Marla B. Feller, Ph. D. is the Paul Licht Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences and former Head of the Division of Neurobiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. She is also a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Feller obtained her Ph. D. in Physics from UC Berkeley, where she focused on studying the properties of liquid crystal interfaces using nonlinear optical techniques. Her journey into neurobiology research began during her time as a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories and were further pursued during a second postdoctoral position at UC Berkeley, where she was a Miller Institute for Basic Research Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Feller is a fellow the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Member American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences. Her notable awards include the Brian Boycott Prize in Retinal Neurobiology and Visual Processing. In addition she received the Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award from the Graduate Assembly of UC Berkeley and a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California Berkeley.

Research Interests

Dr. Feller's research program is primarily focused on investigating the mechanisms that underlie spontaneous activity in the developing nervous system and the significance of this activity in the formation of neuronal circuits. Various examples exist in the developing vertebrate nervous system, such as the retina, spinal cord, hippocampus, and neocortex, where immature neural circuits generate distinct activity patterns compared to the mature circuitry found in adults. It has been hypothesized that these transitional circuits serve as crucial test patterns that facilitate the normal development of the adult nervous system. It has been proposed that these transitional circuits provide the test patterns necessary for normal development of the adult nervous system. Dr. Feller's specific research endeavors concentrate on studying this phenomenon in the retina, utilizing quantitative imaging and physiology techniques. This research aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles that govern the normal development of neural circuits. This knowledge is crucial for unraveling the origins of certain neurological birth defects and exploring potential treatments for restoring vision in degenerating retinas.

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Primary Section

Section 28: Systems Neuroscience

Secondary Section

Section 24: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience