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Jessica MacDonald

Jessica MacDonald

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

360 Life Sciences Complex

Research Interests

Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating neuronal development and function, with a particular interest in disruptions in these mechanisms that cause neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University (2008-2015)
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of British Columbia (2008)
  • Hons. B.Sc., University of Toronto (2001)

Selected Publications

  • MacDonald, J.L.*§ & Fame, R.M*., Gillis-Buck, E.M., and Macklis, J.D.§ (2018) Caveolin 1 identifies a specific subpopulation of cerebral cortex callosal projection neurons (CPN) including dual projecting cortical callosal/frontal projection neurons (CPN/FPN). eNeuro, 5(1):1-17. *Co-first authors, §Co-corresponding authors
  • Fame, R.M.* & MacDonald, J.L.*, Dunwoodie, S.L., Takahashi, E., and Macklis, J.D. (2016) Cited2 regulates neocortical layer II/III generation and somatosensory callosal projection neuron development and connectivity. Journal of Neuroscience. 36(24):6403-6419 (with cover). *Co-first authors
  • Kishi, N.* & MacDonald, J.L.*, Ye, J., Molyneaux, B.J., Azim, E., and Macklis, J.D. (2016) Reduction of aberrant NF-kB signalling ameliorates Rett Syndrome phenotypes in Mecp2-null mice. Nature Communications. 7:10520. *Co-first authors
  • MacDonald, J.L.* & Fame, R.M.*, Azim, E., Shnider, S.J., Molyneaux, B.J., Arlotta, P., and Macklis, J.D. (2013) Specification of cortical projection neurons: transcriptional mechanisms. Comprehensive Developmental Neuroscience: Patterning and Cell Type Specification in the Developing CNS and PNS. Vol.1:475-502. Editors J.L.R Rubenstein and P. Rakic. Elsevier. *Co-first authors.
  • Fame, R.M.* & MacDonald, J.L.*, and Macklis, J.D. (2011) Development, specification, and diversity of callosal projection neurons. Trends in Neurosciences. 34(1):41-50. *Co-first authors.
  • MacDonald, J.L., Berndt, A., Verster, A., and Roskams, A.J. (2010) MBD2 and MeCP2 regulate distinct transitions in the stage-specific differentiation of olfactory receptor neurons. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 44:55-67.
  • Molyneaux, B.J.*, Arlotta, P.*, Fame, R.M., MacDonald, J.L., MacQuarrie, K.L., and Macklis, J.D. (2009) Novel subtype-specific genes identify distinct subpopulations of callosal projection neurons. Journal of Neuroscience. 29(39):12343-54 (with cover). *Co-first authors; Co-second authors.
  • MacDonald, J.L. and Roskams, A.J. (2009) Epigenetic regulation of nervous system development by DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. Progress in Neurobiology. 88(3):170-83.
  • MacDonald, J.L. and Roskams, A.J. (2008) Histone Deacetylases 1 and 2 are expressed at distinct stages of neuro-glial development. Developmental Dynamics. 237(8):2256-2267.
  • MacDonald, J.L., Gin, C., and Roskams, A.J. (2005) Stage-specific induction of DNA methyltransferases in olfactory receptor neuron development. Developmental Biology. 288(2):461-73.