Franck Polleux, PhD

  • Professor of Neuroscience
Profile Headshot


Dr. Franck Polleux did his undergraduate and graduate studies at Université Claude Bernard in Lyon, (France) where he obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 1997. He then joined the laboratory of Dr. Anirvan Ghosh at Johns Hopkins University for his post-doctoral training. In 2002, Dr Polleux was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Center and Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill where he became an Associate Professor in 2008. In August 2010, he joined The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

In November 2013, he was recruited as a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University to join the new Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute.

Throughout his career, Dr Polleux has focused on the identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal development in the mammalian brain. More recently, his lab started studying the genetic basis of human brain evolution as well as the signaling pathways underlying synaptic loss during early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease progression.

Lab website:

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Neuroscience


  • French


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Honors & Awards

  • 1993-1997 Graduate Training Award from the French Ministry of Research and Technology
  • 1999 Albert L. Lehninger Research Prize for Post-doctoral Research - Johns Hopkins University
  • 2000-2001 INSERM-CFB award for a European collaborative project with the group of Dr Vanderhaeghen, University of Brussels –Belgium.
  • 2004-2007 March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation Award
  • 2005-2009 Pew Scholar Award in Biomedical Sciences
  • 2005-2007 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
  • 2007-2009 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
  • 2008-2012 Permanent member on NIH Study Section Neuronal Differentiation, Plasticity and Regeneration (NDPR)
  • 2010-2012 Co-Chair (2010) and Chair (2012) Gordon Conference, Neural Development - Salve Regina, RI
  • 2012 Member of the Editorial Board of PLoS Biology
  • 2015 Recipient of the 2015 Prize from the Fondation Roger de Spoelberch in Neuroscience (Scientific award for mid-career neuroscientists)


Research Interests

  • Axon Pathfinding and Synaptogenesis
  • Cell Specification and Differentiation
  • Synapses and Circuits

Selected Publications

O'Hare, J.K., Gonzalez, K.C., Herrlinger, S.A., Hirabayashi, Y., Hewitt, V.L., Blockus, H., Szoboszlay, M., Rolotti, S.V., Geiller, T.C., Negrean, A., Chelur, V., Polleux, F.*, and Losonczy, A.* (2022). Compartment-specific tuning of dendritic feature selectivity by intracellular Ca2+ release. Science 375, eabm1670.  * Co-senior and co-corresponding authors

Schmidt E.R.E, Zhao H.T., Park J.M., Dipoppa M., Monsalve-Mercado M.M., Dahan J.B., Rodgers C.C., Hillman E.M.C., Miller K.D., Bruno R.M. and Polleux F. (2021) A human-specific modifier of cortical connectivity and circuit function. Nature.  599(7886):640-644.

Blockus H., Rolotti S.V., Szoboszlay M., Ming, T., Schroeder A., Vennekens K., Katsamba P., Bahan F., Mannepalli S., Ahlsen G., Honig B., Shapiro L., de Wit J., Lonsonczy A. and Polleux F. (2021) Synaptogenic activity of the axon guidance molecule Robo2 is critical for hippocampal circuit function. Cell Reports. 37(3):109828.

Izadifar A*, Courchet, J* #, Virga D.M., Verreet T., Hamilton S., Ayaz D., Misbaer A., Vandenbogaerde S., Monteiro L., Petrovic M., Sachse S., Yan B., Erfurth M.-L., Dascenco D., Kise Y., Yan J., Edwards-Faret G., Lewis T.L. Jr, Polleux F. and Schmucker D.# (2021) Axon morphogenesis and maintenance require an evolutionary conserved safeguard function of Wnk kinases antagonizing Sarm and Axed. Neuron Sep 15;109(18):2864-2883.  * Co-first authors.  # Co-corresponding authors.

Iascone D.M., Li Y., Sumbul U., Doron M., Chen H., Andreu V., Goudy F., Segev I., Peng H. and Polleux F. (2020) Whole-Neuron Synaptic Mapping Reveals Spatially Precise Excitatory/Inhibitory Balance Limiting Dendritic and Somatic Spiking. Neuron. 106(4):566-578. 

Lewis, T.L.*, Kwon SK.*, Lee A., Shaw and Polleux F. (2018) MFF-dependent mitochondrial fission regulates presynaptic release and axon branching by limiting axonal mitochondria size.  Nature Comm.  9:5008. * Co-first authors.

Hirabayashi Y.*, Kwon S-K.*,  Paek H., Pernice W.M., Paul M.A., Lee J., Erfani P., Raczkowski A., Petrey D.S., Pon L. A. and Polleux F. (2017) ER-mitochondria tethering by PDZD8 regulates Ca2+ dynamics in mammalian neurons. Science 358(6363):623-630. * Co-first authors.

Fossati M, Pizzarelli R, Schmidt ER, Kupferman JV, Stroebel D, Polleux F*, Charrier C*. (2016) SRGAP2 and Its Human-Specific Paralog Co-Regulate the Development of Excitatory and Inhibitory Synapses. Neuron. 91(2):356-69. * Co-corresponding authors.

Charrier C.*, Joshi K. *, Coutinho-Budd J., Kim, J-E., Lambert N., de Marchena, J., Jin W-L., Vanderhaeghen P., Ghosh A., Sassa T, and Polleux F. (2012) Inhibition of SRGAP2 function by its human-specific paralogs induces neoteny of spine maturation. Cell 149:923-935. * Co-first authors.