Dr. Halpain’s research concerns the molecular basis for neural development. Her laboratory uses advanced light microscopy and quantitative cellular imaging methods to investigate neurite outgrowth and synapse formation. The lab also develops automated, high-content screening assays of neuronal morphology for use in drug discovery and identification of novel signaling pathways. Proteomics analyses are used to investigate key players in neuritogenesis. A particular focus is the role that cytoskeletal proteins, especially microtubules and actin filaments, play in establishing and maintaining neuronal networks. The laboraotory’s work is fundamentally relevant to many brain disorders, ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to mood disorders and autism.
Shelley Halpain received her B.S. in Biological Sciences at The University of California Irvine, and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Rockefeller University. Her postdoctoral training was under Professor Paul Greengard, a 2001 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Halpain was on the faculty at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center 1992-1996, then at The Scripps Research Institute 1996-2007. She became Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at UCSD in 2007. Dr. Halpain served as Council Delegate for the AAAS Section on Neuroscience from 1998-2000, is a member of national and international scientific review panels, and is a frequent contributor of reviews and commentary for international science journals. Professor Halpain's research has been published in top scientific journals and has been featured in National Geographic magazine.