Marc R. Freeman, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Vollum Institute
  • Director and Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


Marc Freeman is director of the Vollum Institute. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1993. He carried out his doctoral training in the laboratory of John Carlson at Yale University and obtained his Ph.D. in Biology in 1999. Freeman trained as a postdoctoral associate with Chris Q. Doe at the University of Oregon from 1999–2004. He started his laboratory in the Department of Neurobiology at The University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2004, focusing on glia-neuron interactions in the healthy and diseased brain. In 2016, Freeman joined the Vollum Institute.

Neurons are not alone in the nervous system; glial cells constitute the majority of the cells in the human brain. Despite their abundance, surprisingly little is known about how glia develop or function in the mature nervous system. The Freeman Lab uses the fruit fly Drosophila as a model to explore fundamental aspects of glial cell biology. Defining the precise roles that glia play will be a crucial step if we wish to understand how the nervous system is assembled, functions to drive animal behavior, and is maintained in a healthy state for the life of an animal.

Education and training

    • B.S., 1993, Eastern Connecticut State University
    • Ph.D., 1999, Yale University

Areas of interest

  • glia
  • axon
  • Wallerian degeneration
  • neuron-glia signaling
  • astrocytes
  • neurodegeneration
  • Drosophila

Honors and awards

  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2005)
  • Early Career Scientist Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2009)
  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2013-2016)



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