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Faculty and Staff Profiles

Mark Emerson

Assistant Professor


Division of Science




Marshak Science Building MR 730 (Office) MR 522 (Lab)

p: (212) 650-8417 (Office)


w: View my website >>

  • Profile

    Mark Emerson is a developmental neurobiologist interested in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal specification, with an emphasis on cone photoreceptors of the vertebrate retina.  We use electroporation technology, imaging, biochemistry, and RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis to explore the direct connections between cis-regulatory elements, protein complexes, and ultimately cellular identity.
  • Education

    Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 2012
    Ph.D. in Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 2005
    B.A. in Neuroscience, Oberlin College, 1997
  • Courses Taught

    Biology 37900  - Developmental Neurobiology
  • Research Interests

    Our ultimate goal is to understand how a limited genome can produce the complex brain.  Regulated gene transcription is a critical component in this process, as it produces differential gene expression that contributes to the establishment of neuronal diversity and connectivity.  We use cis-regulatory analysis and electroporation technology to study this process in the developing nervous system with an emphasis on vertebrate cone photoreceptors.
  • Publications

    Emerson MM, Surzenko N, Goetz JJ, Trimarchi J, Cepko CL (2013). Otx2 and Onecut1 Promote the Fates of Cone Photoreceptors and Horizontal Cells and Repress Rod Photoreceptors. Developmental Cell 26: 59-72.

    Emerson MM, Long JB, Van Vactor, D. (2013) Drosophila semaphorin2b is Required for the Axon Guidance of a Subset of Embryonic Neurons. Developmental Dynamics. 242(7): 861-73.

    Emerson, MM, Cepko CL. (2011) Identification of a Retina-specific Otx2 Enhancer Element Active in Immature Developing Photoreceptors. Developmental Biology. 360 (1): 241-255.

    Billings, NA, Emerson MM, Cepko CL. (2010) Analysis of Thyroid Response Element Activity During Retinal Development. PLoS One. 5 (10): e13739.

    *Samson M, *Emerson MM, Cepko CL. (2009) Robust marking of photoreceptor cells and pinealocytes with several reporters under control of the Crx gene. Developmental Dynamics. 238(12):3218-25.

    Gates J, Mahaffey JP, Rogers SL, Emerson M, Rogers EM, Sottile SL, Van Vactor D, Gertler FB, Peifer M. (2007) Enabled plays key roles in embryonic epithelial morphogenesis in Drosophila. Development, 134(11):2027-39.

    Ashmore LJ, Sathyanarayanan S, Silvestre DW, Emerson MM, Schotland P, Sehgal A. (2003) Novel insights into the regulation of the timeless protein. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(21), 7810-19.

    *Wills Z, *Emerson M, Rusch J, Bikoff J, Baum B, Perrimon N, Van Vactor D. (2002) A Drosophila homolog of cyclase-associated proteins collaborates with the Abl tyrosine kinase to control midline axon pathfinding. Neuron, 36(4), 611-22.

    *Yang Z, *Emerson M, Su HS, Sehgal A. (1998) Response of the timeless protein to light correlates with behavioral entrainment and suggests a nonvisual pathway for circadian photoreception.  Neuron 21(1), 215-23.

    Ousley A, Zafarullah K, Chen Y, Emerson M, Hickman L, Sehgal A. (1998)  Conserved regions of the timeless (tim) clock gene in Drosophila analyzed through phylogenetic and functional studies.  Genetics 148(2), 815-25.

    *Equal Contributors

  • Additional Information

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