Erik Dent

Position title: Professor, Department of Neuroscience


Phone: (608) 262-4672

Erik Dent headshot




Ph.D. in Neuroscience, University of WisconsinMadison, Madison, WI, USA
Postdoctoral in Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
Postdoctoral in Cell Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Research Description:

We are interested in understanding how the central nervous system (CNS) develops and functions at the cellular level. Our main focus is understanding how microtubules, actin filaments and associated proteins interact in space and time during important morphological events in neuronal development and adulthood. Our working hypothesis is that many of the same cytoskeletal dynamics that are key for neuritogenesis and axon guidance are recapitulated at later times in development, such as during dendritic spine formation/plasticity.

We have two major areas of focus:

  1. Microtubule dynamics in neuronal dendrites. We discovered that microtubules in dendrites remain dynamic throughout the life of CNS neurons and specifically target small protrusions on dendrites termed spines. Notably, microtubule invasion of spines is regulated by neuronal activity and may be important for spine maintenance and plasticity.
  2. Determine the function of F-BAR proteins in neuronal development. F-BAR proteins are a subfamily of membrane bending proteins that interact with the plasma membrane and actin filaments. We showed that the CIP4 family of F-BAR proteins is critical for early process formation in the developing nervous system.

Research Key Words:

Neurodevelopment, Mature Neuron Plasticity, Cytoskeleton, Axon Outgrowth, Dendric Spine

Diversity Statement:

As a PI and mentor, I am committed to diversity, equity and inclusion through education, reflection, and action. In all my interactions I strive to create an environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Link to Lab Website

Link to Publications