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.

Marie Profile Shot

Current Members

Amanda profile shot

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

BSc in Chemistry. Syracuse University; PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology. Cornell University

Ryan’s research interests have

always focused on various ways neuronal communication is regulated in the central nervous system (CNS). His doctoral research at Cornell University examined small molecule modulation of ligand-gated ion channel kinetics, with a focus on the synthesis and identification of novel GABAA receptor modulators. His first postdoctoral research position at the University of Edinburgh examined how neuronal voltage-gated channel activity, particularly potassium channels, are altered by the AMP kinase pathway in response to cellular energy levels. Ryan is now excited to investigate the formation, regulation and dynamics of myelin size and shape. He looks forward to contributing his biophysical and neuroscience background to help advance our understanding of the newly emerging role myelin size and shape likely plays in regulating neuronal circuit synchronization and timing throughout the CNS.

Lab Photos

lab lunch outing to celebrate Amanda's qual

Cheers to qualifying exam success!

joint lab outing to Tim's pumpkin patch

October is here...

joint lab outing to Tim's pumpkin patch and enjoying some cider

Cider, Pumpkin Funnel Cakes, & Corn Mazes!