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Matthew B. Johnson
Sestan Lab
Department of Neurobiology & INP
Yale University School of Medicine
P.O. Box 208001
New Haven, CT 06520-8001
electronic mail

Research Interests

I'm a postdoctoral associate (and previously a graduate student) in the Sestan Lab in the Neurobiology Department at Yale, where we study the genetic and molecular specification of pyramidal neurons in the developing mammalian neocortex. (More here.) I'm especially interested in deciphering the functions of genes and gene products enriched in the frontal cortex of primates, as these genes may be involved in specifying the frontal cortical circuitry underlying higher cognitive functions such as working memory and speech & language. In addition, defects in these genes and the developmental processes they regulate may contribute to our species' risk for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.[1, 2]

Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant in the lab of Judith Ford in the Psychiatry Department at Stanford School of Medicine, where we used neuroimaging techniques including fMRI and EEG to study auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic patients.[3] Prior to that I majored in neuroscience at Brown University, where I did an honors thesis in the lab of Jerome Sanes and played ultimate frisbee.


  1. Johnson MB, Kawasawa YI, Mason CE, Krsnik Z, Coppola G, Bogdanović D, Geschwind DH, Mane SM, State MW, and Sestan N. Functional and evolutionary insights into human brain development through global transcriptome analysis. Neuron. 2009 May 28;62(4):494-509. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.03.027 | PubMed ID:19477152 | HubMed [Sestan-hba09]
  2. Rasin MR, Gazula VR, Breunig JJ, Kwan KY, Johnson MB, Liu-Chen S, Li HS, Jan LY, Jan YN, Rakic P, and Sestan N. Numb and Numbl are required for maintenance of cadherin-based adhesion and polarity of neural progenitors. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Jul;10(7):819-27. DOI:10.1038/nn1924 | PubMed ID:17589506 | HubMed [Sestan-numb]
  3. Ford JM, Johnson MB, Whitfield SL, Faustman WO, and Mathalon DH. Delayed hemodynamic responses in schizophrenia. Neuroimage. 2005 Jul 1;26(3):922-31. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.03.001 | PubMed ID:15955502 | HubMed [Ford-schizophrenia]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed