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Photo of Regina Faulkner Ph.D.
Regina Faulkner, Ph.D.

Research Associate (2010 - 2018)

Staff Scientist (2018-present)


University of California, Davis
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, 2009
B.S. with Honors in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior with a minor in Psychology, 2003


NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA, 2011-2013

UC Davis Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship in Neuroscience, 2006-07

UC Davis & Humanities Graduate Research Award in Neuroscience, 2006-07

Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholar, 2005-06


Current Research:

One goal of my research is to understand the molecular mechanisms of synapse formation. Specifically, I am investigating the role of visual experience on synapse formation within the Xenopus optic tectum in vivo. A second goal of my research is to begin to generate a more detailed map of connectivity within the Xenopus visual system. Specifically, I am using cell-type specific labeling, immuno-electron microscopy, and serial block-face scanning electron microscopy to elucidate how different cell types within the visual circuit connect with one another.

Previous Research

The overall goal of my graduate study was to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of multiple aspects of axonal development including axon guidance, synapse formation, and axon pruning. I investigated the roles of plexins and associated molecules on axon guidance and pruning in the hippocampus and corticospinal tract. In addition, I investigated the cellular mechanism of axon pruning in the developing central nervous system. Finally, I studied the synaptic integration of newborn dentate granule cells in the adult mouse hippocampus and the role of Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 in that process.


Gambrill, A.C., Faulkner, R.L., McKeown, C.R., and Cline, H.T. (2018). Enhanced visual experience rehabilitates the injured brain in Xenopus tadpoles in an NMDAR-dependent manner. J Neurophysiol. 

Gambrill, A. C., Faulkner, R. L., & Cline, H. T. (2018). Direct intertectal inputs are an integral component of the bilateral sensorimotor circuit for behavior in Xenopus tadpoles. Journal of neurophysiology, 119(5), 1947-1961.

Gambrill AC, Faulkner R, Cline HT. (2016) Experience-dependent plasticity of excitatory and inhibitory intertectal inputs in Xenopus tadpoles. J Neurophysiol. Aug 31:jn.00611.2016. doi: 10.1152/jn.00611.2016

Faulkner RL, Wishard TJ, Thompson CK, Liu H-H, Cline HT. (2015) FMRP regulates neurogenesis in vivo in Xenopus laevis tadpoles. Eneuro Jan-Feb;2(1):e0055

Cheng T-W*, Liu X-B*, Faulkner RL, Stephan AH, Barres BA, Huberman AD, Cheng H-J (2010) Emergence of lamina-specific retinal ganglion cell connectivity by axon arbor retraction and synapse elimination. J Neurosci 30: 16376-82. *equal contributions

Faulkner RL*, Jang M-H*, Liu X-B*, Duan X, Sailor KA, Kim JY, Ge S, Jones EG, Ming G-L, Song H, Cheng H-J (2008) Development of hippocampal mossy fiber synaptic outputs by new neurons in the adult brain. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 105: 14157-14162. *equal contributions

Faulkner RL*, Low LK*, Liu X-B*, Coble J, Jones EG, Cheng H-J (2008) Dorsal turning of corticospinal axons at the pyramidal decussation requires neuropilin-independent plexin signaling. Neural Development. 3: 21. *equal contributions

Low LK*, Liu X-B*, Faulkner RL*, Coble J, Cheng H-J (2008) Plexin signaling selectively regulates the stereotyped pruning of corticospinal axons from visual cortex. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 105: 8136-8141. *equal contributions

Duan X, Chang JH, Ge S, Faulkner RL, Kim JY, Liu X-B, Yang C-H, Ma DK, Liu CY, Cheng H-J, Ming G-L, Lu B, Song H (2007) Disrupted-In-Schizophrenia 1 regulates integration of newly generated neurons in the adult brain. Cell 130: 1146-1158.

Faulkner RL, Low LK, Cheng H-J (2007) Axon pruning in the developing vertebrate hippocampus. Developmental Neuroscience 29: 6-13.