Marie Bechler, PI

Dr. Marie Bechler joined the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at SUNY Upstate Medical University as an Assistant Professor in Dec. 2019.


Marie received her B.S. in Biochemistry in 2003 from The University of Wisconsin - Madison. As a graduate student she worked with Dr. William J. Brown, focusing on fundamental questions of cellular organization by examining mechanisms of intracellular trafficking. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University in 2011. Her interest in cellular shape and organization continued in her postdoctoral research with Dr. Charles ffrench-Constant at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh. Her work focused on determining what instructs the elaborate cell shape change that controls CNS myelin sheath formation.


During her postdoc, Marie made the surprising discovery that oligodendrocytes only require physical cues to create myelin sheaths with equivalent architecture to myelin sheaths in vivo, challenging the predominant view that myelin sheath formation is solely initiated by biochemical cues. This established a previously unappreciated role for oligodendrocytes in self-control of myelin sheath formation. The goal of her lab is to define the mechanosensitive and developmentally programmed signals that allow oligodendrocytes generate myelin sheaths reflecting their in vivo origin. The overarching aim is to gain insight into nervous system function and inform strategies to treat neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

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Current Members


Amanda Young

Graduate student

Amanda is a graduate student in the Cell and Developmental biology PhD program.  Prior to joining the graduate program here at Upstate, she earned her BS from SUNY Geneseo in 2019.

As part of the team, her interests are in the mechanisms that locally control myelin sheath growth.

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Ryan Lewis

Research Assistant

(more info to come!)