Image Judith Eisen
Judith Eisen
Ph.D. Brandeis University
B.S. Utah State

Research Interests

The vertebrate nervous system is composed of a large number of neurons with diverse characteristics that ultimately form the circuits that underlie an animal’s behavioral repertoire. We are interested in several aspects of this process including: 1) How neuronal diversity is generated during development: how are the correct number of cells specified for specific neural and glia fates at particular times and in particular locations? 2) How neuronal circuits are wired up: how do neurons make appropriate connections with their synaptic partners. 3) What are the roles of host-associated microbiota and the immune system during neural development: how do microbes associated with the host interact with the immune system and with the nervous system to shape neuronal architecture, circuitry, and function? We use an approach that combines cellular, molecular, genetic, and microbiological manipulations with live imaging in zebrafish to investigate these questions with the goal of understanding the mechanisms underlying neural development.

Lab Members

Joseph Bruckner
Laura Desban
Judith Eisen
Emily Hunt
Research Staff
David James
Dana Zaidan
Undergraduate Student


Chris Q Doe
Generation of neuronal diversity and motor circuits in Drosophila
Adam Miller
Neural circuit wiring, synapse formation, and electrical synaptogenesis in zebrafish.
Cristopher Niell
Neural circuits for natural vision
John Postlethwait
Developmental genetics and the evolution of developmental mechanisms
Philip Washbourne
Developmental neuroscience with a focus on social behavioral circuits
Monte Westerfield
Molecular genetics of Usher syndrome and other diseases