Professor Ellen Carpenter of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine is the new director of the Neuroscience Undergraduate Interdepartmental Program in the Life Sciences Division of the College of Letters and Science.

On faculty since 1996, Carpenter also serves as director of the Project Brainstorm outreach program in which UCLA neuroscience students teach neuroscience basics in local elementary, middle schools and high schools. She is also assistant director of outreach for the UCLA Brain Research Institute. Carpenter received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching Award in 2007 from the Department of Psychiatry.

Carpenter conducts research focusing on the role of the reelin signaling pathway, part of the central nervous system, in embryonic development. Reductions in the expression and activity of the reelin protein have been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and autism. Carpenter’s research team has also established that reelin signaling plays a role in the spread of breast cancer. Carpenter received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Chicago and did postdoctoral training in biology and human genetics at the University of Utah.