Martha Bhattacharya

Associate Professor, Neuroscience

Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP

Faculty Director, Vertically Integrated Projects

Member of the Graduate Faculty

My work investigates the molecular mechanisms of axon and nerve terminal degeneration, a molecular program triggered by toxic, metabolic, or traumatic stress to distal compartments of neurons. I use both Drosophila melanogaster and mouse tools to ask questions about genes involved in axon degeneration and to place these genes in the context of pathways required for axon and synapse maintenance in the face of insults. I have discovered many axon degeneration mediators, including MORN4 and TMEM184b as well as others, and am currently following up on their roles within neurons during normal neuronal functioning and in the context of neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS and Alzheimer’s Disease. Within these scientific pursuits, I have mentored a total of 9 undergraduate students, 3 first-year PhD students, and three technicians. To my lab I bring extensive experience with imaging, including calcium imaging, fixed tissue confocal imaging, electron microscopy, and live imaging of axon transport. In addition, I have developed or utilized many imaging analysis tools to investigate sensory neuron behavior, axon injury and degeneration. I have 10 years of experience with genetics and epistasis analysis in Drosophila melanogaster, having completed a screen in this system as well as designed and created mutant flies using Cas9/CRISPR-based gene editing.  I also have 18 years of experience with mice, including in vivo nerve injuries, toluidine blue nerve staining and analysis, behavior, and primary cell culture methods. I also bring 20 years of experience with molecular biology and molecular genetics techniques, including qPCR, RNAseq, plasmid design and transgenic organism creation in both fly and mouse systems. My lab combines all of these techniques to answer questions about axon and nerve terminal degeneration pathways in ways that give clear results while enabling in-house translation of mechanisms from flies to mammals.

Offering Research Opportunities?


Prerequisite Courses

Team-based research through an course-based format (Vertically Integrated Project). Applications due mid-semester for enrollment in the subsequent semester. Please go to Dr. Bhattacharya's website or for most current information.

Majors Considered


Types of Opportunities

Description of Opportunity

No description given

Start Date

January 2021

Primary Department

Affiliated Departments

Research Location