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Daniel N. Cox

Associate Professor    Faculty    

B.S., Biology, Wake Forest University
Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, Duke University


Developmental Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience


Dan Cox was born in Tampa, FL and grew up in the Orlando area. He graduated with Honors from Wake Forest University where he conducted undergraduate research as the William L. Wyatt Scholar in Biology with Drs. Nina S. Allen and Gloria K. Muday at both Wake Forest and the Marine Biological Laboratory. During this time, he developed a passion for cell biology and cellular imaging which he carried forward into his doctoral studies at Duke University under the direction of Dr. Haifan Lin. Dr. Cox completed his PhD in 1999 in which he identified and characterized members of the piwi gene family in regulating asymmetric stem cell division. Based upon his graduate research, Dr. Cox received a number of prestigious national and international awards including the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award and 1st Runner-Up for the Larry Sandler Memorial Award sponsored by the Genetics Society of America. In 2000, he moved to UCSF where he conducted postdoctoral studies in Developmental Neuroscience as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow for Medical Research and an HHMI Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Yuh-Nung Jan. In 2004, he accepted a faculty position at George Mason University where he was Graduate Program Director, Director of Cellular Imaging, and Principal Investigator in the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study. During his tenure at George Mason, Dr. Cox was the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and mentoring awards including the 2013 University Teaching Excellence Award, (2) College of Science Teaching Excellence Awards, and the inaugural OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award. In 2012, Dr. Cox received a national mentoring award in the Biological Sciences (1 of 3) from the Council on Undergraduate Research. In 2011, Dr. Cox received the J. Shelton Horsley Research Award from the Virginia Academy of Science which is the highest honor bestowed by this agency. In Fall 2014, Dr. Cox joined the Neuroscience Institute at GSU. At GSU, Dr. Cox is 2CI Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Biology, Director of the Center for Neuromics, and Director of the 2CI Neurogenomics Fellows Program.  In 2017, Dr. Cox received the College of Arts and Science Outstanding Graduate Mentoring Award. Apart from his research program, Dr. Cox serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and on grant review panels for a variety of agencies including the NIH, NSF, DOD, Wellcome Trust, UK, and the Israel Science Foundation.

Research Interests:

As a Systems Neuroscientist, Dr. Cox’s research interests revolve around developmental neurogenetics, neurogenomics, molecular neuroanatomy, computational neuroscience, and behavioral neurobiology. We are particularly interested in elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the specification and modulation of neural connectivity with an emphasis on the control of dendrite development and the functional relationships between dendrite morphogenesis and behavior. Current behavioral interests center on molecular and neural circuit bases of multimodal sensory processing and integration. His research program is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NINDS/NIMH). Recent graduates from his laboratory have secured highly competitive postdoctoral positions at the NIH, Harvard Medical School, and the Whitehead Institute, MIT.

Dr. Cox is Director of the Center for Neuromics and the 2CI Neurogenomics Fellows Program


Selected Publications/Software Packages:

Das, R., Bhattacharjee, S., Patel, A.A., Harris, J.M., Bhattacharya, S., Letcher, J.M., Clark, S.G., Nanda, S., Iyer, E.P.R., Ascoli, G.A. and Cox, D.N. (2017). Dendritic cytoskeletal architecture is modulated by combinatorial transcriptional regulation in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 207(4):1401-1421.

Nanda, S., Das, R., Bhattacharjee, S., Cox, D.N. and Ascoli, G.A. (2017). Morphological determinants of dendritic arborization neurons in Drosophila larva. Brain Struct. Func. [epub ahead of print]

Nanda, S., Chen, H., Das, R., Bhattacharjee, S., Cuntz, H., Torben-Nielsen, B., Peng, H., Cox, D.N., De Schutter, E., and Ascoli, G.A. (2017). Design and implementation of multi-signal and time-varying neural reconstructions. Scientific Data (Nature Publishing Group) (in press).

Das, R., Letcher, J.M., Harris, J.M., Foldi, I., Nanda, S., Bobo, H.M., Mihály, J., Ascoli, G.A. and Cox, D.N. (2017). Formin3 regulates dendritic architecture via microtubule stabilization and is required for somatosensory nociceptive behavior. bioRxiv 227348; doi:

Bhattacharya, S. and Cox, D.N. (2017). IntramiRExploreR: Predicting Targets for Drosophila Intragenic miRNAs. R package version 0.99.8, Bioconductor,

Patel, A.A. and Cox, D.N. (2017). Behavioral and functional assays for investigating mechanisms of noxious cold detection and multimodal sensory processing in Drosophila larvae. Bio-protocol 7(13):e2388.

Himmel, N.J. and Cox, D.N. (2017). Sensing the cold: TRP channels in thermal nociception. Channels 11(5):370-372.

Jo, J., Im, S.H., Babcock, D.T., Iyer, S.C., Gunawan, F., Cox, D.N., and Galko, M.J. (2017). Drosophila caspase activity is required independently of apoptosis to produce active TNF/Eiger during nociceptive sensitization. Cell Death Dis. 8:e2786.

Nanda, S.*, Das, R.*, Cox, D.N. and Ascoli G.A.† (2017). Structural plasticity in dendrites: developmental neurogenetics, morphological reconstructions, and computational modeling. In Neurobiological and Psychological Aspects of Brain Recovery, Springer Press (in press). L. Petrosini (ed.), Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience. (*) These authors contributed equally to this work; () Co-corresponding authors.

Himmel, N.J.*, Patel, A.A.* and Cox, D.N. (2017). “Invertebrate Nociception.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press. (*=these authors contributed equally to this work).

Turner, H.*, Armengol, K.*, Patel, A.A., Himmel, N.J., Sullivan L., Iyer, S.C., Bhattacharya, S., Iyer, E.P.R., Landry, C., Galko, M.J. and Cox D.N. (2016). The TRP channels Pkd2, NompC, and Trpm act in cold-sensing neurons to mediate novel aversive behaviors to noxious cold in Drosophila. (*=these authors contributed equally to this work). Curr Biol. 26:3116-3128.

Gokhale, A.*, Hartwig, C.*, Freeman, A.H.*, Das, R.*, Zlatic, S.A.*, Vistein, R.*, Burch, A., Carrot, G., Lewis, A.F., Nelms, S., Dickman, D., Puthenveedu, M., Cox, D.N. and Faundez, V. (2016). The proteome of BLOC-1 genetic defects identified the Arp2/3 actin polymerization complex to function downstream of the Schizophrenia susceptibility factor Dysbindin at the synapse. J. Neurosci. 36:12393-12411. (*These authors contributed equally to this work). (COVER IMAGE).

Graybeal, J.J., Bozzelli, P.L., Graybeal, L.L., McKnight, P.E., Cox, D.N., and Flinn, J.M. (2015). Human ApoE e4 alters circadian rhythm activity, IL-1b and GFAP in CRND8 mice. J. Alzheimers Dis. 43:823-834. doi: 10.3233/JAD-132009.

Bhattacharya, S., Iyer, E.P.R., Iyer, S.C. and Cox, D.N. (2014). Cell-type specific transcriptomic profiling to dissect mechanisms of differential dendritogenesis. Genomics Data 2:378-381.

Iyer S. C., Iyer E. P. R., Meduri R., Rubaharan, M., Kuntimaddi, A., Karamsetty M., and Cox D. N. (2013). Cut via CrebA transcriptionally regulates the COPII secretory pathway to direct dendrite development in Drosophila.  J. Cell Sci. 126(20):4732-45.

Iyer E.P.R., Iyer S.C., Sullivan L., Wang D., Meduri, R., Graybeal L.L, and Cox D.N. (2013). Functional genomic analyses of two morphologically distinct classes of Drosophila sensory neurons: Post-mitotic roles of transcription factors in dendritic patterning. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72434. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072434.

Iyer, S.C., Wang, D., Iyer, E.P.R., Trunnell, S.A., Meduri, R., Shinwari, R., Sulkowski, M.J., and Cox, D.N. (2012).  The RhoGEF Trio functions in sculpting class specific dendrite morphogenesis in Drosophila sensory neurons.  PLoS ONE 7(3): e33634. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033634.

Sulkowski, M.J., Kurosawa, M.S., and Cox, D.N. (2011).  Growing pains: Development of the nocifensive response in Drosophila larvae.  Biol. Bull. 221:300-306.  (This manuscript was selected as the cover art for this issue).

Sulkowski, M.J., Iyer, S.C., Kurosawa, M.S., Iyer, E.P.R., and Cox, D.N. (2011) Turtle functions downstream of Cut in differentially regulating class specific dendrite morphogenesis in Drosophila. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22611. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022611.

Iyer, E.P.R. and Cox, D.N. (2010).  Laser capture microdissection of Drosophila peripheral neurons.  J. Vis. Exp. 39,, doi: 10.3791/2016.

Iyer, E.P.R., Iyer, S.C., Sulkowski, M.J. and Cox, D.N. (2009).  Isolation and purification of Drosophila peripheral neurons by magnetic bead sorting. J. Vis. Exp. 34,, doi: 10.3791/1599.

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