Wenthold. 2004-2008 Patent Examiner, Neurobiology Unit (1649). Mentors: Lorraine Spector, Elizabeth Kemmerer, Robert Hayes.

2008-2011 Licensing & Patenting Manager, General Medicine branch, NIH Office of Technology Transfer. 2011-2012 Senior Scientist, Western University of Health Sciences.

2012- Assistant Professor, Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA

Academic Interests

My academic research interests are in understanding the molecular basis of cognition, and how it is impaired in disorders such as schizophrenia.

Teaching Experience

Bisc 102  Humans and Their Environment. Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California.

Bisc 421 Neuroscience.  Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California.


GCBS 5060  Biotechnology.  Lecturer.

GCBS 5041  The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Life.  Lecturer, Cell Biology.


The brain performs two distinctly different global sorts of operations:  One is learning, and the other is planning and imagining. Both can be reasonably seen as important for survival. To become a successful researcher, one needs to practice both processes optimally, and because these processes make use of some of the same critical neural substrates, such as the hippocampus, they can occlude one-another. Ultimately, success depends on both elements. Traditional academic environments have emphasized learning often at the expense of planning and imagining; perhaps everyone knows someone with great SAT or GRE scores--a really bright and persuasive person--who failed logic 101, or core biology classes. And, perhaps everyone knows a straight-A student that scores low on general tests like the SAT or GRE. Thus, when students arrive at a professional college, they can be strong in one or the other, or sometimes both.  These two sorts of challenges are different in a critical way:  Getting good grades demands that you learn and remember specifically what you are being taught, and a general test tends to be more difficult to prepare for and therefore tends to test how much one has been actively thinking and reasoning independently. 

The students who manage both processes well, are easily taught. However, I believe I can add value by using different approaches with the majority of students by identifying their core strengths and cross-training them to the counterpart. That is, students presenting with high attention to detail in tasks may get the best value out of a problem-based approach wherein they are asked to meet endpoints independently, which emphasizes resourceful behavior. On the other hand, students presenting with strong imaginative skills often appear to benefit from rigorous communication and different endpoints, such as explaining the importance of a finely polished presentation or manuscript.

Research Interest

My immediate interests are in understanding the protein-protein interactions that mediate glutamate and dopamine receptor trafficking, and modulation thereof, primarily because protein trafficking is the key process by which the neuron organizes itself over both short and long time periods.

I am also interested in developing new genome-wide ways to identify functional protein-protein interactions, and in high-throughput screening to identify molecules or biologics that interfere with those interactions. More simply put, I want to identify treatments that work by modulating the trafficking properties of proteins.


1997    Recipient, Postdoctoral Fellowship for training in Endocrinology and Neurobiology of Aging, NIA A600093.

1998    Awarded but declined Japan Society for Promotion of Science Grant (April 1, 1998-2000), studying with S. Nakanishi, Kyoto University.

1998    Intramural Research Training Award, NIH (May 1, 1998). 

1999    The Fellows Award for Research Excellence (2000).


Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).


Hong, X., Avetisyan, M., Ronilo, M., and Standley, S. (2014) SAP97 blocks the RXR ER retention signal of NMDA receptor subunit GluN1-3 through its SH3 domain. Biochimica et biophysica acta 1853, 489-499.

Standley, S., Petralia, R.S., Gravell, M., Hamilton, R., Wang, Y.X., Schubert, M., and Wenthold, R.J. (2012). Trafficking of the NMDAR2B Receptor Subunit Distal Cytoplasmic Tail from Endoplasmic Reticulum to the Synapse. PloS one7, e39585.

Roche, K.W., Standley, S., McCallum, J., Wenthold, R.J.  PSD-95 regulates NMDA receptor internalization. Nature Neuroscience, 4, 794-802, 2001.

Standley, S., Roche, K.W., McCallum, J, Sans, N., and Wenthold, R.J.  PDZ-domain suppression of an ER retention signal in NR1-splice variants.  Neuron, 28, 887-889, 2000.


I have extensive experience in both managing the acquisition of U.S. and worldwide patent rights and licensing those rights. This practice involved analysis of patentability, market size, identification of market equivalents, valuation of inventions, and all other arguments relevant to moving forward or withdrawing from patent prosecution.  I also have extensive experience in the formulation and negotiation of a wide variety of contracts for the disclosure or use of inventions from the NIH intellectual property portfolio.