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Marissa Mueller

Postgraduate Student

Neurodevelopment, cortical layers 5 and 6b, neuroanatomy, electronics, bioengineering

Research Interests

Marissa's work investigates 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.


Marissa is from Petrolia, Canada. She earned her BSc in Engineering from the University of Iowa where she researched accelerometer algorithms and physical activity measurement. She completed the MSc in Neuroscience at Oxford with projects involving sleep physiology. This extended to a DPhil in Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics. Outside academia, Marissa enjoys athletics, nature, travelling, board games, and music.


This is an image of a mouse brain full-coronal section, which was obtained using spinning disk confocal microscopy. Red cells label remnants of the neurodevelopmental subplate–a critical structure which affects other cells through adulthood (e.g., cyan parvalbumin interneurons and magenta vicia villosa agglutinin perineural nets). Studying genetic manipulations in these subplate remnant cells implicates the structure as a substrate for neurodevelopmental origins of brain disease.