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Marissa Mueller

Postgraduate Student

Neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment, cortical layer 6b, bioimaging, bioengineering


Marissa is from Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Iowa where she became involved in research investigating accelerometer algorithms. She completed the MSc in Neuroscience through Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology where she engaged in independent research projects involving sleep physiology in the Miesenböck and Molnár Labs. She is now continuing her work in the Molnár Lab through the DPhil in Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics. Outside academia, Marissa enjoys athletics, nature, travelling, gardening, board/card games, music, and spending time with friends.

Research Interests

Marissa is interested in understanding the role of the cortical subplate - a critical neurodevelopmental structure - as a substrate for the developmental origins of neurologic and psychiatric disease. She studies genetic knockdown models of the analogous murine cell population (cortical layer 6b) which result in conditionally increased (PTEN-silenced) and decreased (Snap25-silenced) subplate remnants through adulthood. In collaboration with the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (where Prof Molnár is an Einstein Visiting Fellow (2020-2024)), her project dissects how chronic perturbations influence brain physiology and pathology (e.g., epilepsy, narcolepsy, and autism). Her work investigates how the densities of subpopulations of cortical layer 5 and 6b cells differ across brain areas and genetic constructs. This broadly involves immunohistochemistry, microscopy, automated cell quantification, atlas regionalisation, and 3D brain reconstruction. These efforts seek to characterise unknown distributions and morphometrics of select cell populations, understand the effects of layer 5/6b manipulations, guide behavioural studies, and inform the development earlier disease interventions.