Leah Krubitzer

Leah Krubitzer Portrait

Position Title

Center for Neuroscience


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Vanderbilt University, 1989
  • B.S., Speech Pathology, Pennsylvania State University, 1983


In addition to her academic appointment, Leah Krubitzer heads the Laboratory of Evolutionary Neurobiology at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience. She studies how complex brains, such as those in humans, are built from simpler forms. She has also served on the editorial boards of many publications, including Brain, Behavior and Evolution, Evolution of Nervous Systems, Elsevier Science, International Review in Neurobiology, Journal of Comparative Neurology, and Visual Neuroscience.

Research Focus

Professor Krubitzer‘s research examines the anatomical connections and electrophysiological properties of neurons in the neocortex, the portion of the brain responsible for perception, cognition, learning and memory. Through comparative studies, it is possible to determine which features of the neocortex are shared by all mammals and how new features have been added throughout the course of evolution. In this way, Professor Krubitzer can reconstruct the evolution of the neocortex and its relationship to anatomical and functional specializations.



  • Krubitzer, L. (2007) The magnificent compromise: Cortical field evolution in mammals. Neuron. 56:201-208. PMID: 17964240
  • Krubitzer, L. A., & Seelke, A. M. H. (2012) Cortical evolution in mammals: The bane and beauty of phenotypic variability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 109:10647-10654. PMCID: PMC338688
  • Krubitzer, L., & Stolzenberg, D. S. (2014). The evolutionary masquerade: Genetic and epigenetic contributions to the neocortex. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 24C:157-165 PMID: 24492091
  • Dooley, J. C., Franca, J. G., Seelke, A. M. H., Cook, D. F., & Krubitzer, L. A. (2013). A connection to the past: Monodelphis domestica provides insight into the organization and connectivity of the brains of early mammals. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 521:3877-3897. PMCID: PMC3959876
  • Cooke, D. F., Goldring, A. B., Baldwin, M. K. L., Recanzone, G. H., Chen, A., Pan, T., Simon, S. I., & Krubitzer, L. (2014). Reversible deactivation of higher order posterior parietal areas I: Alternations of receptive field characteristics in early stages of neocortical processing. Journal of Neurophysiology. 112:2545-2560. PMCID: PMC4233270


Professor Krubitzer teaches in the areas of Biological Psychology. She has taught courses in Physiological Psychology and Comparative Neuroanatomy.


Professor Krubitzer has won a number of awards, including a MacAruthur Fellowship awarded in 1998. She has also received the 1996 Herrick Award from the American Association of Anatomists and the 1999 Special Lecture for the Society for Neuroscience Meeting. From 2002 to 2003, she was awarded the James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Fellowship and the Bloedel Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the University of Washington. She received the Vanderbilt University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and, in 2012, she received the Dean’s Innovation Award, Division of Social Sciences, from UC Davis.