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Daniel Cox

Professor    Director of Graduate Studies; Director of Center for Neuromics    ,

1992 B.S., Biology, Wake Forest University
1999 Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, Duke University
2000 - 2004 Jane Coffin Childs and HHMI Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco


Developmental Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience


Dr. Cox is 2CI Professor of Neuroscience and Biology, Director of the Center for Neuromics, and Dean’s Faculty Associate for Faculty Development. He graduated with Honors from Wake Forest University where he conducted undergraduate research as the William L. Wyatt Scholar in Biology at both Wake Forest and the Marine Biological Laboratory. Dr. Cox conducted his doctoral studies at Duke University under the direction of Dr. Haifan Lin 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. In 2017, he received the College of Arts and Science Outstanding Graduate Mentoring Award and in 2018 was a finalist for the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science, South Division. 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, and Wellcome Trust, UK.

Research Interests:

Cox Lab 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 thermosensory nociception and multimodal sensory processing and integration. Research in the Cox Lab is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Recent graduates from the laboratory have secured faculty positions as well as highly competitive postdoctoral positions at the NIH, Harvard Medical School, Whitehead Institute (MIT) and ICFO (Barcelona).

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


Selected Publications/Software Packages:

Lopez-Bellido, R., Himmel, N.J., Gutstein, H.B., Cox, D.N., and Galko, M.J. (2019).  An assay for chemical nociception in Drosophila larvae. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 374(1785):20190282;

Himmel, N.J., Letcher, J.M., Sakurai, A., Gray, T.R., Benson, M.N., and Cox, D.N. (2019).  Drosophila menthol sensitivity and the Precambrian origins of TRP-dependent chemosensation.  () Co-corresponding authors. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 374(1785):20190369;

Nanda, S., Bhattacharjee, S., Cox, D.N. and Ascoli, G.A. (2019). Distinct roles of microtubules and actin filaments in defining dendritic architecture. bioRxiv 885004; doi:

Himmel, N.J., Gray, T.R. and Cox, D.N.† (2019). Phylogenetic inference identifies two eumetazoan TRPM clades and an 8th family of TRP channel, TRP soromelastatin (TRPS).  () Co-corresponding authors.  bioRxiv 860445; doi:

Clark, S.G., Graybeal, L.L., Bhattacharjee, S., Thomas, C., Bhattacharya, S., and Cox, D.N. (2018). Basal autophagy is required for promoting dendritic terminal branching in Drosophila sensory neurons. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0206743.

Im, S.-H., Patel, A.A., Cox, D.N. and Galko, M.J. (2018). The Drosophila Insulin receptor regulates the persistence of injury-induced nociceptive sensitization. Dis Models Mech 11:dmm034231.

Nanda, S., Das, R., Bhattacharjee, S., Cox, D.N. and Ascoli, G.A. (2018). Morphological determinants of dendritic arborization neurons in Drosophila larva. Brain Struct. Func. 223:1107-1120.

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. (2018). Design and implementation of multi-signal and time-varying neural reconstructions. Scientific Data 5:170207. (Nature Publishing Group).

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.

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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