Honors & Awards

  • University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Oregon (07/01/17-06/30/18)
  • University of Oregon Developmental Biology Training Grant, National Institute of Health (07/01/13–06/30/16)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oregon (2018)
  • Major in Biology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2009)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Utah (2006)

Stanford Advisors

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Precise levels of nectin-3 are required for proper synapse formation in postnatal visual cortex. Neural development Tomorsky, J., Parker, P. R., Doe, C. Q., Niell, C. M. 2020; 15 (1): 13


    BACKGROUND: Developing cortical neurons express a tightly choreographed sequence of cytoskeletal and transmembrane proteins to form and strengthen specific synaptic connections during circuit formation. Nectin-3 is a cell-adhesion molecule with previously described roles in synapse formation and maintenance. This protein and its binding partner, nectin-1, are selectively expressed in upper-layer neurons of mouse visual cortex, but their role in the development of cortical circuits is unknown.METHODS: Here we block nectin-3 expression (via shRNA) or overexpress nectin-3 in developing layer 2/3 visual cortical neurons using in utero electroporation. We then assay dendritic spine densities at three developmental time points: eye opening (postnatal day (P)14), one week following eye opening after a period of heightened synaptogenesis (P21), and at the close of the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity (P35).RESULTS: Knockdown of nectin-3 beginning at E15.5 or~P19 increased dendritic spine densities at P21 or P35, respectively. Conversely, overexpressing full length nectin-3 at E15.5 decreased dendritic spine densities when all ages were considered together. The effects of nectin-3 knockdown and overexpression on dendritic spine densities were most significant on proximal secondary apical dendrites. Interestingly, an even greater decrease in dendritic spine densities, particularly on basal dendrites at P21, was observed when we overexpressed nectin-3 lacking its afadin binding domain.CONCLUSION: These data collectively suggest that the proper levels and functioning of nectin-3 facilitate normal synapse formation after eye opening on apical and basal dendrites in layer 2/3 of visual cortex.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13064-020-00150-w

    View details for PubMedID 33160402

  • TU-Tagging: A Method for Identifying Layer-Enriched Neuronal Genes in Developing Mouse Visual Cortex ENEURO Tomorsky, J., DeBlander, L., Kentros, C. G., Doe, C. Q., Niell, C. M. 2017; 4 (5)


    Thiouracil (TU)-tagging is an intersectional method for covalently labeling newly transcribed RNAs within specific cell types. Cell type specificity is generated through targeted transgenic expression of the enzyme uracil phosphoribosyl transferase (UPRT); temporal specificity is generated through a pulse of the modified uracil analog 4TU. This technique has been applied in mouse using a Cre-dependent UPRT transgene, CA>GFPstop>HA-UPRT, to profile RNAs in endothelial cells, but it remained untested whether 4TU can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) or whether this transgene can be used to purify neuronal RNAs. Here, we crossed the CA>GFPstop>HA-UPRT transgenic mouse to a Sepw1-cre line to express UPRT in layer 2/3 of visual cortex or to an Nr5a1-cre line to express UPRT in layer 4 of visual cortex. We purified thiol-tagged mRNA from both genotypes at postnatal day (P)12, as well as from wild-type (WT) mice not expressing UPRT (background control). We found that a comparison of Sepw1-purified RNA to WT or Nr5a1-purified RNA allowed us to identify genes enriched in layer 2/3 of visual cortex. Here, we show that Cre-dependent UPRT expression can be used to purify cell type-specific mRNA from the intact mouse brain and provide the first evidence that 4TU can cross the BBB to label RNA in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1523/ENEURO.0181-17.2017

    View details for Web of Science ID 000419519800015

    View details for PubMedID 29085897

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5659240