Lab Members


Ephraim F. Trakhtenberg, M.S., Ph.D., is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. He received an M.S. in biological sciences from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and did a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital.

During his doctoral and post-doctoral work under the mentorship of Jeffrey Goldberg, M.D.,Ph.D., and Larry Benowitz, Ph.D., Dr. Trakhtenberg has discovered how Set-β and PP2A proteins regulate axon growth and regeneration, the role of Serotonin Receptor 2C in neurite growth and modulating retinal processing of visual information, and that inhibition of the transcription factor Klf9 acts synergistically with zinc chelation in stimulating axon regeneration. In addition, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School Research Computing Team he developed a bioinformatic approach for studying global properties of the transcriptome. This work led to the discovery how global parameters of the transcriptome, such as the proportion of highly expressed genes, differ between various cell types.

After establishing his lab at the UConn Health, Dr. Trakhtenberg has discovered that, the extent of non-atrophic extra-axonal tissue damage determines the success of experimental axon regeneration stimulated by targeting neuronal intrinsic mechanisms, and identified some of the associated molecular mechanisms. He also was the first to classify retinal ganglion cells into subtypes using single cell transcriptomics, made several discoveries related to cellular subtypes biology, and provided scientific community with RGC Subtypes Gene Browser for studying gene networks and pathways in RGC subtypes. Later, Dr. Trakhtenberg’s lab discovered novel regulators of axon regeneration (Tceal3, Dynlt1a, Lars2), characterized the roles of neuronal Crmp genes in axon regeneration, showed that Rbpms marker of RGCs is also present in stress granules of retinal macrophages after injury, revealed the existence of adult neurons that retained embryonic features and showed that they respond to a treatment by dedifferentiating and regenerating axons, demonstrated that post-injury born oligodendrocytes incorporate into the glial scar and contribute to the inhibition of axon regeneration, and provided scientific community with Oligodendrocytes Gene Browser for studying gene networks in normal and injured optic nerve oligodendrocyte lineage cells.

Dr. Trakhtenberg's discoveries have been published in high quality peer-reviewed journals such as Development, Journal of Neuroscience, Brain Research, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Developmental Neurobiology, Scientific Reports, Experimental Neurology, and Nature Communications. He served as a reviewer for a number of international journals such as Neuropharmacology, PlosOne, IOVS, JNR, Scientific Reports, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Nature Communications, and Nature Medicine, and also served on grant review study sections for the NIH Special Emphasis Panel, DoD Vision Research, and NASA Space Biology programs. Dr. Trakhtenberg's research accomplishments have been recognized through pre- and post-doctoral fellowship awards, junior investigators and travel awards, Lois Pope Best Research Award, and other research awards.

In 2017, Dr. Trakhtenberg was selected by the New York Academy of Sciences and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development to participate at the Interstellar Initiative for “the world's most promising Early Career Investigators”, where along with a collaborator, Dr. Kumiko Hayashi, they won 1st Place Award for a research solution proposal in the field of neuroscience. In 2018, press release on discoveries from a study led by Dr. Trakhtenberg in collaboration with Jackson Laboratory (JAX) was covered in news outlets. In 2019, Dr. Trakhtenberg was spotlighted and recognized for research excellence by UConn Health. In 2023, Dr. Trakhtenberg's recent discoveries were highlighted and selected for an interview published in Development, and press release was covered by the NIH National Eye Institute and news outlets. He also was awarded research grants by the BrightFocus Foundation, the Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBaCS), the Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health (PITCH), the National Institutes of Health (NIH-NEI), and other agencies.

Link to the Neuroscience Graduate Program faculty profile


Dr. Ephraim Trakhtenberg
Neuroregeneration Lab
Department of Neuroscience
UConn Health, School of Medicine
263 Farmington Ave., Room L4005
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-7819



Weekly lab meetings are on Fridays, starting at 3:00 pm, in the conference room L4009.



Left to Right: Agnieszka Lukomska, Ashiti Damania, Matthew Frost, Dr. Ephraim Trakhtenberg (Principal Investigator), William Theune, Mahit Gupta, and Jian Xing from the Neuroregeneration Laboratory at UConn Health.




Agnieszka Lukomska, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Matthew Frost, B.S.

Ph.D. Graduate student

Jian Xing, B.S.

Ph.D. Graduate student

Arnav Balaji

Undergraduate student

Mahit Gupta

Undergraduate Student (SURF & IBaCS Awards)


Anja Kearney

Undergraduate Student (Health Research Program Award)


Sarmad M. Sajid, M.D./M.S. (M.S. Thesis) - 2017-2018. Presently, postdoc at UConn Health.

Juhwan Kim, Ph.D. (Postdoc) - 2017-2019. Presently, at Sunset Animal Hospital.

Amyeo Jereen, B.S. (research assistant) - 2017. Presently, medical student at University of South Florida.

Madeleine Youngstrom, B.S. (rotation) - 2017

Milda Stanislauskas, B.S. (rotation) - 2017

Marc Benoit, B.S. (rotation) - 2018

Omobola Cole, B.S. (rotation) - 2019

Rachel Cohn, B.S. (rotation) - 2019

Jacky Yue Yang, B.S. (Undergraduate research, SURF Award) - 2017-2019. Presently, associate scientist at Radial Therapeutics.

Kathleen Renna, B.S. (Honors Thesis, University Scholar Award) - 2017-2020. Presently, medical student at State University of New York.

Alexela Hoyt, B.S. (Honors Thesis) - 2018-2020. Presently, Ph.D. student at Penn State University.

Emmalyn Lecky, B.S. (Honors Thesis, University Scholar Award) - 2018-2020. Presently, Ph.D. student at Harvard University.

Samantha DeRosa, B.S. (rotation) - 2021

Tyler Steidl, M.S. (M.S. Thesis) - 2020-2021. Presently, medical student at Rutgers University.

Jacob Brady, B.A. (rotation) - 2022

Bruce Rheaume, M.D./Ph.D. (Ph.D. Thesis) - 2018-2022. Presently, medical student at UConn Health.

William Theune, M.S. (rotation) - 2023

Ashiti Damania, B.S. (Honors Thesis, SURF and University Scholar Awards) – 2020-2023. Presently, medical assistant at a clinic.

LAB, JUNE 2019

Right to left: Jian Xing, Bruce Rheaume, Alexela Hoyt, Dr. Ephraim Trakhtenberg (Principal Investigator), Kathleen Renna, Emmalyn Lecky, and Juhwan Kim from the Neuroregeneration Laboratory at UConn Health on May 28, 2019. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)