Syed, Mubarak H.

Photo: Mubarak Hussain Syed

Assistant Professor

"Fly Guy"

215 Castetter Hall

Ph.D. (Biology), University of Muenster, 2011

Google Scholar

Research Area(s)

Cell Biology,  Developmental Biology,  Genetics,  Neuroscience

Research Interests:

The human brain, the most complex organ, executes sensory perception, motor control, cognitive function, and consciousness. The neural circuits controlling these intricate tasks are assembled from diverse neurons and glia, generated from a small pool of neural stem cells. Defects in the number or type of neurons cause severe neurological or psychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and microcephaly. Despite this, we still have little understanding of how neural (neurons and glia) diversity is generated in any organism. We are interested in understanding the genetics, cellular, and molecular mechanisms regulating neural diversity and function. Currently, my research group is investigating mechanisms that regulate the formation and function of two essential circuits; sleep-wake and olfactory navigation neural circuits. Given the conserved nature of neural stem cells studied, genes identified, and the behaviors under investigation, our findings will potentially advance our understanding of neural cell type formation and function across species. Our research has profound significance for elucidating the fundamental molecular mechanisms of neural/glial fate specification in the developing brain and has potential therapeutic implications in improving our ability to harness stem cell reprograming for disease treatment.


I am passionate about neuroscience and understanding neural diversity. My lifelong goal is to train a diverse force of neuroscientists through science, teaching, mentoring, and outreach. I teach genetics, neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, and neurogenetics lab (NeuroCURE). Through JKScientists and Pueblo Brain Science, I aim to reach out and mentor students from Kashmir and local Pueblos. You can follow my global activities @neuroseq

Selected Publications:

Aisha Hamid, Hannah Gattuso, Aysu Nora Caglar, Midhula Pillai, Theresa Steele, Alexa Gonzalez, Katherine Nagel, and Mubarak Hussain Syed. The conserved RNA-binding protein Imp is required for the specification and function of olfactory navigation circuitry in Drosophila (2024). 

Andrew M.M. Matheson, Aaron J. Lanz, Angela M. Licata, Timothy A. Currier, Mubarak H. Syed, Katherine I. Nagel. A neural circuit for wind-guided olfactory navigation (2021).

Leela Chakravarti Dilley, Milan Szuperak, Naihua N Gong, Charlette E Williams, Ricardo Linares Saldana, David S Garbe, Mubarak Hussain Syed, Rajan Jain, Matthew S Kayser Identification of a molecular basis for the juvenile sleep state (2020).

Syed MH, Brandon Mark, and Chris Q. Doe Steroid hormone induction of temporal gene expression transitions in Drosophila brain neuroblasts (2017).

Syed MH, Brandon Mark, and Chris Q. Doe. Playing well with others: extrinsic cues regulate neural progenitor temporal identity to generate neuronal diversity (2017). 10.1016/j.tig.2017.08.005


NARSAD Young Investigator Award


Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience