Jason Lambert , PhD

Instructor · he/him


I have always been fascinated with how the natural world works, especially how life evolves and functions. I got my start in research at Southern Oregon University, using molecular biology techniques to identify ectomycorrhizal fungi growing in the root tips of oak trees. After completing my bachelor's degree at SOU, I moved on to the University of California Davis where I earned my Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. While working on my Ph.D., I studied the development of synapses in the hippocampus. Using tagged proteins and fluorescent microscopy, I tracked the recruitment of scaffolding proteins into newly formed synaptic structures in live, cultured brain tissue from mice and rats. It may seem like quite a leap from plant and fungal ecology to cellular neuroscience, but I found that while the questions were different, the tools were quite similar. In both areas, I was manipulating and sequencing DNA and observing changes in small structures using a microscope.

While working on my postdoctoral research, I also began teaching biology and genetics at Sacramento State University. I quickly gained an appreciation for how technology has changed the way we teach and learn in the decade since I left college (and that's not just a euphemism for remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic!). I've become intrigued by the advantages and challenges of remote and hybrid approaches to college teaching, and I've been excited to apply many of the lessons I've learned from 2+ years of teaching remotely.

Outside of the lab and classroom, much of my time is spent with my family. My wife, son, and I can often be found walking the trails near our house or visiting the local library. If I'm on my own, you can bet I'm probably tinkering with an old computer or electronics project or trying to catch up on my backlog of books I want to read.

Research Interests

My current research interests revolve around how cells in the brain wire themselves up into complex circuits, and how mistakes with those mechanisms result in neurodevelopmental disorders. My most recent projects have used next-generation RNA and DNA sequencing methods to perform massively parallel reporter assays of transcriptional regulation in the mouse brain, screening for enhancer elements implicated in autism.

Recent Publications

Lambert, J. T. & Nord, A. S., (2022) Gene regulatory networks in brain development. Neuroscience in the 21st Century 3rdEdition, Springer. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6434-1_183-1

Warren, T., Lambert, J. T.*, Nord, A. S.*, (2022) AAV deployment of enhancer-based expression constructs in vivo in mouse brain. JoVE. doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.3791/62650
*Co-corresponding authors.

Lambert, J. T., Su-Feher, L., Cichewicz, K., Warren, T., Zdiilar, I., Wang, Y., Lim, K. J., Haigh, J. L., Morse, S. J., Canales, C. P., Stradleigh, T. W., Palacios, E. C., Haghani, V., Moss, S., Parolini, H., Quintero, D., Shrestha, D., Vogt, D., Byrne, L. C., Nord, A. S., (2021) Parallel functional testing identifies enhancers active in early postnatal mouse brain. eLife 10(e69479).doi: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.69479  

Haigh, J. L., Adhikari, A., Copping, N. A., Stradleigh, T., Wade, A. A., Catta-Preta, R., Su-Feher, L., Zdilar, I., Morse, S., Fenton, T. A., Nguyen, A., Quintero, D., Sramek, M., Carter, J., Gompers, A., Lambert, J. T., Canales, C. P., Pennacchio, L. A., Visel, A., Dickel, D. E., Silverman, J. L., Nord, A. S, (2021) Deletion of a non-canonical promoter regulatory element causes loss of Scn1a expression and epileptic phenotypes in mice. Genome Medicine 13(69). doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00884-0

Lambert, J. T., Haigh, J. L., Nord, A. S. (2020) Gene regulatory networks controlling neuronal development. Patterning and Cell Type Specification in the Developing CNS and PNS. Elsevier; p. 699–730. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-814405-3.00027-8

Lambert, J. T., Hill, T. C., Culp, J. C., Zito, K., (2017) Protracted and asynchronous accumulation of PSD95-family MAGUKs during maturation of nascent dendritic spines. Developmental Neurobiology 77(10): p. 1161-1174. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/dneu.22503

Hamilton, A. M., Lambert, J. T., Parajuli, L. K., Vivas, O., Park, D. K., Stein, I. S., Jahnke, J. N., Greenberg, M. E., Margolis, S. S., Zito, K., (2017) A dual role for the RhoGEF Ephexin5 in regulation of dendritic spine outgrowth. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 80: p. 66-74. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcn.2017.02.001