Arjun Krishnaswamy - Assistant Professor

Department of Physiology
McGill University
Life Sciences Complex (Bellini),
Room 169
3649 Promenade Sir William Osler
Montréal, Québec H3G 0B1

phone: 514-398-8985
email: arjun.krishnaswamy [at]


Currently seeking graduate students and postdocs

Research Area:  Neural Circuits

Research Description:

Our goal is to understand how neurons form the complex circuits that underlie our mental abilities. We study this problem in the retina, a thin sheet of neural tissue located at the back of the eye which contains several neural circuits arranged in parallel. Each circuit begins with a photoreceptor, which is a photon detector, each ends with a particular retinal ganglion cell (RGC), which are feature detectors. There are ~30 types of RGCs and each is specialized to detect a unique feature in the visual scene such as edges, motion, color and so on. RGCs are thought to be endowed with their feature preferences because of synapses they receive from a very specific subset of interneuron types (~100 types). We want to learn how particular interneurons and RGCs choose to synapse selectively with each other during circuit assembly. We want to understand the factors that direct these synaptic choices and, ultimately, we want to understand the consequences of these early wiring events for mature circuit function. What we learn from these studies will help us draw links between circuitry, wiring genes and function and inform future studies at the subsequent levels of the visual pathway and higher circuits in the brain. See our website for more information about projects, people and news.

Education: PhD, McGill University; Postdoc, Harvard University

Selected Publications: 

1. Krishnaswamy A. Building connections. Science 2016; 354(6312):558.  

2. Krishnaswamy A, Yamagata M, Duan X, Hong YK, Sanes JR. Sidekick 2 directs formation of a retinal circuit that detects differential motion. Nature. 2015; 524(7566):466-70.

3. Duan X, Krishnaswamy A, De la Huerta I, Sanes JR. Type II cadherins guide assembly of a direction-selective retinal circuit. Cell. 2014; 158(4):793-807.

4. Lilley BN, Krishnaswamy A, Wang Z, Kishi M, Frank E, Sanes JR. SAD kinases control the maturation of nerve terminals in the mammalian peripheral and central nervous systems.

Link to Dr. Krishnaswamy’s publications: