Faculty Directory

Quinlan, Elizabeth

Quinlan, Elizabeth

Clark Leadership Chair in Neuroscience
Director, Brain and Behavior Institute (BBI)
College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
Brain and Behavior Institute
1110 Bioscience Research Building

The goal of my research is to understand how experience differentially influences the juvenile versus adult mammalian brain.  A primary focus is the role of experience in the regulation of the visual system.  Pioneering work in the mammalian visual system demonstrated a significant decline in experience-dependent synaptic plasticity over the course of postnatal development. One of the severe consequences of the loss of experience-dependent synaptic plasticity is the inability to recover from form-deprivation amblyopia (Amblyopia ex anopsia) caused a unilateral congenital cataract.  If untreated, neurons in the binocular cortex become dominated by the unaffected eye, and resistant to recovery by removal of the cataract.  Recently we have developed a method (binocular visual deprivation through dark exposure) that allows for the recovery from severe amblyopia in rodents, even when a monocular occlusion is initiated immediately at eye opening and continues until adulthood.  This work was recognized with the 2010 Advancement of Science Award by the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.  Currently, we are using a multidisciplinary analysis that includes electrophysiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and behavior to characterize the functional consequences, and the molecular mechanisms, by which dark exposure promotes the recovery from chronic deprivation amblyopia.


Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993

Post-doc, University of Virginia, 1993-1996

Post-doc, Brown University, 1996-2000


  • Development of the vertebrate visual system,
  • Cellular and molecular basis of learning and memory

A Fish-Eye View of Neural Development

Juan Angueyra’s research capitalizes on genetic tools and advanced imaging located at UMD.

The BBI Welcomes New Faculty Hires

Investigators joining UMD bring cross-disciplinary expertise with diverse applications in aging and development research.

An Open House Debut for New Prisma MRI at MNC

Scheduled for unveiling on April 22, 2022, the upgrade significantly enhances spatial and temporal resolution of human brain imaging.

UMD Chemist Pioneers Tool for Eavesdropping on Neurons

Custom-built technology from BBI investigator Peter Nemes identifies and quantifies hundreds of different proteins in a single neuron.

Announcing the BBI Small Animal MR Facility

Helmed by director Konstantin Cherkas, the new BBI-SAMRI will facilitate research at the intersection of biological imaging and analytical methodologies through non-invasive anatomical, functional and connectomic analysis.

Brain Freeze: Cryo-FIB-SEM Coming Soon to College Park

The new Brain and Behavior Institute core will expand campus FIB-SEM applications to include biological tissue.

$1.7M Grant to Support UMCP, UMB Clinical and Translational Research Collaborations

The MPower award will help researchers access resources for clinical and translational training, engage in pilot research, and strengthen bioinformatics infrastructure.

How Home Alone Helped UMD Neuroscientists Unlock Brain Scan Data

New research employs advanced computational algorithms to uncover latent information in fMRI scans about human mental states.

Piece of Mind: Upgrade of Campus MRI to Enhance Brain Imaging

Together with major contributions from the BBI and BSOS, a new Research Instrumentation Fund award will improve the temporal and spatial resolution of MR imaging at UMD and enhance campus neuroscience research.

Nikolas Francis on the Neurophysiology of Listening

New Brain and Behavior Institute and Department of Biology faculty hire brings wide-ranging expertise to collaborative neuroscience endeavors at UMD.

Flashes Before Your Eyes: Non-invasive Visual Stimulation May Prime Cortex to Improve Vision

New UMD research outlines how repetitive flickering light holds promise for treatment of visual loss.

El-Sayed to Direct New BBI Advanced Genomic Technologies Core

The state-of-the-art core will feature single-cell genomic technologies for applications in the nervous and immune systems as well as cancer.

Bridging Cultures and Supporting Collaborations

Q&A with Brain and Behavior Institute Founding Director Betsy Quinlan

Welcoming Nate Underland as Associate Director of the BBI

In the new role, Nate will oversee the institute’s operations and communications.

UMD Launches New Brain and Behavior Institute, Announces Founding Director

Institute will build on existing strengths and elevate UMD neuroscience to national preeminence.

Visual Deprivation Lowers Threshold for Enzymatic Pathway that Rejuvenates Synaptic Plasticity in the Brain

The discovery holds promise of future therapies for adults with visual deficits.

BBI Holds 2017 Seed Grant Symposium

Over 115 people attend symposium featuring work and accomplishments of BBI Seed Grant Awardees for FY16/FY17.

BBI Seed Grant winners announced

Five projects selected for inaugural round of funding.

Elizabeth Quinlan turns back the clock to treat brain trauma, disorders

The brain’s ability to make new neural connections can be restored in mice by blocking a protein that normally acts as a natural brake on neuroplasticity.

Quinlan finds crucial on-off switch in visual development

A new discovery by a University of Maryland-led research team offers hope for treating “lazy eye.”