Headshot of Russell Ferland

Russ Ferland, Ph.D.


Chair, Department Biomedical Sciences, COM


Stella Maris Hall 331
Biddeford Campus

The combined long-term objectives of our research are to better understand the molecular, genetic, and cellular mechanisms causing neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders. Overall, my research interests lie primarily in the study of disorders of brain development and neurological disease, and specifically involve the following areas of investigation:

1) functional analyses of AHI1 and CSPP1, two novel genes which we mapped and cloned in individuals with Joubert syndrome (Hsiao et al., J. Neurosci., 2021; Munoz and Ferland, J. Cell Sci., 2019; Bourgeois and Ferland, Dev. Biol., 2019; Tuz et al., Am. J. Hum. Genet., 2014; Tuz et al., J. Biol. Chem., 2013; Westfall et al., J. Neurosci., 2010; Hsiao et al., Hum. Mol. Genet., 2009; Doering et al., J. Comp. Neurol., 2008; Ferland et al., Nature Genetics, 2004),

2) formation and function of the primary non-motile cilia in development and disease (Hua and Ferland, Methods Cell Bio., 2023; Hsiao et al., J. Neurosci., 2021; Munoz and Ferland, J. Cell Sci., 2019; Munoz and Ferland, J. Cell Sci., 2019; Bourgeois and Ferland, Dev. Biol., 2019; Hua and Ferland, Bioessays, 2018; Hua and Feland, Cell. Mol. Life Sci., 2018; Hua and Ferland, Cilia, 2017; Tuz et al., Am. J. Hum. Genet., 2014; Tuz et al., J. Biol. Chem., 2013; Hsiao et al., Cilia, 2012; Westfall et al., J. Neurosci., 2010; Hsiao et al., Hum. Mol. Genet., 2009), 

3) genetic and neuroanatomical mechanisms of seizure threshold, seizure propagation, epileptogenesis, and Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) (Wilson, et al., FASEB J., 2021; Ferland et al., G3 Genes, Genom. Genet, 2017; Ferland, 2017; Loscher, Ferland, and Ferraro, Epilepsy and Behavior, 2017; Kadiyala et al., J. Neurosci., 2016; Kadiyala et al., Epil. Res., 2015; Kadiyala et al., PLoS ONE, 2014; Papandrea et al., Exp. Neurol., 2009; Papandrea et al., Epil. Res., 2009; Ferland et al, 1998a,b,c, 1999, 2002a,b, 2003).



MS, Neuroscience
University of Rochester Medical School
PhD, Neuroscience
University of Rochester Medical School

Post-Doctoral Training

Post-Doctoral Training, Neurogenetics/Neurodevelopment
Harvard Medical School & Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Boston, Massachusetts)


Selected publications

Hua K, Ferland RJ. Fixation methods and immunolabeling for cilia proteins in ciliary and extraciliary locations. (Invited submission). Methods Cell Biol., 176:43-57, 2023.

Wilson CS, Dohare P, Orbeta S, Nalwalk JW, Huang Y, Ferland RJ, Sah R, Scimemi A, Mongin AA. Late adolescence mortality in mice with brain-specific deletion of the volume-regulated anion channel subunit LRRC8A. FASEB J., 35(10):e21869, 2021.

Hsiao YC, Muñoz-Estrada J, Tuz K, Ferland RJ. The transition zone protein AHI1 regulates neuronal ciliary trafficking of MCHR1 and its downstream signaling pathway. J. Neurosci., 41(17):3932-3943, 2021.

Srinivasan A, Srinivasan A, Ferland RJ. AutoSholl allows for automation of Sholl analysis independent of user tracing. J Neurosci Methods, 331:1-6, 2020. Source code & compiled version of the algorithm are available at:

Muñoz-Estrada J and Ferland RJ. Ahi1 promotes Arl13b ciliary recruitment, regulates Arl13b stability and is required for normal cell migration. Journal of Cell Science, 132(17): 1-18, 2019.

Bourgeois JR and Ferland RJ.  Loss of the neurodevelopmental Joubert syndrome causing protein, Ahi1, causes motor and muscle development delays independent of central nervous system involvement. Developmental Biology, 448(1): 36-47, 2019.

Hua K and Ferland RJ. Primary cilia reconsidered in the context of ciliopathies: Extraciliary and ciliary functions of cilia proteins converge on a polarity theme? Bioessays, 40, 1700132, 1-11, 2018.

  • This work was highlighted in F1000Prime, 5 Dec, 2018.  

Hua K and Ferland RJ. Primary cilia proteins: ciliary and extraciliary sites and functions Cell. Mol. Life Sci., 75:1521–1540, 2018.

Kaskow BJ, Buttrick TS, Klein H-U, White C, Bourgeois JR, Ferland RJ, Patsopoulos N, Bradshaw EM, De Jager PL, Elyaman W. Multiple sclerosis AHI1 genetic risk promotes IFNγ+ CD4+ T cells. Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, 5 (1): 1-10 (e414), 2018.

Srinivasan A, Muñoz-Estrada J, Bourgeois JR, Nalwalk J, Pumiglia K, Sheen V, Ferland RJ. BranchAnalysis2D/3D automates morphometry analyses of branching structures. J Neurosci Methods, 294:1-6, 2018. Source code & compiled version of the algorithm are available at:

Ferland RJ. The repeated flurothyl seizure model in mice. Invited submission.  Bio-Protocol, 7(11):1-12, 2017.  DOI:10.21769/BioProtoc.2309.

Löscher W, Ferland RJ, Ferraro TN. The relevance of inter- and intrastrain differences in mice and rats and their implications for models of seizures and epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav., 73: 214-235, 2017.

Ferland RJ, Smith J, Papandrea D, Gracias J, Haines L, Kadiyala SB, O'Brien B, Kang EY, Beyer B, Herron BJ. Multidimensional genetic analysis of repeated seizures in the hybrid mouse diversity panel reveals a novel epileptogenesis susceptibility locus. G3 Genes Genom. Genet., 7(8): 2545-2558, 2017.

Hua K and Ferland RJ. Fixation methods can differentially affect ciliary protein immunolabeling. Cilia, 6;5: pp. 1-17, 2017. 

Kadiyala SB and Ferland RJ. Dissociation of spontaneous seizures and brainstem seizure thresholds in mice exposed to eight flurothyl-induced generalized seizures. Epilepsia Open, 2(1): 48-58, 2017.

Kadiyala SB, Yannix JQ, Nalwalk JW, Papandrea D, Beyer BS, Herron BJ, Ferland RJ. Eight flurothyl-induced generalized seizures lead to the rapid evolution of spontaneous seizures in mice: a model of epileptogenesis with seizure remission. J. Neurosci., 36(28): 7485-7496, 2016.

Kadiyala SB, Papandrea D, Tuz K, Anderson TM, Jayakumara S, Herron BJ, Ferland RJ. Spatiotemporal differences in the c-fos pathway between C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice following flurothyl-induced seizures: A dissociation of hippocampal Fos from seizure activity. Epilepsy Res., 109:183-196, 2015.

Hu J, Lu J, Lian G, Ferland RJ, Dettenhofer M, Sheen VL. Formin 1 and Filamin B physically interact to coordinate chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation in the growth plate. Hum. Mol. Genet., 23(17):4663-4673, 2014.

Kadiyala SB, Papandrea D, Herron BJ, Ferland RJ. Segregation of seizure traits in C57 Black mouse substrains using the repeated-flurothyl model. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90506, 2014.

Tuz K, Bachmann-Gagescu R, O'Day DR, Hua K, Isabella CR, Phelps IG, Stolarski AE, O'Roak BJ, Dempsey JC, Lourenco C, Alswaid A, Bönnemann CG, Medne L, Nampoothiri S, Stark Z, Leventer RJ, Topçu M, Cansu A, Jagadeesh S, Done S, Ishak GE, Glass IA, Shendure J, Neuhauss SC, Haldeman-Englert CR, Doherty D, Ferland RJ. Mutations in CSPP1 cause primary cilia abnormalities and Joubert syndrome with or without Jeune asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy. Am. J. Hum. Genet., 94(1): 62–72, 2014.

Tuz K, Hsiao YC, Juarez O, Shi B, Harmon EY, Phelps IG, Lennartz MR, Glass IA, Doherty D, Ferland RJ. The Joubert syndrome associated missense mutation (V443D) in the Abelson-helper integration site 1 (AHI1) protein alters its localization and protein-protein interactions. J. Biol. Chem., 288(19):13676-94, 2013.

Bhoiwala DL, Koleilat I, Qian J, Beyer B, Hushmendy SF, Mathew A, Bhoiwala DL, Ferland RJ, Crawford DR. Overexpression of RCAN1 isoform 4 in mouse neurons leads to a moderate behavioral impairment. Neurol. Res., 35(1):79-89, 2013.

Zhang J, Neal J, Lian G, Shi B, Ferland RJ, Sheen VL. Brefeldin A-inhibited guanine exchange factor 2 regulates Filamin A phosphorylation and neuronal migration. J. Neurosci., 32(36):12619-12629, 2012.

Lian G, Lu J, Hu J, Zhang J, Cross SH, Ferland RJ, Sheen VL. Filamin A Regulates Neural Progenitor Proliferation and Brain Size through Wee1-Dependent Cdk1 Phosphorylation. J. Neurosci., 32(22):7672-84, 2012.

Hsiao Y-C, Tuz K, Ferland RJ, Trafficking in and to the primary cilium. Cilia, 1:4 (1-13), 2012

Westfall (Doering) JE, Hoyt C, Liu Q, Hsiao Y-C, Pierce EA, Page-McCaw PS, Ferland RJ. Retinal degeneration and failure of photoreceptor outer segment formation in mice with targeted deletion of the Joubert syndrome gene, Ahi1. J. Neurosci., 30(26):8759-8768, 2010.

Papandrea D, Kukol WS, Anderson TM, Herron BJ, Ferland RJ. Analysis of flurothyl-induced myoclonus in inbred strains of mice. Epil. Res., 87:130-136, 2009.

Hsiao Y-C, Tong ZJ, Westfall (Doering) JE, Ault JG, Page-McCaw PS, Ferland RJ. Ahi1, whose human ortholog is mutated in Joubert syndrome, is required for proper localization of Rab8a, ciliogenesis, and vesicular trafficking. Hum. Mol. Genet., 18(20):3926-3941, 2009.

Ferland RJ, Batiz LF, Neal J, Lian G, Bundock E, Lu J, Hsiao Y-C, Diamond R, Mei D, Banham A, Brown PJ, Vanderburg CR, Joseph J, Hecht JL, Folkerth R, Guerrini R, Walsh CA, Rodriguez EM, Sheen VL. Disruption of neural progenitors along the ventricular and subventricular zones in periventricular heterotopia. Hum. Mol. Genet., 18(3):497-516, 2009.

Papandrea D, Anderson TM, Herron BJ, Ferland RJ. Genetic dissociation of seizure traits in inbred strains of mice using the flurothyl model of epileptogenesis. Exp. Neurol., 215:60-68, 2009.

Morrow EM, Yoo S-Y, Flavell SW, Kim T-K, Lin Y, Hill RS, Mukaddes NM, Balkhy S, Gascon G, Hashmi A, Al-Saad S, Ware J, Joseph RM, Greenblatt R, Gleason D, Ertelt JA, Apse KA, Bodell A, Partlow JN, Barry B, Yao H, Markianos K, Ferland RJ, Greenberg ME, Walsh CA. Identifying autism loci and genes by tracing recent shared ancestry. Science, 321:218-223, 2008.

  • This work was highlighted in F1000 Prime, 31 Jul 2008.

Doering JE, Kane K, Hsiao Y-C, Yao C, Shi B, Slowik A, Dhagat B, Scott D, Ault JG, Page-McCaw PS, Ferland RJ. Species differences in the expression of AHI1, a protein implicated in the neurodevelopmental disorder Joubert syndrome, with preferential accumulation to stigmoid bodies. J. Comp. Neurol., 511:238-256, 2008.

Ferland RJ, Eyaid W, Collura RV, Tully LD, Hill RS, Al-Nouri D, Al-Rumayyan A, Topcu M, Gascon G, Bodell A, Shugart YY, Ruvolo M, and Walsh CA. Abnormal cerebellar development and axonal decussation due to mutations in AHI1 in Joubert Syndrome. Nature Genet., 36:1008-1013, 2004.

Other scholarly activity

Book Chapters:

Löscher W, Ferland RJ, Ferraro TN. Strain effects on expression of seizures and epilepsy. In: Models of Seizure and Epilepsy, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Academic Press (2017) pp. 21-38.  ISBN 9780128040669

Hua K, Bourgeois JR, Ferland RJ. Joubert syndrome. In: Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology, Elsevier (2017) pp. 1-8.   ISBN 9780128093245

Ferland RJ, Walsh CA. The genetics of Joubert syndrome: Insights into the development of the posterior midline of the brain.  In: Squire, LR (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.  San Diego: Academic Press (2009) pp. 249-256.

Applegate CD, Burchfiel JL, Ferland RJ, Nierenberg J.   The role of rhinencephalic networks in the late stages of kindling.  In: Corcoran, M and Moshe, S (Eds.) Kindling 5.  New York: Raven Press  (1998)  pp. 151-165.

Invited Editorials:

Ferland RJ and Guerrini R.  Nodular heterotopia is built upon layers. Neurology, 73: 742-743, 2009.

Ferland R and Hua K. Referee Report For: Murine Cep290 phenotypes are modified by genetic backgrounds and provide an impetus for investigating disease modifier alleles [version 1; referees: 2 approved] F1000Research 2015, 4:590 (doi: 10.5256/f1000research.7495.r10185)

Hua K and Ferland RJ. Primary cilia: the story of the hair-like organelle that signals just became more complicated. Atlas of science, 2019.

Research topics

COM Faculty Research
Developmental Biology
Gene Expression
Neural Stem Cell