Sascha du Lac, Ph.D.

Headshot of Sascha du Lac
  • Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Research Interests

Neuroplasticity; Systems Neuroscience; Vestibular System; Cerebellum; Eye Movements more


Sascha du Lac, Ph.D. received her doctoral degree in Neurosciences from Stanford University.  As a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, she established a multidisciplinary research program to investigate mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity at multiple levels of analysis from behavior through cellular neurophysiology and gene expression.  Prior to moving her laboratory to Johns Hopkins University in 2013, Dr. du Lac was an Associate Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla California and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Her laboratory in the JHU Center for Hearing and Balance studies signaling and plasticity in cerebellar, vestibular, and oculomotor circuits using multidisciplinary techniques in mice that include quantitative behavioral analyses, in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology and optogenetics, circuit tracing, and single cell gene expression profiling. more


  • Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes

  • Hearing and Balance, Center for



  • Ph.D.; Stanford University (California) (1989)
  • B.A.; University of Chicago (Illinois) (1982)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The du Lac laboratory studies systems and cellular mechanisms of signaling and plasticity in cerebellar and brainstem circuits responsible for balance and eye movements.  Experimental strategies taking advantage of mouse molecular genetic tools include quantitative behavioral analyses, optogenetic manipulation of specific neuronal populations, in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, circuit tracing, and single cell gene expression profiling.  Research into fundamental mechanisms of function, dysfunction, and plasticity in brainstem and cerebellar microcircuits aims to provide a foundation for improving clinical treatments of dizziness, balance disorders, and nystagmus.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Kattah JC, Tehrani AS, du Lac S, Newman-Toker DE, Zee DS.  Conversion of upbeat to downbeat nystagmus in Wernicke encephalopathy. Neurology. 2018 Oct 23;91(17):790-796. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006385. PMID: 30348852

Nelson AB, Faulstich M, Moghadam S, Onori K, Meredith A, du Lac S. BK Channels Are Required for Multisensory Plasticity in the Oculomotor System. Neuron. 2017 Jan 4;93(1):211-220. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.11.019. Epub 2016 Dec 15. PMID: 27989457 

Kim SH, Zee DS, du Lac S, Kim HJ, Kim JS. Nucleus prepositus hypoglossi lesions produce a unique ocular motor syndrome. Neurology. 2016 Nov 8;87(19):2026-2033. Epub 2016 Oct 12. PMID: 27733568

Ehmsen JT, Liu Y, Wang Y, Paladugu N, Johnson AE, Rothstein JD, du Lac S, Mattson MP, Hoke A. The astrocytic transporter SLC7A10 (Asc-1) mediates glycinergic inhibition of spinal cord motor neurons. Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 19;6:35592. doi: 10.1038/srep35592. PMID: 27759100 

Bigelow RT, Semenov YR, Anson E, du Lac S, Ferrucci L, Agrawal Y. Impaired Vestibular Function and Low Bone Mineral Density: Data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2016 Oct;17(5):433-40. doi: 10.1007/s10162-016-0577-5. Epub 2016 Jul 22. PMID: 27447468

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Neuroscience Graduate Program, Johns Hopkins University

Activities & Honors


  • Society for Neuroscience

Patient Ratings & Comments

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