Hey there, I'm MICHAEL NOTARAS Ph.D.


My Neuroscience Research

Michael Notaras PhD Mitotic Neuroepithelial Stem Cells in 3D Cerebral Organoid

Human 3D lab-made nervous tissue displaying neural stem cell division.

Michael Notaras PhD Blue Dendrites

Polar dendritogenesis of mouse neurons in primary culture.

Green Neurons

Neurons exhibiting dendritic fasciculation.

Michael Notaras Purple Dendrites

Laminar-like arrangement of synapsing neurons.

I prescribe to the philosophy that mental illnesses are disorders of the brain. 

I study the neurobiology of mental disorders.
Mental disorders are common, treatment refractory, brain disorders.
My goal is to resolve common brain pathways and signatures of mental illness.
I am particularly interested in "complex disorders" with unknown causes, like schizophrenia.
I use human stem cells, 3D cerebral organoids, microfluidic devices, inducible genetics, & biochemistry.
In addition to my research, I advocate for mental illness awareness and dabble in applied statistical topics out of interest.
I'm currently a NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the Center of Neurogenetics at Cornell University's campus in New York City. 



Elucidating "Ultra-Early" Neuropathology of Schizophrenia using Lab-Grown 3D Nervous Tissue

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The Problem

Schizophrenia is a mentallbrain disorder of unknown origins that mostly emerges in adulthood. It has previously been suggested that schizophrenia begins in the brain years prior to the development of symptoms, however some risk factors occur in utero decades before symptomsbut this has not been shown in human tissue nor established as a common origin of disease .

Our Approach

We have used human induced-pluripotent stem cells, generated and validated by the National Institutes of Health, to grow 3D chunks of lab-grown nervous tissue known as "cerebral organoids" but often colloquially called "mini-brains" (I prefer "picasso brains", because while mostly everything you'd expect to find in the developing cortex may be in these chunks of human tissue, these features/cells/structures are almost always in semi-random orientations). Cerebral organoids mimic trimester 1 of human brain development, a known risk period for schizophrenia, this technology allows us to look back in time and determine what role the genetics of schizophrenia play in the first stages of brain development.