Elly Nedivi (She/Her)

The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
MIT Department of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Email: nedivi@mit.edu

Administrative Assistant
Charles Moss
Office: 46-3241
Phone: 617-452-2070
Email: vmoss@mit.edu

The Nedivi lab welcomes talented individuals of all cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities, and individuals with disabilities, anyone who loves science, strives for excellence, has a strong work ethic, and high personal integrity. We value the unique contributions of each person, and believe that science benefits from diverse perspectives. While everyone in the lab is expected to show independence and carry their own project, we expect that they also work well within the team, help with chores and be a good lab citizen. Everyone should be open to accept mentoring from their senior peers and be ready to mentor their junior colleagues. We strive to use our curiosity and creativity to accomplish impactful science while maintaining high professional standards, in a culture of caring and respect for others.

My lab studies the cellular mechanisms that underlie activity-dependent plasticity in the developing and adult brain through studies of neuronal structural dynamics, identification of the participating genes, and characterization of the proteins they encode. I was trained as a biochemist/molecular biologist. As a postdoctoral fellow I initiated one of the first screens for activity-regulated genes and isolated a large number of candidate-plasticity genes (CPGs). Motivated by the large number of CPGs that affect neuronal structure, I spent 2 years learning in vivo imaging with Hollis Cline at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. A major bottleneck subsequent to a screen is characterizing the cellular function of newly identified genes. Since establishing my own lab, we have elucidated the neuronal and synaptic function of two previously unknown CPGs, CPG15 and CPG2, and characterized their very different activities. We showed that CPG15 is a novel growth factor that plays a dual role in the nervous system, acting as a survival factor for cortical progenitors and later as a growth and differentiation factor. We found that CPG2 is a large intracellular adaptor protein localized to the postsynaptic endocytic zone of excitatory synapses, and a critical component of the endocytic pathway mediating glutamate receptor internalization. These two genes are still the focus of some research projects in the lab.

In parallel, we have also been collaborating with Peter So’s lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT to develop multi-photon microscopy for large volume, high resolution imaging of dendritic arbor and synaptic structural dynamics in vivo. We were the first to show unambiguous evidence of dendritic growth and retraction and of branch tip additions in the adult brain. Surprisingly, our data singled out GABAergic interneurons as those capable of structural dynamics, suggesting that circuit rearrangement is restricted by cell type-specific rules. Recently, we have also developed methods for labeling and chronic monitoring of excitatory and inhibitory synapses across entire neuronal arbors in the mouse visual cortex in vivo. A large part of the lab is now devoted to imaging-related projects, some associated with characterization of CPG function in vivo, others addressing more general questions related to structural plasticity of cortical circuitry with a focus on the inhibitory components.

  • Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Stanford University, 1991
  • B.Sc. in Biology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, 1982
  • William R. (1964) & Linda R. Young Professor of Neuroscience, Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Biology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 2019-current
  • Professor, Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Biology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 2012-current
  • Associate Professor, Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Biology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 2006-2012
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 1999-2006
  • Assistant Professor, Department Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 1998-2006
  • Research Investigator, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 1997-1998
  • Visiting Scientist with Hollis Cline, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 1996-1997
  • Postdoctoral Fellow with Yoav Citri, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, 1991-1996
  • Ph.D Studies with Pate Skene, Neuroscience Program, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CA, 1984-1991
  • Ph.D. Honors Program in Biochemistry with Michael Schramm, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, 1983-1984
  • Medical corps, Israel Defense Forces, 1975-1977
  • Elected Member at Large, AAAS, 2019-2023
  • Elected Member, Dana Alliance, 2019
  • BCS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2018
  • Elected as AAAS Fellow, 2016
  • NIH BRAIN Initiative Grant, 2014-2017
  • Associate Member, The Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT, 2011-present
  • AFAR Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research, 2007 – 2011
  • Edgerly Innovation Fund Award, 2006
  • Dean’s Education and Student Advising Award, 2003
  • Middleton Career Development Endowed Professorship, 2000-2005
  • Alfred P . Sloan Research Fellowship, 1999 – 2001
  • NSF Powre Award, 1999
  • NIH (NEI) R29 First Award, 1997 – 2002
  • Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award, 1997 – 2002
  • Israel Cancer Research Fund postdoctoral fellowship, 1993 – 1995
  • Eshkol postdoctoral fellowship, 1993 – 1995
  • Weizmann Institute postdoctoral fellowship, 1991 – 1993

Visit our Publications page for a list of all published papers.

  • Chair, Gordon Research Conference, “Dendrites: Molecules, Structure, and Function”, 2021
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, 2020-2025
  • Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference, “Dendrites: Molecules, Structure, and Function”, 2019
  • AAAS Member at Large, 2019 – 2023
  • Gordon Research Conferences Council, 2019-2022
  • Review committee, King Trust Basic Science Fellowships, 2018-2021
  • External evaluator for Swiss Foundation Max Cloetta Prize, 2017
  • NIH ad hoc reviewer, NDPR-SEP Molecular Cellular Substrates of Complex Brain Disorders, 2016 – 2018
  • Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program, Subcommittee on Admission, 2016 – present
  • MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Admissions Committee, 2013 – present
  • MIT Faculty Policy Committee, 2013 – 2016
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Harvard/MIT Joint Research Grants Program in Basic Neuroscience, 2013 – 2015, 2019 – 2021
  • Standing Committee of External Evaluators for Neuroscience, Italian Institute of Technology, 2012 –
  • MIT Nominations Committee, 2008 – 2012, 2017-2020
  • NIH, standing member NDPR Study Section, 2008 – 2012
  • NIH, ad-hoc reviewer NDPR Study Section, 2007
  • NIH, Special Emphasis Fellowship Review Panel F02B, Sensory, Motor, and Cognitive Sciences, 2007
  • Neuroscience Director, MIT-Portugal Program, 2006 – 2011
  • Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Undergraduate Academic Officer, 2006 – 2008
  • NIH, Conte Center Review Panel ZMHI-ERB-L-03, Depression and Anxiety, 2006
  • NIH, Special Emphasis Review Panel ZRG1, Sensorimotor Integration, 2004
  • Steering Committee, Boston Area Neuroscience Group, 2000 – 2007
  • Resident faculty, Neurobiology summer course, MBL, Woods Hole, MA, 2000

Teaching Outside MIT

  • International Max Planck Research School for Neural Circuits, Master Class, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany, 2019
  • Neural Circuit Development and Plasticity Summer School, Utrecht, Netherlands 2017
  • Guest lecture: The Amazing Brain, 6th grade. F.A. Day Middle School, Newton, MA, 2016
  • Science lecture, Escola Secondaire Quinta das Flores, Lisbon, PORTUGAL, 2009
  • Faculty and organizer, Neuroscience module, MIT/Portugal program, 2008 – 2013
  • Guest lecture, Neuroscience course for HST students (HT130.0), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2005
  • Lecturer, Molecular Neurobiology section, Neurobiology Summer Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, 2002
  • Resident Faculty, Molecular Neurobiology section, Neurobiology Summer Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, 2000
  • Teaching Assistant, Neuroanatomy for medical students, Stanford University Medical School Stanford, CA, 1985-1990

Teaching at MIT

  • 9.123/20.203, Neurotechnology in Action, Guest lecture. Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2019, Spring 2020.
  • 9.18/181 (7.49), Developmental Neurobiology, Primary instructor, designated CIM (Communication Intensive), 25 lectures, 4 hrs weekly CIM preparation with students, Spring 2006, Spring 2008, Spring 2010, (Sabbatical Spring 2011), Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, (Sabbatical Spring 2018), Spring 2019, Spring 2020
  • 9.28, Current Topics in Developmental Neurobiology, Primary instructor, designated CIM (Communication Intensive). Spring 2016, Spring 2017, (Sabbatical Spring 2018), Spring 2019, Spring 2020.
  • 7.22, Developmental Biology, Guest lecture, Spring 2008
  • 9.18/181, Developmental Neurobiology, Primary instructor, 25 lectures, Spring 2002, Spring 2003, (Maternity leave Spring 2004), Spring 2005
  • 9.913, Intensive Neuroanatomy, Initiated and developed course, Primary instructor, 16 lectures, IAP 2002
  • 9.19/191, Cognitive and Behavioral Genetics, Initiated and developed course, (previously not taught at MIT), Organizer, Co-instructor, 3 lectures, 4 discussions, Spring 2001
  • 9.18/181, Developmental Neurobiology, Initiated and developed course (previously not taught at MIT), Primary instructor, 25 lectures, Fall 1999