Leonid L. Moroz, Ph.D.
The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
9505 Ocean Shore Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32080-8610
|Institute of Developmental Biology
|University of Leeds
|University of Illinois
University of Illinois
Key Words: Neuroscience, Comparative & Evolutionary Neurobiology, Genomics and Epigenomics, Learning and Memory
Research Interests & Overview:
Moroz laboratory works to characterize basic mechanisms underlying the design of nervous systems and parallel evolution of neural circuits, neuronal signaling mechanisms and brains. The major questions are:
(1) why are individual neurons so different from each other (functions vs genealogy),
(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 work is performed on vertebrates and non-traditional invertebrate (primarily marine species) as critical reference species for comparative and fundamental biomedicine. My research program is supported by both several federal grants (NIH, NSF, NASA) and private foundation grants.
Our 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 epigenomics, RNA editing & modifications) to understand the mechanisms that control of neurogenesis, neural circuit formation, regeneration & neuroplasticity. We also collaborate with more than 160 scientists worldwide and perform oceanic expeditions including those with direct sequencing aboard, which we called Ship-Seq. Our goal is to decipher the genealogy of neurons and use this knowledge to repair, design and construct novel neural circuits; enhance memory and regeneration capabilities.