(2012-2016) Currently: Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University

Areas of Research: Optical neurophysiology of behavior
170 Carl Icahn Laboratory


Dr. Leifer studies how a small number of neurons in a simple nervous system can encode complex behaviors. To understand the interplay between neural activity and behavior, it is critical to work in an awake animal that is free to move and interact with its environment. Dr. Leifer has pioneered optogenetic microscopy techniques to manipulate and monitor neural activity, with cellular resolution, in freely moving nematodes(worms) called C. elegans. The Leifer group uses these tools to study how patterns of activity in the nematode neural network drive locomotion, navigation, timing and sensation.