Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and the College
Robert Carrillo’s research seeks to understand and elucidate the molecules and developmental programs that regulate neuronal development and wiring. In a prior collaboration, he investigated the biology of the novel interactions between two subfamilies of the immunoglobulin superfamily in Drosophila melanogaster: the defective proboscis extension response proteins (Dprs), encompassing 21 members, and the nine-member Dpr-interacting proteins (DIPs). Previously, he and his colleagues found that an interacting Dpr-DIP pair functions at various developmental stages, including motor neuron development at the larval neuromuscular junction, and wiring and cell survival in the pupal optic lobe. In addition to identifying the mechanisms responsible for neural wiring, he is interested in studying the functional activity of circuits that result from changes in connectivity. This work has direct relevance to our understanding of neurological diseases, including autism spectrum disorders, which are characterized by marked alterations in connectivity.
Carrillo’s research findings have been published in Cell, Neuron, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), and Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience.
He holds a BS in cybernetics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a PhD in pharmacology from the Yale School of Medicine. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Carrillo is also a member of the University’s Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior.