Dr. Kurt Marsden received his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where he pursued a variety of subjects including music, history, psychology, and the natural sciences. After graduating, he entered the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he received his Ph.D in Neuroscience. His thesis work with Dr. Reed Carroll revealed novel molecular pathways underlying the plasticity of inhibitory synapses in the hippocampus and earned him the Julius Marmur Research Award. Dr. Marsden then did his postdoctoral research with Dr. Michael Granato at the University of Pennsylvania, studying the genetics of behavior in larval zebrafish.
Building off of this work, research in the Marsden lab is focused on understanding how genes and environmental factors guide the formation and function of neural circuits to drive behavior in zebrafish. Dr. Marsden is particularly interested in how information from the environment is translated by the brain into meaningful behavioral responses. His lab uses a variety of experimental approaches including high-throughput behavioral testing, 3D analysis of neural circuit morphology, simultaneous imaging of neuronal activity and behavior, and gene expression analysis. This work can help to reveal cellular and molecular pathways that underlie aspects of diseases such as autism and anxiety.