Josiah BoivinResearch Scientist


  • Ph.D. in Neuroscience, UCSF

Short Biography

I am interested in how cortical circuits mature, particularly during developmental windows of unique plasticity. During my thesis work at UCSF, I investigated the role of gonadal hormones in the maturation of inhibitory neurotransmission and dendritic spine dynamics in the frontal cortex of adolescent mice. In my postdoc work in the Nedivi lab, I will explore the dynamics of genetically labeled synapses and their activity-dependent selection during the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity in mice. Ultimately, I hope to contribute to our knowledge of how excitatory and inhibitory circuits are formed and refined in the context of experience during specific developmental windows.


  • Functional implications of inhibitory synapse placement on signal processing in pyramidal neuron dendrites
    Boivin JR, Nedivi E.
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2018. 51:16-22.
  • Adolescent pruning and stabilization of dendritic spines on cortical layer 5 pyramidal neurons do not depend on gonadal hormones
    Boivin JR, Piekarski DJ, Thomas AW, Wilbrecht L.
    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 2018. 30:100-107.
  • Age, sex, and gonadal hormones differently influence anxiety- and depression-related behavior during puberty in mice. Boivin JR, Piekarski DJ, Wahlberg JK, Wilbrecht L. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017; 85:78-87.
  • Ovarian Hormones Organize the Maturation of Inhibitory Neurotransmission in the Frontal Cortex at Puberty Onset in Female Mice. Piekarski DJ, Boivin JR, Wilbrecht L. Curr Biol. 2017; 27(12):1735-1745.e3.
  • Soluble oligomeric amyloid-β induces calcium dyshomeostasis that precedes synapse loss in the living mouse brain. Arbel-Ornath M, Hudry E, Boivin JR, Hashimoto T, Takeda S, Kuchibhotla KV, Hou S, Lattarulo CR, Belcher AM, Shakerdge N, Trujillo PB, Muzikansky A, Betensky RA, Hyman BT, Bacskai BJ. Mol Neurodegener. 2017; 12(1):27.
  • Does puberty mark a transition in sensitive periods for plasticity in the associative neocortex? Piekarski DJ, Johnson CM, Boivin JR, Thomas AW, Lin WC, Delevich K, M Galarce E, Wilbrecht L. Brain Res. 2017; 1654(Pt B):123-144.
  • Brief cognitive training interventions in young adulthood promote long-term resilience to drug-seeking behavior. Boivin JR, Piscopo DM, Wilbrecht L. Neuropharmacology. 2015; 97:404-13.
  • Positive reinforcement mediated by midbrain dopamine neurons requires D1 and D2 receptor activation in the nucleus accumbens. Steinberg EE, Boivin JR, Saunders BT, Witten IB, Deisseroth K, Janak PH. PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94771.
  • A causal link between prediction errors, dopamine neurons and learning. Steinberg EE, Keiflin R, Boivin JR, Witten IB, Deisseroth K, Janak PH. Nat Neurosci. 2013; 16(7):966-73.