Stanford University, Stanford, CA B.S. 1992-1995 Biology/Chemistry
Stanford University, Stanford, CA M.S. 1995-1996 Biology
Columbia University, New York, NY Ph.D. 1996-2001 Neurobiology and Behavior
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Post-Doc 2000-2005 Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Positions and Employment
2005- Present Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester Medical Center
2000-2005 Post doctoral fellow, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1995: Graduated with honors in biological sciences, Stanford University
1997: Columbia University award for summer study at Woods Hole – Methods in Computational Neuroscience, the Marine Biological Laboratory.
1999: Newberry award for the most promising student in the field of vertebrate zoology, Biological sciences department, Columbia University
2003: Young Scientist Award – Polish Neuroscience Society
2001-2004: MIT Whiteman Science Fellowship awarded to an outstanding postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science
2003-2008: Burroughs-Wellcome Fund career development award in the Biomedical Sciences.
2006: Cajal Club Cortical Explorer Award.
2007: Alfred P. Sloan Fellow
2008: National Academy of Sciences' Kavli Fellow
Patient Care Bio
My specific interests lie in understanding how visual activity shapes the structure and function of connections between neurons in the visual cortex. During the critical period, closure of one eye leads to a shift in the responses of neurons towards the open eye. My labs current work focuses on the structural basis for this rapid ocular dominance plasticity using in vivo two-photon microscopy to elucidate single cell structure deep in the intact brain. Dendritic spines are the postsynaptic structures of most excitatory synapses in the CNS. Interestingly, spine structure is highly dynamic making the precise morphology of the spine a possible candidate for the coding of synaptic strength.
These experiments have shown increased spine motility as well as increased spine and axon terminal turnover following even one day of monocular deprivation. These synaptic changes occur in the absence of changes in gross dendritic or axonal structure, suggesting that fine scale changes in synaptic connectivity underlie rapid ocular dominance plasticity without an overall remodeling of the pre and postsynaptic scaffold.