Leonid L. Moroz, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor

Department of Neuroscience
The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
9505 Ocean Shore Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32080-8610
Office Phone:  (904) 461-4020
Email:  moroz@whitney.ufl.edu
Moroz Laboratory Website

Education: 

1985-1989 Ph.D.
(Biology)
Institute of Developmental Biology
Moscow
1993-1994 Research Trainee
(Physiology)
University of Leeds
Leeds, UK
1994-1997 Postdoctoral Fellow
(Molecular Physiology)
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
1997-1998 Postdoctoral Fellow
(Analytical Chemistry/Neurochemistry)
Beckman Institute
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois

Key Words: Neuroscience, Comparative & Evolutionary Neurobiology, Genomics and Epigenomics, Learning and Memory

ResearchSummary:

Our laboratory works to characterize the genomic bases of neuronal identity and plasticity as well as basic mechanisms underlying parallel evolution of neural circuits, neuronal signaling mechanisms, and complex brains. The major questions are:
(1) why are individual neurons so different from each other,
(2) how do they maintain such precise connections between each other,
(3) how does this fixed wiring result in such enormous neuronal plasticity and
(4) how does this contribute to learning and memory mechanisms?

By taking advantage of relatively simpler nervous systems of animal models, we combine neuroscience, genomics, bioinformatics, evolutionary theory, zoology, molecular biology, microanalytical chemistry and nanoscience to understand how neurons operate, learn and remember; and how this complexity evolved. Most of my current work is performed on molluscs, ctenophores and other basal metazoans, known as critical reference species for comparative and fundamental biomedicine.

My research program is supported by several grants including NIH (R01), 4 NSF, NASA and private foundation grants. New interdisciplinary grants were awarded this academic year providing a solid platform for large-scale operation at the intersection of genomics, neuroscience and regeneration biology.

The Moroz’ laboratory is actively promoting collaboration among UF scientists engaged in biodiversity, (neuro)genomics, memory research & evolution including the development and implementation of cutting-edge technologies (e.g. single-cell RNA-seq, epigenomics, RNA editing & RNA modifications) to understand the mechanisms that control of neurogenesis, neural circuit organization, regeneration & neuroplasticity. We also collaborate with more than one hundred of scientists worldwide to decipher the genealogy of neurons and use this knowledge to repair, design and construct novel neural circuits; enhance memory and regeneration capabilities.

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