Mary E. Hatten is a developmental neurobiologist recognized for her work on cerebellar development. She is known particularly for her elucidation of the mechanisms underlying glial-guided neuronal migration during cortical histogenesis. Hatten was born in Richmond, Virginia and grew up in Newport News, Virginia. She received an A.B. in chemistry from Hollins College in 1971, a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University in 1975 and did postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. She joined the faculty of NYU School of Medicine in 1978, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1986 and the Rockefeller University in 1992, where she is the Frederick P. Rose Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology. Dr. Hatten is the recipient of the Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation, and the Cowan-Cajal award for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Mary E. Hatten uses the mouse cerebellar cortex as a model to study molecular mechanisms of CNS neurogenesis and neuronal migration. She pioneered live imaging methods that proved that CNS neurons migrate on glial fibers and revealed a specific, conserved mode of CNS neuronal migration along glial fibers in different cortical regions. Subsequently, she used bioassays to identify key molecular regulators of neuronal migration, including the neuron-glial adhesion ligand Astn1 and the polarity complex mPar6, which coordinates cytoskeletal dynamics during cerebellar granule neuron migration. Using mouse genetics and in vitro chimeras, she discovered that the cerebellar territory arises from rhombomere 1 and that the weaver (Girk2) gene acts non-autonomously in granule cells. Her lab generated the first cDNA libraries from an identified CNS neuron, the cerebellar granule neuron, which she used to identify more than 80 genes that function in cerebellar development. Her research has broad significance for human genetic studies on developmental brain disorders, such as autism, attention deficit disorder, and childhood epilepsy.

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Primary Section

Section 24: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Secondary Section

Section 28: Systems Neuroscience