Team

Staff Profiles

Staci Sorensen, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Neuroanatomy

Staci Sorensen joined the Allen Institute as a postdoc in 2008 to explore the relationship between anatomically- and genetically-defined cell types in mouse neocortex. Currently, as a Scientist II in the Mouse Cell Types group, she is investigating the range of morphologically-defined cell types in the primary visual cortex and the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus. This is part of a larger effort to understand the functional components that make up the visual thalamocortical circuit. Before coming to the Allen Institute, she earned her doctoral degree in Neurobiology and Behavior working with Ed Rubel at the University of Washington. The focus of her research was to understand the role of neuronal input in the dynamic regulation of dendritic structure in the chick auditory system. She earned her B.S. in psychology at the University of Washington, and worked with Jaime Olavarria and Theresa Jones to study the effects of visual experience on the development of callosal structure in the rat visual cortex.

Research

Research Interests

Research Interests I am interested in understanding how the brain develops, how it is organized, and how its structure is regulated throughout life. Questions of particular interest to my current work relate to the organization and development of the mouse visual system and the neocortex. I am part of a large effort at the Allen Institute focused on understanding the diversity of cell types in the primary visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus. Though it is well accepted that multiple cellular properties must be used to define a cell type, my work focuses on describing cells from a morphological perspective. To do this, we use high resolution brightfield and fluorescence microscopy (multi-photon and resonant confocal) in combination with in vitro and in vivo single cell labeling methods. From montaged, multi-plane 2D images we generate a 3D structural description of individual neurons. These descriptions will be used in combination with other data to answer questions such as: How many different cell types exist in these brain regions? What are their morphologies? Across cell types, how does morphology relate to physiology, gene expression, connectivity and function? This work will help us to better understand how the mouse visual system is organized, and also to identify the features that are essential to define a cell type. I also lead a smaller project at the Institute related to characterizing cortico-cortical axon development across neonatal time points in the mouse cortex. For this work, referred to as the Developmental Connectivity Project, multiple cortical brain regions are labeled by Cre-dependent and Cre-independent adeno-associated viruses in layer-specific transgenic mouse lines. These data will give us a better understanding of how gene-defined and anatomically-defined projection neuron classes develop relative to one another within and across brain regions. It will also complement the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas, which already contains a large number of cortical datasets from adult wildtype and transgenic mice.

Expertise

  • Neuroanatomy
  • Development
  • Sensory Systems

Research Programs

  • Mouse Cell Types

Selected Publications View Publications

Signature morpho-electric, transcriptomic, and dendritic properties of human layer 5 neocortical pyramidal neurons

Neuron
September 15, 2021

Kalmbach BE, Hodge RD, Jorstad NL, Owen S, de Frates R, Yanny AM, Dalley R, Mallory M, Graybuck LT, Radaelli C, Keene CD, Gwinn RP, Silbergeld DL, Cobbs C, Ojemann JG, Ko AL, Patel AP, Ellenbogen RG, Bakken TE, Daigle TL, Dee N, Lee BR, McGraw M, Nicovich PR, Smith K, Sorensen SA, Tasic B, Zeng H, Koch C, Lein ES, Ting JT

Scaled, high fidelity electrophysiological, morphological, and transcriptomic cell characterization

eLife
August 13, 2021

Lee BR, Budzillo A, Hadley K, Miller JA, Jarsky T, Baker K, Hill D, Kim L, Mann R, Ng L, Oldre A, Rajanbabu R, Trinh J, Vargas S, Braun T, Dalley RA, Gouwens NW, Kalmbach BE, Kim TK, Smith KA, Soler-Llavina G, Sorensen S, Tasic B, Ting JT, Lein E, Zeng H, Murphy GJ, Berg J

Comparative cellular analysis of motor cortex in human, marmoset and mouse

Nature
October 6, 2021

Bakken TE, Jorstad NL, Hu Q, Lake BB, Tian W, Kalmbach BE, Crow M, Hodge RD, Krienen FM, Sorensen SA, Eggermont J, Yao Z, Aevermann BD, Aldridge AI, Bartlett A, Bertagnolli D, Casper T, Castanon RG, Crichton K, Daigle TL, Dalley R, Dee N, Dembrow N, Diep D, Ding SL, Dong W, Fang R, Fischer S, Goldman M, Goldy J, Graybuck LT, Herb BR, Hou X, Kancherla J, Kroll M, Lathia K, van Lew B, Li YE, Liu CS, Liu H, Lucero JD, Mahurkar A, McMillen D, Miller JA, Moussa M, Nery JR, Nicovich PR, Niu SY, Orvis J, Osteen JK, Owen S, Palmer CR, Pham T, Plongthongkum N, Poirion O, Reed NM, Rimorin C, Rivkin A, Romanow WJ, Sedeño-Cortés AE, Siletti K, Somasundaram S, Sulc J, Tieu M, Torkelson A, Tung H, Wang X, Xie F, Yanny AM, Zhang R, Ament SA, Behrens MM, Bravo HC, Chun J, Dobin A, Gillis J, Hertzano R, Hof PR, Höllt T, Horwitz GD, Keene CD, Kharchenko PV, Ko AL, Lelieveldt BP, Luo C, Mukamel EA, Pinto-Duarte A, Preissl S, Regev A, Ren B, Scheuermann RH, Smith K, Spain WJ, White OR, Koch C, Hawrylycz M, Tasic B, Macosko EZ, McCarroll SA, Ting JT, Zeng H, Zhang K, Feng G, Ecker JR, Linnarsson S, Lein ES

Morphological diversity of single neurons in molecularly defined cell types

Nature
October 6, 2021

Peng H, Xie P, Liu L, Kuang X, Wang Y, Qu L, Gong H, Jiang S, Li A, Ruan Z, Ding L, Yao Z, Chen C, Chen M, Daigle TL, Dalley R, Ding Z, Duan Y, Feiner A, He P, Hill C, Hirokawa KE, Hong G, Huang L, Kebede S, Kuo HC, Larsen R, Lesnar P, Li L, Li Q, Li X, Li Y, Li Y, Liu A, Lu D, Mok S, Ng L, Nguyen TN, Ouyang Q, Pan J, Shen E, Song Y, Sunkin SM, Tasic B, Veldman MB, Wakeman W, Wan W, Wang P, Wang Q, Wang T, Wang Y, Xiong F, Xiong W, Xu W, Ye M, Yin L, Yu Y, Yuan J, Yuan J, Yun Z, Zeng S, Zhang S, Zhao S, Zhao Z, Zhou Z, Huang ZJ, Esposito L, Hawrylycz MJ, Sorensen SA, Yang XW, Zheng Y, Gu Z, Xie W, Koch C, Luo Q, Harris JA, Wang Y, Zeng H

Human neocortical expansion involves glutamatergic neuron diversification

Nature
October 6, 2021

Berg J, Sorensen SA, Ting JT, Miller JA, Chartrand T, Buchin A, Bakken TE, Budzillo A, Dee N, Ding SL, Gouwens NW, Hodge RD, Kalmbach B, Lee C, Lee BR, Alfiler L, Baker K, Barkan E, Beller A, Berry K, Bertagnolli D, Bickley K, Bomben J, Braun T, Brouner K, Casper T, Chong P, Crichton K, Dalley R, de Frates R, Desta T, Lee SD, D'Orazi F, Dotson N, Egdorf T, Enstrom R, Farrell C, Feng D, Fong O, Furdan S, Galakhova AA, Gamlin C, Gary A, Glandon A, Goldy J, Gorham M, Goriounova NA, Gratiy S, Graybuck L, Gu H, Hadley K, Hansen N, Heistek TS, Henry AM, Heyer DB, Hill D, Hill C, Hupp M, Jarsky T, Kebede S, Keene L, Kim L, Kim MH, Kroll M, Latimer C, Levi BP, Link KE, Mallory M, Mann R, Marshall D, Maxwell M, McGraw M, McMillen D, Melief E, Mertens EJ, Mezei L, Mihut N, Mok S, Molnar G, Mukora A, Ng L, Ngo K, Nicovich PR, Nyhus J, Olah G, Oldre A, Omstead V, Ozsvar A, Park D, Peng H, Pham T, Pom CA, Potekhina L, Rajanbabu R, Ransford S, Reid D, Rimorin C, Ruiz A, Sandman D, Sulc J, Sunkin SM, Szafer A, Szemenyei V, Thomsen ER, Tieu M, Torkelson A, Trinh J, Tung H, Wakeman W, Waleboer F, Ward K, Wilbers R, Williams G, Yao Z, Yoon JG, Anastassiou C, Arkhipov A, Barzo P, Bernard A, Cobbs C, de Witt Hamer PC, Ellenbogen RG, Esposito L, Ferreira M, Gwinn RP, Hawrylycz MJ, Hof PR, Idema S, Jones AR, Keene CD, Ko AL, Murphy GJ, Ng L, Ojemann JG, Patel AP, Phillips JW, Silbergeld DL, Smith K, Tasic B, Yuste R, Segev I, de Kock CPJ, Mansvelder HD, Tamas G, Zeng H, Koch C, Lein ES

A multimodal cell census and atlas of the mammalian primary motor cortex

Nature
October 6, 2021

BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN)

Integrated Morphoelectric and Transcriptomic Classification of Cortical GABAergic Cells

Cell
November 12, 2020

Gouwens NW, Sorensen SA, Baftizadeh F, Budzillo A, Lee BR, Jarsky T, Alfiler L, Baker K, Barkan E, Berry K, Bertagnolli D, Bickley K, Bomben J, Braun T, Brouner K, Casper T, Crichton K, Daigle TL, Dalley R, de Frates RA, Dee N, Desta T, Lee SD, Dotson N, Egdorf T, Ellingwood L, Enstrom R, Esposito L, Farrell C, Feng D, Fong O, Gala R, Gamlin C, Gary A, Glandon A, Goldy J, Gorham M, Graybuck L, Gu H, Hadley K, Hawrylycz MJ, Henry AM, Hill D, Hupp M, Kebede S, Kim TK, Kim L, Kroll M, Lee C, Link KE, Mallory M, Mann R, Maxwell M, McGraw M, McMillen D, Mukora A, Ng L, Ng L, Ngo K, Nicovich PR, Oldre A, Park D, Peng H, Penn O, Pham T, Pom A, Popović Z, Potekhina L, Rajanbabu R, Ransford S, Reid D, Rimorin C, Robertson M, Ronellenfitch K, Ruiz A, Sandman D, Smith K, Sulc J, Sunkin SM, Szafer A, Tieu M, Torkelson A, Trinh J, Tung H, Wakeman W, Ward K, Williams G, Zhou Z, Ting JT, Arkhipov A, Sümbül U, Lein ES, Koch C, Yao Z, Tasic B, Berg J, Murphy GJ, Zeng H

Classification of electrophysiological and morphological neuron types in mouse visual cortex

Nature Neuroscience
June 17, 2019

Gouwens NW, Sorensen SA, Berg J, Lee C, Jarsky T, Ting J, Sunkin S, Feng D, Anastassiou C, Barkan E, Bickley K, Blesie N, Braun T, Brouner K, Budzillo A, Caldejon S, Casper T, Castelli D, Chong P, Crichton K, Cuhaciyan C, Daigle T, Dalley R, Dee N, Desta T, Dingman S, Doperalski A, Dotson N, Egdorf T, Fisher M, de Frates RA, Garren E, Garwood M, Gary A, Gaudreault N, Godfrey K, Gorham M, Gu H, Habel C, Hadley K, Harrington J, Harris J, Henry A, Hill D, Josephsen S, Kebede S, Kim L, Kroll M, Lee B, Lemon T, Liu X, Long B, Mann R, McGraw M, Mihalas S, Mukora A, Murphy GJ, Ng L, Ngo K, Nguyen TN, Nicovich PR, Oldre A, Park D, Parry S, Perkins J, Potekhina L, Reid D, Robertson M, Sandman D, Schroedter M, Slaughterbeck C, Soler-Llavina C, Sulc J, Szafer A, Tasic B, Taskin N, Teeter C, Thatra N, Tung H, Wakeman W, Williams G, Young R, Zhou Z, Farrell C, Peng H, Hawrylycz MJ, Lein E, Ng L, Arkhipov A, Bernard A, Phillips J, Zeng H, Koch C

Hierarchical organization of cortical and thalamic connectivity

Nature
October 30, 2019

Harris JA, Mihalas S, Hirokawa KE, Whitesell JD, Choi H, Bernard A, Bohn P, Caldejon S, Casal L, Cho A, Feiner A, Feng D, Gaudreault N, Gerfen CR, Graddis N, Groblewski PA, Henry AM, Ho A, Howard R, Knox JE, Kuan L, Kuang X, Lecoq J, Lesnar P, Li Y, Luviano J, McConoughey S, Mortrud MT, Naeemi M, Ng L, Oh SW, Ouellette B, Shen E, Sorensen SA, Wakeman W2, Wang Q2, Wang Y, Williford A, Phillips JW, Jones AR, Koch C, Zeng H

The organization of intracortical connections by layer and cell class in the mouse brain

bioRxiv
April 18, 2018

Harris JA, Mihalas S, Hirokawa KE, Whitesell JD, Knox J, Bernard A, Bohn P, Caldejon S, Casal L, Cho A, Feng D, Gaudreault N, Gerfen C, Graddis N, Groblewski PA, Henry A, Ho A, Howard R, Kuan L, Lecoq J, Luviano J, McConoughey S, Mortrud M, Naeemi M, Ng L, Oh SW, Ouellette B, Sorensen SA, Wakeman W, Wang Q, Williford A, Phillips J, Jones A, Koch C, Zeng H

Systematic generation of biophysically detailed models for diverse cortical neuron types

Nature Communications
February 19, 2018

Gouwens NW, Berg J, Feng D, Sorensen SA, Zeng H, Hawrylycz MJ, Koch C, and Arkhipov A

Visual physiology of the Layer 4 cortical circuit in silico

PLoS Computational Biology
November 12, 2018

Arkhipov A, Gouwens NW, Billeh YN, Gratiy S, Iyer R, Wei Z, Xu Z, Berg J, Buice M, Cain N, da Costa N, de Vries S, Denman D, Durand S, Feng D, Jarsky T, Lecoq J, Lee B, Li L, Mihalas S, Ocker GK, Olsen SR, Reid RC, Soler-LLavina G, Sorensen SA, Wang Q, Waters J, Scanziani M, Koch C

Anatomical characterization of cre driver mice for neural circuit mapping and manipulation

Frontiers in Neural Circuits
July 10, 2014

Harris JA, Hirokawa KE, Sorensen SA, Gu H, Mills M, Ng LL, Bohn P, Mortrud M, Ouellette B, Kidney J, Smith KA, Dang C, Sunkin S, Bernard A, Oh SW, Madisen L, Zeng H.

A mesoscale connectome of the mouse brain

Nature
April 2, 2014

Oh SW, Harris JA, Ng L, Winslow B, Cain N, Mihalas S, Wang Q, Lau C, Kuan L, Henry AM, Mortrud MT, Ouellette B, Nguyen TN, Sorensen SA, Slaughterbeck CR, Wakeman W, Li Y, Feng D, Ho A, Nicholas E, Hirokawa KE, Bohn P, Joines KM, Peng H, Hawrylycz MJ, Phillips JW, Hohmann JG, Wohnoutka P, Gerfen CR, Koch C, Bernard A, Dang C, Jones AR, Zeng H

Correlated gene expression and target specificity demonstrate excitatory projection neuron diversity

Cerebral Cortex
September 7, 2013

Sorensen SA, Bernard A, Menon V, Royall JJ, Glattfelder KJ, Hirokawa K, Mortrud M, Miller JA, Zeng H, Hohmann JG, Jones AR, Lein ES

Relative input strength rapidly regulates dendritic structure of chick auditory brainstem neurons

Journal of Comparative Neurology
October 2011

Sorensen SA, Rubel EW

Shifting the paradigm: New approaches for characterizing and classifying neurons

Current Opinion in Neurobiology
October 2009

Bernard A, Sorensen S, Lein E

The level and integrity of synaptic input regulates dendrite structure

Journal of Neuroscience
February 2006

Sorensen SA, Rubel EW