Ruxandra F. Sîrbulescu, Dr.
Research Associate

Room: 407 Mugar Life Sciences
Phone: 617-373-2524



Academic Education:

B.Sc., Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Integrated Social and Cognitive Psychology (Combined Program), International University Bremen, Germany (2006)

M.Sc., Molecular Biology, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany (2007)

Dr., Cell Biology, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany (2010)

Professional Appointments:

Research Associate, Northeastern University, Boston, MA (2010-)

Research Interests:

I am interested in understanding fundamental aspects of the activity and plasticity of the central nervous system using a systems or whole-organism approach.

My past research has involved topics as varied as the model organisms that I have had the privilege of working with: social interactions through chirping in weakly electric fish; the effects of the phase of the estrous cycle on learning and memory in Djungarian hamsters; response synchronization of sensory neurons in the visual cortex of cats; the impact of cathepsin K deficiency on the central nervous system in mice; and mitotic segregation defects during cell proliferation in the brain of adult zebrafish.

The focus of my recent research has been the extraordinary capacity for central nervous system regeneration that characterizes adult teleost fish. I have used the weakly electric brown ghost knifefish (Apteronotus leptorhynchus) as an excellent model of structural and functional regeneration after spinal cord injury. Currently, I am involved in a series of projects addressing various aspects of central nervous system regeneration, from modifications at the cellular and molecular level, to the dynamics of behavioral recovery.

Other Interests:

I enjoy nature and outdoor activities, trekking in and around the greater Boston area, and observing the urban wildlife. Whenever the weather is not sufficiently friendly, I’m at my home desk, reading or painting, with a cup of good chai and some allegro music in the background.

Scientific Publications:

Zupanc, G.K.H., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Nichols, A., Ilies, I.: Electric interactions through chirping behavior in the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 192, 159-173 (2006), doi:10.1007/s00359-005-0058-5

Zupanc, G.K.H., Wellbrock, U.M., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Rajendran, R.S.: Generation, long-term persistence, and neuronal differentiation of cells with nuclear aberrations in the adult zebrafish brain. Neuroscience 159, 1338-1348 (2009), doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.02.014

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Ilieş, I., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Structural and functional regeneration after spinal cord injury in the weakly electric teleost fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 195, 699-714 (2009), doi:10.1007/s00359-009-0445-4

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Dynamics of caspase-3-mediated apoptosis during spinal cord regeneration in the teleost fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Brain Research 1304, 14-25 (2009), doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.09.071

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Effect of temperature on spinal cord regeneration in the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 196, 359-368 (2010), doi:10.1007/s00359-010-0521-9

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Inhibition of caspase-3-mediated apoptosis improves spinal cord repair in a regeneration-competent vertebrate system. Neuroscience 171, 599-612 (2010), doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.09.002

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Spinal cord repair in regeneration-competent vertebrates: adult teleost fish as a model system. Brain Research Reviews 67, 73-93 (2011), doi:10.1016/j.brainresrev.2010.11.001

Dauth, S., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Jordans, S., Rehders, M., Avena, L., Oswald, J., Lerchl, A., Saftig, P., Brix, K.: Cathepsin K deficiency in mice induces structural and metabolic changes in the central nervous system that are associated with learning and memory deficits. BMC Neuroscience 12, 12-74 (2011), doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-74

Zupanc, G.K.H., Sîrbulescu, R.F.: Adult neurogenesis and neuronal regeneration in the central nervous system of teleost fish. European Journal of Neuroscience 34, 917-929 (2011), doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07854.x

Zupanc, G.K.H., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Ilieş, I.: Radial glia in the cerebellum of adult teleost fish: Implications for the guidance of migrating new neurons. Neuroscience 210, 416-430 (2012), doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.03.012

Teles, M.C., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Wellbrock, U.M., Oliveira, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Adult neurogenesis in the brain of the Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 198, 427-449 (2012), doi:10.1007/s00359-012-0721-6

Zupanc, G.K.H., Sîrbulescu, R.F.: Teleost fish as a model system to study successful regeneration of the central nervous system. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 367, 193-233 (2013), doi:10.1007/82_2012_297

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Neuronal regeneration. In: Evans, D.H., Claiborne, J.B., Currie, S. (eds.), The Physiology of Fishes, Fourth Edition, pp. 405-441. CRC Press, Boca Raton (2013)

Zupanc, G.K.H., Ilieş, I., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, M.M.: Large-scale identification of proteins involved in the development of a sexually dimorphic behavior. Journal of Neurophysiology 111, 1646-1654 (2014), doi:10.1152/jn.00750.2013

Traniello, I.M., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Ilieş, I., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Age-related changes in stem cell dynamics, neurogenesis, apoptosis, and gliosis in the adult brain: A novel teleost fish model of negligible senescence. Developmental Neurobiology 74, 514-530 (2014), doi:10.1002/dneu.22145

Ilieş, I., Traniello, I.M., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Determination of relative age using growth increments of scales as a minimally invasive method in the tropical freshwater Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Journal of Fish Biology 84, 1312-1325 (2014), doi:10.1111/jfb.12354

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Ilieş, I., Zupanc G.K.H.: Quantitative analysis reveals dominance of gliogenesis over neurogenesis in an adult brainstem oscillator. Developmental Neurobiology 74, 932-952 (2014), doi:10.1002/dneu.22176

Ilieş, I., Sîrbulescu, R.F., Zupanc, G.K.H.: Indeterminate body growth and lack of gonadal decline in the brown ghost knifefish (Apteronotus leptorhynchus), an organism exhibiting negligible brain senescence. Canadian Journal of Zoology 92, 947-953 (2014), doi:10.1139/cjz-2014-0109

Sîrbulescu, R.F., Ilieş, I., Vitalo, A.G., Trull, K., Zhu, J., Traniello, I.M., Zupanc G.K.H.: Adult stem cells in the knifefish cerebellum. Developmental Neurobiology 75, 39-65 (2015), doi:10.1002/dneu.22210

Zupanc G.K.H., Sîrbulescu, R.F.: Cell replacement therapy: lessons from teleost fish. Experimental Neurology 263, 272-276 (2015), doi:10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.10.006

Find my publications on PubMed

  • Contact

    Department of Biology
    134 Mugar Life Sciences

    Northeastern University
    360 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115

    Phone: 617-373-2524
    Fax: 617-373-3724