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Developmental Neural Plasticity Section - Division of Intramural Research


Leonardo Belluscio Image

Leonardo Belluscio, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Dr. Belluscio received his B.S. from Manhattan College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University where he studied the molecular and cellular organization of the mammalian olfactory system with Richard Axel. He then went on to do post-doctoral training with Larry Katz at Duke University, where he investigated the functional and anatomical organization of the olfactory bulb using various imaging techniques. Dr. Belluscio joined NINDS as an investigator in 2002. His laboratory now combines molecular and functional techniques to study olfactory neural plasticity associated with circuit development and its repair following disruption.

Laboratory Staff

Leonardo Belluscio Staff Image

Research Interests

My Laboratory conducts research to understand the principles and mechanisms that underlie neural plasticity and regeneration in the brain. Using the mammalian olfactory system as a model the laboratory focuses on four main goals: (1) identification of neural circuits within the olfactory system that exhibit functional plasticity; (2) determining the molecular and functional mechanisms that govern olfactory based plasticity; (3) understanding the relationship between plasticity and the capacity for repair of olfactory circuits; and (4) establishing the role of sensory induced activity on the restoration of neural circuits. Our research is multidisciplinary including biochemistry, molecular biology and electrophysiology as well as in vivo imaging, optogenetic and behavioral techniques all combined with genetically engineered mice. Given the connection between olfactory dysfunction and neurological disease such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, this work also has a strong translational focus.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Cheng N, Cai H, Belluscio L.
    In Vivo Olfactory Model of APP-Induced Neurodegeneration Reveals a Reversible Cell-Autonomous Function. , J Neurosci., 2011, vol. Sep 28;31(39), pp. 13699-704..
  • Cheng K, Bai L, Belluscio L.
    Fas-associated factor 1 as a regulator of olfactory axon guidance. , J Neurosci., 2011, vol. Aug 17;31(33), pp. 11905-13.
  • Cummings DM, Belluscio L.
    Continuous neural plasticity in the olfactory intrabulbar circuitry. , J Neurosci., 2010, vol. Jul 7;30(27):, pp. 9172-80.
  • Chuang KH, Lee JH, Silva AC, Belluscio L, Koretsky AP
    Manganese enhanced MRI reveals functional circuitry in response to odorant stimuli, Neuroimage, 2009, vol. Jan 15;44(2), pp. 363-72.
  • Zhou Z, Belluscio L.
    Intrabulbar projecting external tufted cells mediate a timing-based mechanism that dynamically gates olfactory bulb output. , J Neurosci., 2008, vol. Oct 1;28(40), pp. 9920-8.
  • Nguyen MQ, Zhou Z, Marks CA, Ryba NJ, Belluscio L.
    Prominent roles for odorant receptor coding sequences in allelic exclusion. , Cell., 2007, vol. Nov 30, 131(5):, pp. 1009-17.
  • Kerr MA, Belluscio L.
    Olfactory experience accelerates glomerular refinement in the mammalian olfactory bulb., Nat Neurosci., 2006, vol. Apr;9(4):, pp. 484-6.
  • Lodovichi C, Belluscio L, Katz LC
    Functional topography of connections linking mirror-symmetric maps in the mouse olfactory bulb, Neuron, 2003

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Developmental Neural Plasticity Section, NINDS
Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35, Room 3A-116
35 Convent Drive, MSC 3703
Bethesda, MD 20892-3703

Telephone: 301-496-4898 (office), 301-435-4643 (laboratory), 301-435-4959 (fax)
Email: belluscl@ninds.nih.gov