Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cellular and molecular neuroscientists seek to understand the development and function of the nervous system at the level of individual molecules and macromolecular complexes. This broad field encompasses researchers utilizing a variety of multidisciplinary approaches such as protein biochemistry, molecular cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, transgenesis, patch clamping, single and multiphoton microscopy, as well as other biophotonic-based methods to explore topics ranging from the structure and function of individual molecules such as ion channels to the molecular basis of behavior.  Some specific areas of focus include:

  • axon guidance and regeneration
  • cytoskeleton, growth cones, and microtubule motors
  • synaptic transmitter release
  • synaptic plasticity and excitability
  • ion channel gating
  • receptor-ligand interactions
  • cell signaling and cell death
  • transduction in the inner ear
  • epigenetic mechanisms in homeostasis and disease
  • biology of learning and memory
  • visual processing in the retina
  • signal transduction and behaviors of microglia
  • molecular drivers of neurodegenerative diseases and aging
  • stem cell behaviors during mitosis
  • the molecular basis of neuronal differentiation

Reid Alisch

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery


(608) 263-3793

Education: Ph.D. University of Michigan Lab Website: http://www.neurosurgery.wisc.edu/research/alisch Research Focus: The Role of Epigenetics in the Origins of Mental Illness Please click here for publications.

Anjon Audhya

Professor, Department of Biomolecular Chemistry


(608) 262-3761

Education: Ph.D. University of California- San Diego Lab Website: http://www.audhyalab.org/ Research Focus: Organelle dynamics and neuronal trafficking; Neuronal control of motor function Please click here for publications.

Vaishali P. Bakshi

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry


(608) 265-6062

Education: Ph.D. University of California, San Diego Research Focus: Neural Substrates and Stress Regulation of Psychiatric Illness Research Description: Research Questions: 1. What are neural substrates of schizophrenia-like deficits? 2. How does traumatic stress enact…

Matthew I. Banks

Professor, Department of Anesthesiology


(608) 261-1143

Education: Ph.D. University of Wisconsin- Madison Lab Website: http://www.anesthesia.wisc.edu/index.php?title=Banks_Laboratory Research Focus: Neocortical circuitry; neural basis for loss and recovery of consciousness and acute disorders of consciousness Please click here for publications.

Seth S. Blair

Professor, Department of Integrative Biology


(608) 262-1345

Education: Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley Research Focus: Neuronal Development and Pattern Formation in Drosophila Lab Website: http://zoology.wisc.edu/faculty/Bla/Bla.html Please click here for publications.

Corinna Burger

Associate Professor of Neurology


(608) 263-0301

Education: Ph.D. University of Colorado Lab Website: https://www.neurology.wisc.edu/burger-lab Research Focus: Molecular Biology of Learning and Memory Formation and Neurodegenerative Disorders Please click here for publications.

Michael Cahill

Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences


Education: Ph.D. Northwestern University Research Focus: Altered synaptic plasticity in the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders Research Description: Dendritic spines are the sites of most excitatory connections in the central nervous system. The central goal of…

Baron Chanda

Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 265-3936

Education: Ph.D. National Centre for Biological Sciences, India Lab Website: http://bclab.neuro.wisc.edu/ Research Focus: Structural Mechanisms underlying Voltage-dependent Gating of Ion Channels Please click here for publications.

Qiang Chang

Associate Professor, Department of Genetics


(608) 262-9416

Education: Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania Lab Website: http://genetics.wisc.edu/Chang.htm Research Focus: Epigenetic regulation of brain functions Please click here for publications.

Edwin R. Chapman

HHMI Investigator & Ricardo Miledi Professor of Neuroscience; Director, Quantitative Membrane Biophysics Program


(608) 263-1762

Education: Ph.D. University of Washington Lab Website: https://chapman.neuro.wisc.edu/ http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/chapman.html https://neuro.wisc.edu/staff/chapman-ed/ https://qmbp.wisc.edu/ Research Focus: Molecular Mechanisms of Ca2+-triggered Exocytosis Please click here for publications.

Chiara Cirelli

Professor, Department of Psychiatry


(608) 263-9236

Education: M.D. University of Pisa, Italy Ph.D. Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento S. Anna, Italy Lab Website: http://centerforsleepandconsciousness.med.wisc.edu/people/cirelli.html Research Focus: Function of Sleeping using Molecular and Genetic Approaches Please click here for…

LaTasha K. Crawford

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathobiological Sciences


(608) 265-2418

Education: V.M.D., Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania Lab Website: https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/lkcrawford/ Research Focus: Mechanisms of chronic pain and peripheral neuropathies; comparative sensory neurobiology NTP Research Strengths: Neurobiology of disease, Neuronal circuits, Molecular Neuroscience Please click here for…

Cynthia Czajkowski

Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 265-5863

Education: Ph.D. State University of New York at Brooklyn Lab Website: Czajkowski, Cynthia Research Focus: The structure and function of the GABAA receptor Please click here for publications.

Erik W. Dent

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 265-7884

Education: Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Focus: Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Neuronal Morphogenesis Research Description: We are interested in understanding how the central nervous system (CNS) develops and functions at the cellular level. Nervous system structure…

Robert Fettiplace

Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 262-9320

Education: Ph.D. University of Cambridge Research Focus: Transduction and Turning in Hair Cells of the Inner Ear Research Description: My research is concerned with the hair cells of the inner ear, sensory receptors which convert…

Stephen C. Gammie

Professor, Department of Integrative Biology


(608) 262-3457

Education: Ph.D. University of Washington Lab Website: http://www.zoology.wisc.edu/faculty/Gam/Gam.html Research Focus: Neural and Genetic Analysis of Social Behaviors Please click here for publications.

Timothy M. Gomez

Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 263-4554

Education: Ph.D. University of Minnesota Lab Website: https://gomez.neuro.wisc.edu/ Research Focus: Molecular mechanisms that regulate growth cone motility and guidance Please click here for publications.

Mary C. Halloran

Professor, Departments of Integrative Biology & Neuroscience


(608) 263-7875

Education: Ph.D. University of Wisconsin- Madison Research Focus: Mechanisms of Axon Guidance in Zebrafish Research Description: Our research is aimed at understanding how axons are guided to their targets during development of the nervous system.…

Mrinalini Hoon

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences


(608) 263-8495

Education: Ph.D. Georg-August University Lab Website: Hoon Lab Research Focus: Synaptic connections of the developing and diseased retina. Please click here for publications.

Meyer B. Jackson

Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 262-9111

Education: Ph.D. Yale University Research Focus: Excitability, Synapses, and Circuits in the Nervous System Research Description: As essential units of connectivity in the nervous system, synapses wire neurons together into extraordinarily intricate circuits. Specialized synapses…

Jeffrey A. Johnson

Professor, Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy


(608) 262-2893

Education: Ph.D. University of Wisconsin- Madison Research Focus: Signal Transduction, Neurotoxicity, and Transcriptional Control of Neuroprotective Genes Research Description: The focus of my laboratory is Molecular Neuropharmacology/Neurotoxicology. Oxidative stress is believed to be a principal…

Mathew V. Jones

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 263-4394

Education: Ph.D. University of Chicago Research Focus: Mechanisms of Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission Research Description: Information in the brain is encoded in the electrical activity of neurons that communicate with each other using chemical synapses. These…

Jon Levine

Professor, Department of Neuroscience; Director, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center


(608) 263-3500

Education: Ph.D. University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign Research Focus: Neuroendocrine Regulation of Reproduction and Metabolism, Steroid Hormone Actions on Brain and Behavior Research Description: My laboratory studies the synthesis, secretion, and actions of gonadotropin-releasing hormone…

Colleen M McDowell

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences


(608) 265-3996

Education: Ph.D. University of Iowa Lab Website: Click Here Research Focus: Molecular mechanisms of glaucomatous trabecular meshwork, retina, and optic nerve damage. NTP Research Strengths: Cell and Molecular Neuroscience Neurobiology of Disease Please click here…

Darcie L. Moore

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 265-7836

Education: Ph.D. University of Miami Lab Website: dlmoorelab.com Research Focus: Neural stem cell aging Please click here for publications. Selected Publications: C.S. Morrow, D.L. Moore (2019). Stem cell aging? Blame it on the niche, Cell Stem Cell, Preview.…

Robert A. Pearce

Professor, Department of Anesthesiology


(608) 263-0208

Education: M.D., Ph.D. University of Virginia-Charlottesville Research Focus: Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission, Hippocampal Function, and Mechanisms of Anesthetic Action Research Description: Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding how anesthetics and other drugs that target…

Luigi Puglielli

Professor, Department of Medicine


(608) 280-7000

Education: M.D., Ph.D. Catholic University of Rome (Italy) Research Focus: The Molecular Mechanisms Responsible for the Cognitive Decline That Accompanies Aging, and the Molecular Pathogenesis of Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Description: Our research uses multidisciplinary approaches…

Gail A. Robertson

Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 265-3339

Education: Ph.D. Washington University, St. Louis Research Focus: Molecular Mechanisms of ion Channel Function and Disease Research Description: We are interested in the molecular basis of membrane excitability and its role in disease in the…

Avtar S. Roopra

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 262-6930

Education: Ph.D. University College London Lab Website: http://576192955820480192.weebly.com/index.html Research Focus: The lab aims to further the search for treatments and cures for epilepsy and cancer. Together these diseases afflict around 5% of the world’s population,…

Eric Shusta

Howard Curler Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


(608) 265-5103

Education: MS, PhD, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign Lab Website: https://ericshusta.che.wisc.edu/ Research Focus: Blood-Brain Barrier and Neurovascular Unit in Health, Disease and Therapy Please click here for a full list of publications.

Raunak Sinha

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 265-7836

Education: Ph.D. Max-Planck Inst. for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen University Lab Website: Raunak Sinha Research Focus: Visual processing in the retina Please click here for publications.

Masatoshi Suzuki

Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences


(608) 262-4264

Education: Ph.D. University of Tokyo D.V.M. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Japan Research Focus: Application of stem cell technology to disease modeling and therapeutic applications for neuromuscular diseases Research Description: Our long-term objective is…

Raghu Vemuganti

Professor, Department of Neurosurgery


(608) 263-4055

Education: Ph.D. University of Hyderabad Lab Description: http://www.neurosurgery.wisc.edu/research/vemuganti Research Focus: Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammation, Neuronal Death, and Neurogenesis after Stroke Please click here for publications.

Han Wang

Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology


(608) 262-3336

Education: Ph.D. University of Southern California Lab Website: https://www.hanwanglab.com/ Research Focus: Genetic and Neural Dissection of Sleep in C. elegans; Neurogenetics NTP Research Strengths: Behavioral, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience Systems and…

Jyoti J. Watters

Professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences


(608) 262-1016

Education: Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle Lab Website: http://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/jjwatters/ Research Focus: Signal Transduction and Gene Expression in Microglia Please click here for publications.

Cody J. Wenthur

Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy


(608) 265-6743

Education: Ph.D. Vanderbilt University Lab Website: https://pharmacy.wisc.edu/wenthur-lab Research Focus: Neuropharmacology of Natural and Synthetic Psychoactive Drugs NTP Research Strength area: Neurobiology of Disease Please click here for publications.

Cara J Westmark

Assistant Professor of Neurology


(608) 262-9730

Education: Ph.D. University of Notre Dame Lab Website: https://www.neurology.wisc.edu/westmark-lab Research Focus: Pharmaceutical and Dietary Treatments for Fragile X Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease My laboratory conducts basic and translational science research in the fields of fragile X syndrome…

Jill C. Wildonger

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry


(608) 890-4619

Education: Ph.D. Columbia University Research Focus: Role of the microtubule cytoskeleton in creating and maintaining neuronal polarity during development Research Description: Neurons are functionally and structurally polarized, with distinct cellular projections that are specialized to…

Jerry C.P. Yin

Professor, Departments of Genetics and Neurology


(608) 262-5014

Education: Ph.D. University of Wisconsin- Madison Research Focus: Molecular Genetics of Learning and Memory Formation Research Description: 1. In all animals, the longest lasting phase of memory, long-term memory, requires acute gene expression around the…

Xinyu Zhao

Jenni and Kyle Professor, Waisman Center, Department of Neuroscience


(608) 263-9906

Education: Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle Lab Website: http://zhaoneurosciencelab.wordpress.com/ Research Focus: Molecular Mechanisms that Regulate Neural Stem Cells and Neurodevelopment Please click here for publications.