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Ellie Heckscher, Ph.D.




Understanding rhythmic behavior at the developmental and genetic levels has important implications for neurobiology, medicine, evolution, and robotics.  We study rhythmic behavior-larval crawling-in the genetically and developmentally tractable organism, Drosophila Melanogaster.



Drosophila larvae crawling and muscle movement videos:


1) Newly Hatched Larvae Crawling

2) Larvae Crawling in Channel

3) Forward Crawling Segment and Gut Movements

4) Reverse Crawling Segment and Gut Movements

5) Forward Crawling Muscle Contractions

6) Reverse Crawling Muscle Contractions

7) Embryo Moves Before Hatching

Teaching Experience


Animal Development, Biology 318, Fall 2005

Understanding Cancer, Biology 125, Fall 2005

Genetics, Biology 317, Spring 2006

This is Your Life, Biology 127, Spring 2006

Course Evaluations

Student Project Titles


Heckscher ES, Long F, Layden MJ, Chuang C-H, Manning L, Richart J, Pearson JC, Crews ST, Peng H, Myers E, Doe CQ.  Atlas-builder software and the eNeuro atlas: resources for developmental biology and neuroscience.  Development. 2014 June; 141(12):2524-2532


Manning L, Heckscher ES, Purice MD, Roberts J, Bennett AL, Kroll JR, Pollard JL, Strader ME, Lupton JR, Dyukareva AV, Doan PN, Bauer DM, Wilbur AN, Tanner S, Kelly JJ, Lai S-L, Tran KD, Kohwi M, Laverty TR, Pearson JC, Crews ST, Rubin GM, Doe CQ. A Resource for Manipulating Gene Expression and Analyzing cis-Regulatory Modules in the Drosophila CNS. Cell Reports 2012 October 21; 2(4):1002-13  PMCID: PMC3523218


Heckscher ES, Lockery SR, Doe CQ. Characterization of Drosophila larval crawling at the level of organism, segment, and somatic body wall musculature. Journal of Neuroscience  2012 September 5; 32(36:12461-71

PMCID: PMC3711835


Faumont, S., Rondeau, G., Thiele, T.R., Lawton. K., McCormick, K.E., Sottile, M., Griesbeck, O., Heckscher, E.S., Roberts, W.M., Doe, C.Q., Lockery, S.R. An Image-Free Opto-Mechanical System for Creating Virtual Environments and Imaging Neuronal Activity in Freely Moving Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS one 2011 V6(9) e24666 PMCID: PMC3182168


Heckscher ES, Fetter RD, Marek KW, Albin SD, Davis GW. NF-κB, IκB, and IRAK Control Glutamate Receptor Density at the Drosophila NMJ. Neuron 2007 September 20;55(6): 859-73 PMCID: PMC2701504


Meno C, Gritsman K, Ohishi S, Ohfuji Y, Heckscher E, Mochida K, Shimono A, Kondoh H, Talbot WS, Robertson EJ, Schier AF, Hamada H. Mouse Lefty2 and zebrafish antivin are feedback inhibitors of nodal signaling during vertebrate gastrulation. Molecular Cell 1999 Sep;4(3):287-98


Gritsman K, Zhang J, Cheng S, Heckscher E, Talbot WS, Schier AF. The EGF-CFC protein one-eyed pinhead is essential for nodal signaling. Cell. 1999 Apr 2;97(1):121-32

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