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Elizabeth Heckscher

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionUniversity of Chicago
DepartmentMolecular Genetics and Cell Biology
AddressChicago IL 60637
Phone+1 (773) 834-1376
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    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    My lab studies the assembly, function, and evolution of circuits. Specifically, we focus on sensorimotor circuits, such as those in the spinal cord. These circuits process a variety of stimuli such as heat, light touch, pain, and self-movement. These circuits generate patterned muscle contractions underly animal movement.

    Movement control- My lab is interested in understanding how neural circuits implement the motor programs that allow animals to move. Our goal is to understand the functional architecture of a sensorimotor system at the cellular level.

    Circuit assembly- We are interested in understanding how circuits self-assemble starting from a small number of stem cells. This should generate developmental insight relevant to stem cell reprogramming that could be used to replace diseased/damaged neural tissue.

    Evolution of circuits- We are interested in how sensorimotor circuits change over evolutionary time scales to allow animals to control different body forms and behaviors.

    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Brown University, Providence, RIBS06/2008Biology
    University of California, San Francisco, CAPhD04/2007Cell Biology
    University of Oregon, Eugene, ORPostdoc07/2015Neuronal Circuits
    Collapse awards and honors
    2012 - 2015Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association
    2000 - 2005Predoctoral Fellowship, Howard Hughes Medical Insitutue
    1998Sigma Xi Membership, Brown University Chapter of Sigma Xi
    1996Academic All-Ivy Selection (fencing), Ivy-League

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse research activities and funding
    R01NS105748     (HECKSCHER, ELIZABETH S)Sep 1, 2018 - Jul 31, 2023
    Development of neuronal circuits for innate behavior
    Role: Principal Investigator

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    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Wang YW, Wreden CC, Levy M, Meng JL, Marshall ZD, MacLean J, Heckscher E. Sequential addition of neuronal stem cell temporal cohorts generates a feed-forward circuit in the Drosophila larval nerve cord. Elife. 2022 06 20; 11. PMID: 35723253; PMCID: PMC9333992.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    2. Marshall ZD, Heckscher ES. The Role of Even-Skipped in Drosophila Larval Somatosensory Circuit Assembly. eNeuro. 2022 Jan-Feb; 9(1). PMID: 35031555; PMCID: PMC8856706.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    3. Chi W, Liu W, Fu W, Xia S, Heckscher ES, Zhuang X. RNA-binding protein syncrip regulates starvation-induced hyperactivity in adult Drosophila. PLoS Genet. 2021 02; 17(2):e1009396. PMID: 33617535; PMCID: PMC7932510.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    4. Meng JL, Heckscher ES. Development of motor circuits: From neuronal stem cells and neuronal diversity to motor circuit assembly. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2021; 142:409-442. PMID: 33706923.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    5. Meng JL, Wang Y, Carrillo RA, Heckscher ES. Temporal transcription factors determine circuit membership by permanently altering motor neuron-to-muscle synaptic partnerships. Elife. 2020 05 11; 9. PMID: 32391795; PMCID: PMC7242025.
      Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    6. Meng JL, Marshall ZD, Lobb-Rabe M, Heckscher ES. How prolonged expression of Hunchback, a temporal transcription factor, re-wires locomotor circuits. Elife. 2019 09 10; 8. PMID: 31502540; PMCID: PMC6754208.
      Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. He L, Gulyanon S, Mihovilovic Skanata M, Karagyozov D, Heckscher ES, Tsechpenakis G, Gershow M, Tracey WD, Krieg M. Direction Selectivity in Drosophila Proprioceptors Requires the Mechanosensory Channel Tmc. Curr Biol. 2019 03 18; 29(6):945-956.e3. PMID: 30853433; PMCID: PMC6884367.
      Citations: 38     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. Wreden CC, Meng JL, Feng W, Chi W, Marshall ZD, Heckscher ES. Temporal Cohorts of Lineage-Related Neurons Perform Analogous Functions in Distinct Sensorimotor Circuits. Curr Biol. 2017 May 22; 27(10):1521-1528.e4. PMID: 28502656.
      Citations: 14     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    9. Sun X, Heckscher ES. Using Linear Agarose Channels to Study Drosophila Larval Crawling Behavior. J Vis Exp. 2016 11 26; (117). PMID: 27929468; PMCID: PMC5226325.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    10. Heckscher ES, Zarin AA, Faumont S, Clark MQ, Manning L, Fushiki A, Schneider-Mizell CM, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Zwart MF, Landgraf M, Cardona A, Lockery SR, Doe CQ. Even-Skipped(+) Interneurons Are Core Components of a Sensorimotor Circuit that Maintains Left-Right Symmetric Muscle Contraction Amplitude. Neuron. 2015 Oct 21; 88(2):314-29. PMID: 26439528; PMCID: PMC4619170.
      Citations: 59     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    11. Heckscher ES, Long F, Layden MJ, Chuang CH, Manning L, Richart J, Pearson JC, Crews ST, Peng H, Myers E, Doe CQ. Atlas-builder software and the eNeuro atlas: resources for developmental biology and neuroscience. Development. 2014 Jun; 141(12):2524-32. PMID: 24917506; PMCID: PMC4050700.
      Citations: 19     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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