mechanisms of neuronal survival

Why do some neurons survive a lifetime while others succumb to neurodegeneration?

Stress-sensing pathways in Neurons

 How does a neuron detect a cellular stress and how can we block this process?

Neuro-immune interactions

 How are neurons protected from inflammatory damage and how do these protections break down in disease?


Selected Publications


Wang G*, SIMON DJ*, Wu Z, Heller E, O’Rourke MK, Hertz NT, Molina H, Zhong G, Tessier-Lavigne M, Zhuang, X. Structural plasticity of actin-spectrin membrane skeleton and functional role of actin and spectrin in axon degeneration.  eLife. 2019; 8:e38730.

SIMON DJ and Watkins TA. Therapeutic opportunities and pitfalls in the treatment of axon degeneration. Curr. Opin. Neurol. 2018; 31(6):693-701.

SIMON DJ*, Pitts J*, Hertz NT, Yang J, Yamagishi Y, Olsen O, Tessic Mark M, Molina H, Tessier-Lavigne M. Axon degeneration gated by retrograde activation of somatic pro-apoptotic signaling. Cell. 2016; 164(5):1031-45.

Renier N*, Wu Z*, SIMON DJ, Yang J, Ariel P, Tessier-Lavigne M. iDISCO: a simple method for immunolabeling of large tissue samples for volume imaging. Cell. 2014; 159(4):896-910.

SIMON DJ, Weimer RM, McLaughin T, Kallop D, Stanger K, Yang J, O’Leary DDM, Hannoush RN, Tessier-Lavigne M. A caspase cascade regulating developmental axon degeneration. J.Neurosci2012; 32(49):17540-53.

SIMON DJ*, Madison JM*, Conery AL, Thompson-Peer KL, Soskis M, Ruvkun GB, Kaplan JM, Kim JK.  The microRNA miR-1 regulates a MEF-2-dependent retrograde signal at neuromuscular junctions. Cell. 2008; 133(5):903-15.

Click for complete list of publications 





Lab Members

Interested in joining the lab?

We are recruiting graduate students, postdocs, and research technicians interested in molecular neurobiology and neuro-immune interactions. Positions for undergraduate students are also available.

Prospective graduate students can apply via the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Contact David Simon (


David J. Simon, Ph.D.  Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

David J. Simon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry




Chongzhen Yuan, Ph.D.  Postdoctoral Associate

Chongzhen Yuan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Christine Ohn, B.S.  Research Technician

Christine Ohn, B.S.

Research Technician