Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and the College
Elizabeth Heckscher uses the Drosophila embryonic and larval motor system to study the development and function of motor circuits. These studies produce a better understanding of how neural circuits allow animals to move, provide insights relevant to nervous system evolution, and are requisites for understanding principles for circuit assembly. The goal is to understand how developmental history impacts circuit assembly, which has important implications for evolution, robotics, and stem cell reprogramming that could be used to replace diseased and/or damaged neural tissue.
Her research has been published in Development, Cell Reports, Journal of Neuroscience, and Neuron. She was awarded an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral fellowship. Heckscher is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Developmental Biology, and the Society for Neuroscience. She also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Scientific Reports and Developmental Cell.
Heckscher earned an ScB in biology from Brown University, where she was elected into its Sports Hall of Fame for her accomplishments in the sport of fencing. She completed her PhD in genetics at the University of California, San Francisco. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon.