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Maya Shelly

Maya Shelly, PhD

Maya Shelly, PhD

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Phone: (631) 632-8684


Maya Shelly attended the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, and received a Ph.D. in 2004. She was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2004 to 2010. In 2010 she joined the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook. She has served as Ad Hoc reviewer for Journal of Developmental Neurobiology. She is currently a member of the Society for Neuroscience.


Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology
The mammalian cerebral cortex underlies major cognitive functions such as learning, memory, perception, abstract thinking, and more. Developmental aberrations affecting this part of the brain play a key role in severe disorders such as mental retardation and autism spectrum disorders. While much is known about the anatomical structure of the cerebral cortex, surprisingly little is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control its development and assembly during embryonic development. Advances in understanding the early events in brain development provide the foundation for understanding brain function and thus are crucial for development of therapeutic approaches for brain disease. The cerebral cortex is composed of billions of neurons divided into specific subpopulations. Early in embryonic development, the neuron establishes separate compartments of axon and dendrite and migrates to populate different regions of the developing cortex where it forms specific synaptic connections. The goal of my laboratory is to identify and characterize the key molecular and cellular signaling mechanisms underlying embryonic cortical development, using multidisciplinary approaches that combine embryonic genetic manipulation using in utero electroporation and delivery of retroviral vectors, mouse genetics, biochemistry, material engineering, time-lapse microscopy and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging, as well as electrophysiology methodologies. By studying the mechanisms of these basic events in embryonic brain development, in a complementary line of research we aim to gain insight into severe human neurodegenerative disorders.

  • Publications
  • Laboratory Personnel
    • Shelly, M., Cancedda, L., Kim, B.K., Popescu, A., Cheng, P.L., Gao, HF. and Poo, MM. (2011) Semaphorin3A Regulates Neuronal Polarization by Suppressing Axon Formation and Promoting Dendrite Growth. Neuron 71: 433-446.
    • Shelly, M., and Poo. MM. (2011) Role of LKB1 - SAD/MARK Pathway in Neuronal Polarity. Dev. Neurobiol. 71: 508-527.
    • Cheng, P.L., Lu, H., Shelly, M., Gao, H.F., Poo. MM. (2011) Phosphorylation of E3 Ligase Smurf1 Switches its Substrate Preference in Support of Axon Development. Neuron 69: 231-243.
    • Shelly, M., Kim, B.K., Heilshorn, S.C., Cancedda, L., Gao, H.F., and Poo, MM. (2010) Local and Long-Range Reciprocal Regulation of cAMP and cGMP in axon/dendrite formation. Science 327: 547-552.
    • Shelly, M., Cancedda, L., Heilshorn, S., Sumbre, G. and Poo, MM. (2007) LKB1/STRAD promotes axon initiation during neuronal polarization. Cell 129: 565-577.
    • Seong-Il Lee, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Sneha Rao, Graduate Student
  • Giulia Suarato, Graduate Student (Material Science and Engineering)