Neuroscience at HIH Home
National Institutes of Health - Neuroscience at HIH Link to NIH
Link to About Us
Link to Faculty
Link to Areas of Research
Link to Seminars
Link to Interest Groups
Link to Post-doctoral Openings
Link to Home

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.
Photo of Leonardo Belluscio, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Staff Photo for Developmental Neural Plasticity Section

Research Interests:
Postnatal developmental refinement of olfactory bulb circuitry.  Fluorescent confocal images captured from the olfactory bulbs of (OMP-GFP/ Thy1-YFPg) compound transgenic mice at different ages (3-day, 5-day, 10-day, and 3 weeks).

Olfactory Bulb Postnatal Development

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. (2011) In Vivo Olfactory Model of APP-Induced Neurodegeneration Reveals a Reversible Cell-Autonomous Function. , J Neurosci. Sep 28;31(39), 13699-704..

  • Cheng K, Bai L, Belluscio L. (2011) Fas-associated factor 1 as a regulator of olfactory axon guidance. , J Neurosci. Aug 17;31(33), 11905-13.

  • Cummings DM, Belluscio L. (2010) Continuous neural plasticity in the olfactory intrabulbar circuitry. , J Neurosci. Jul 7;30(27):, 9172-80.

  • Chuang KH, Lee JH, Silva AC, Belluscio L, Koretsky AP (2009) Manganese enhanced MRI reveals functional circuitry in response to odorant stimuli, Neuroimage Jan 15;44(2), 363-72.

  • Zhou Z, Belluscio L. (2008) Intrabulbar projecting external tufted cells mediate a timing-based mechanism that dynamically gates olfactory bulb output. , J Neurosci. Oct 1;28(40), 9920-8.

  • Nguyen MQ, Zhou Z, Marks CA, Ryba NJ, Belluscio L. (2007) Prominent roles for odorant receptor coding sequences in allelic exclusion. , Cell. Nov 30, 131(5):, 1009-17.

  • Kerr MA, Belluscio L. (2006) Olfactory experience accelerates glomerular refinement in the mammalian olfactory bulb., Nat Neurosci. Apr;9(4):, 484-6.

All Selected Publications

Contact Information:

Dr. Leonardo Belluscio
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)


Home   |   Email List   |   Search   |   Contact Us   |   Privacy Notice   |   Disclaimer   |   Accessibility
Comments or questions about the website?
Send email to