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Department of Neuroscience

Damon Page, PhD

Scripps Research Affiliate
Department of Neuroscience
Florida Campus
Laboratory Website
(561) 228-2899

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

My laboratory is focused on understanding how the components that make up the cellular architecture of the brain (neuronal and glial cell types) are generated and assemble into functional circuits that underlie behavior and cognition. The mechanisms by which these processes occur are largely unknown, and yet, disruptions can have enormous societal and personal consequences in the form of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Such disorders provide a window into the basic genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in building the brain. This insight may be used in turn to benefit those affected by mental illness, pointing to molecular targets for improved diagnostics and therapeutics.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one such disorder. ASD is characterized by a range of phenotypes, including deficits in social behavior, as well as an altered trajectory of brain growth in some cases. Clues to mechanisms come from reports that PTEN-PI3K-mTOR, monoamine, neuropeptide and synaptic signaling pathways have been implicated in ASD pathogenesis. Understanding how these risk factors influence brain and behavior will give us basic insight into how the brain develops and how this process is altered in ASD. 

Along these lines, my laboratory makes use of transgenic and knockout mice to understand the biology of how risk factors for autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders influence the development of cell types and circuits underlying behavior and cognition, and to test efficacy of potential therapeutics. The development of structural and functional connectivity in the cerebral cortex, the seat of our highest cognitive capabilities and a structure that is highly relevant for autism, is a major area of focus for our work.

We use a variety of techniques, including mouse genetics, histology, molecular cell biology, cell culture, genomics, informatics, pharmacology, imaging and behavioral phenotyping.



Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge, MRC Laboratory, 2002
B.S., Biology, Eastern Oregon University, 1999

Professional Experience

2016-present Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Scripps Research

2011-2016 Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Scripps Research

2010-2011 Senior Analyst, Allen Institute for Brain Science

2004-2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2002-2004 Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Selected References

Clipperton-Allen AE, Swick H, Botero V, Aceti M, Ellegood J, Lerch JP, Page DT. Pten haploinsufficiency causes desynchronized growth of brain areas involved in sensory processing. iScience. 2022 Jan 19;25(2):103796. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.103796. PMID: 35198865; PMCID: PMC8844819.

Joseph NF, Zucca A, Wingfield JL, Espadas I, Page D, Puthanveettil SV. Molecular motor KIF3B in the prelimbic cortex constrains the consolidation of contextual fear memory. Mol Brain. 2021 Nov 8;14(1):162. doi: 10.1186/s13041-021-00873-9. PMID: 34749771.

Clipperton-Allen AE, Zhang A, Cohen OS, Page DT. Environmental Enrichment Rescues Social Behavioral Deficits and Synaptic Abnormalities in Pten Haploinsufficient Mice. Genes (Basel). 2021 Aug 30;12(9):1366. doi: 10.3390/genes12091366. PMID: 34573348; PMCID: PMC8468545.

Swarnkar S, Avchalumov Y, Espadas I, Grinman E, Liu XA, Raveendra BL, Zucca A, Mediouni S, Sadhu A, Valente S, Page DT, Miller K and Puthanveettil SV. Molecular motor protein KIF5C mediates structural plasticity and long-term memory by constraining local translation. Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 13;36(2):109369. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109369. PMID: 34260917; PMCID: PMC8319835.

Levy JA, LaFlamme CW, Tsaprailis G, Crynen G, Page DT. (2021) Dyrk1a Mutations Cause Undergrowth of Cortical Pyramidal Neurons via Dysregulated Growth Factor Signaling. Biol Psychiatry. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33840455.

Huang WC, Zucca A, Levy J, Page DT. Social Behavior Is Modulated by Valence-Encoding mPFC-Amygdala Sub-circuitry. Cell Rep. 2020 Jul 14;32(2):107899. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107899. PMID: 32668253; PMCID: PMC7410267.

Xu ZX, Kim GH, Tan JW, Riso AE, Sun Y, Xu EY, Liao GY, Xu H, Lee SH, Do NY, Lee CH, Clipperton-Allen AE, Kwon S, Lee KJ, Xu B, Page DT. Elevated protein synthesis in microglia causes autism-like synaptic and behavioral aberrations. Nat Commun. 2020 Apr 14;11(1):1797. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15530-3. PMID: 32286273; PMCID: PMC7156673.

Clipperton-Allen AE, Page DT. Connecting Genotype with Behavioral Phenotype in Mouse Models of Autism Associated with PTENMutations. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2020 Sep 1;10(9):a037010. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a037010. PMID: 31871231; PMCID: PMC7461765.

Clipperton-Allen AE, Cohen OS, Aceti M, Zucca A, Levy J, Ellegood J, Lerch JP, Page DT. Pten haploinsufficiency disrupts scaling across brain areas during development in mice. Translational psychiatry. 2019 December 5;9(1):329. PubMed PMID: 31804455; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6895202; DOI: 10.1038/s41398-019-0656-6.

Huang WC, Chen Y, Page DT. Genetic Suppression of mTOR Rescues Synaptic and Social Behavioral Abnormalities in a Mouse Model of Pten Haploinsufficiency. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. 2019 October;12(10):1463-1471. PubMed PMID: 31441226; DOI: 10.1002/aur.2186.

Spicer TP, Hubbs C, Vaissiere T, Collia D, Rojas C, Kilinc M, Vick K, Madoux F, Baillargeon P, Shumate J, Martemyanov KA, Page DT, Puthanveettil S, Hodder P, Davis R, Miller CA, Scampavia L, Rumbaugh G. (2017) Improved Scalability of Neuron-Based Phenotypic Screening Assays for Therapeutic Discovery in Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Mol Neuropsychiatry 3,141-150.

Shahani N, Huang WC, Varnum M, Page DT, Subramaniam S. (2017) Forebrain depletion of Rheb GTPase elicits spatial memory deficits in mice. Neurobiology of Aging 50, 134-143.

Huang W-C, Chen Y, & Page DT. (2016) Hyperconnectivity of medial prefrontal cortex-amygdala circuitry in a mouse model of macrocephaly/autism syndrome. Nature Communications 7, 13421.

Huang W-C, Abraham R, Shim B-S, Choe H & Page DT. (2016) Zika virus infection during the period of maximal brain growth causes microcephaly and corticospinal neuron apoptosis in wild type mice. Scientific Reports 6, 34793.

Clipperton-Allen AE, Chen Y and Page DT. (2016) Autism-relevant behaviors are minimally impacted by conditional deletion of Pten in oxytocinergic neurons. Autism Research online DOI:10.1002/aur.1641 

Swarnkar S, Chen Y, Pryor WM, Shahani, N, Page DT, Subramaniam S. (2015) Ectopic expression of the striatal-enriched GTPase Rhes elicits cerebellar degeneration and an ataxia phenotype in Huntington's disease. Neurobiology of Disease 82, 66-77.

Sejourne J, Llaneza D, Kuti OJ and Page DT. (2015) Social Behavioral Deficits Coincide with the Onset of Seizure Susceptibility in Mice Lacking Serotonin Receptor 2c. PLOS One, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0136494. 

Chen Y, Huang WC, Sejourne J, Clipperton-Allen, AE and Page DT. (2015) Pten Mutations Alter Brain Growth Trajectory and Allocation of Cell Types through Elevated β-Catenin Signaling. Journal of Neuroscience 35, 10252-10267. 

Clipperton-Allen AE and Page D. (2015) Decreased aggression and increased repetitive behavior in Pten haploinsufficient mice. Genes, Brain and Behavior. 14, 145-157.  

Pryor W, Biagioli M, Shahani N, Swarnkar S, Huang WC, Page DT, MacDonald M and Subramaniam S (2014) Huntingtin promotes mTORC1 signaling in the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease. Science Signaling 7 (349): ra103.

Aceti M, Creson TK, Vaissiere T, Rojas C, Huang W-C, Wang Y-X, Petralia RS, Page DT, Miller CA, Rumbaugh G. (2014) Syngap1 Haploinsufficiency Damages a Postnatal Critical period of Pyramidal Cell Structural Maturation Linked to Cortical Circuit Assembly. Biological Psychiatry 77, 805-815. 

Thompson CL, NG L, Menon V, Martinez S, Lee C-K, Glattfelder K, Sunkin SM, Henry A, Lau C, Dang C, Garcia-Lopez R, Martinez-Ferre A, Pombero A, Rubenstein JLR, Wakeman WB, Hohmann J, Dee N, Sodt AJ, Young R, Smith K, Nguyen T-N, Kidney J, Kuan L, Jeromin A, Kaykas A, Miller J, Page D, Orta G, Bernard A, Riley Z, Smith S, Wohnoutka P, Hawrylycz MJ, Puelles L and Jones AR. (2014) A high-resolution spatiotemporal atlas of gene expression of the developing mouse brain. Neuron 83, 309-323.

Clippterton-Allen AE and Page DT (2014) Pten haploinsufficient mice show broad overgrowth but selective impairments in autism-relevant bahavioral tests. Human Molecular Genetics 23, 3490-3505.

Zeng H, Shen EH, Hohmann JG, Oh SW, Bernard A, Royall JJ, Glattfelder KJ, Sunkin SM, Morris JA, Guillozet-Bongaarts AL, Smith KA, Ebbert AJ, Swanson B, Kuan L, Page DT, Overly CC, Lein ES, Hawrylycz MJ, Hof PR, Hyde TM, Kleinmann JE, and Jones AR. (2012) Large-scale cellular-resolution gene profiling in human neocortex reveals species-specific molecular signatures. Cell 149, 483-496.

Page DT (2011) A candidate circuit approach to investigating autism. Anatomical Record (Hoboken) 294, 1671-1684. 

Hawrylycz M, Ng L, Page D, Morris J, Lau C, Faber S, Faber V, Sunkin S, Menon V, Lein E & Jones A (2011) Multi-scale correlation structure of gene expression in the brain. Neural Networks.

Page DT, Kuti OJ and Sur M (2009) Computerized assessment of social approach behavior in mouse. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 3, 1-7.

Horng S, Kreiman G, Ellsworth C, Page D, Blank M, Millen K and Sur M (2009) Differential Gene Expression in the Developing Lateral Geniculate Nucleus and Medial Geniculate Nucleus Reveals Novel Functional Roles for Zic4 and Foxp2 in Visual and Auditory Pathway Development. Journal of Neuroscience 29, 13672-13683.

Mao R, Page DT, Holtzman J, Merzlyak I, Kim C, Tecott LH, Janak PH, Rubenstein JLR, and Sur M (2009) Reduced conditioned fear response in mice that lack Dlx1 and show subtype-specific loss of interneurons. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 1, 224-236.

Page DT, Kuti O, Prestia C and Sur M (2009) Haploinsufficiency for Pten and Serotonin transporter cooperatively influences brain size and social behavior. PNAS 106, 1989-1994.

Page DT and Olofsson B (2008) Multiple roles for apoptosis facilitating condensation of the Drosophila ventral nerve cord. Genesis 46, 61-68.

Newton JR, Page DT and Sur M (2007) Developmental studies on rewiring the brain: What they tell us about brain evolution. In: Evolution of Nervous Systems, Ed. Kass JH, Academic Press, Oxford, vol 3, pp 103-112.

Olofsson B and Page DT (2005) Condensation of the Central Nervous System in Embryonic Drosophila is Inhibited by Blocking Hemocyte Migration or Neural Activity. Developmental Biology 279, 233-243.

Page DT (2004) A mode of arthropod brain evolution suggested by Drosophila commissure development. Evolution & Development 6, 25-31.

Page DT (2003) A function for Egf receptor signaling in expanding the developing brain in Drosophila. Current Biology 13, 474-482.

Page DT (2002) Inductive patterning of the embryonic brain in Drosophila. Development 129, 2121-2128.

Page DT (2000) labial acts to initiate neuronal fate specification, but not axon pathfinding, in the embryonic brain of Drosophila. Development Genes and Evolution 210, 559-563.