Ben Reese

Ben Reese


Research Area

Neuroscience and Behavior

Campus Affiliations

Neuroscience Research Institute


Benjamin Reese received his undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology from UCSB in 1980, and completed his doctorate in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford in 1984. He then spent five years as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Human Anatomy at Oxford. He returned to UCSB to join the faculty in 1989, in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, holding an adjunct professorship in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Dr. Reese was the recipient of the 1997 UCSB Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. His work is currently funded by the National Eye Institute.


Dr. Reese's research focuses on understanding the organizing principles and developmental mechanisms governing the formation of the retinal architecture. Various projects are examining this transformation of an undifferentiated retinal neuroepithelium into the mature structure, including the clonal expansion of retinal progenitors, the migratory behavior of distinct types of newborn retinal neuroblasts, their morphological differentiation and establishment of connectivity within the developing plexiform layers, and the control of naturally occurring cell death.

Selected Publications

Keeley, P.W., Luna, G., Fariss, R.N., Skyles, K.A., Madsen, N.R., Raven, M.A., Poché, R.A., Swindell, E.C., Jamrich, M., Oh, E.C., Swaroop, A., Fisher, S.K and Reese, B.E. (2013) Development and plasticity of outer retinal circuitry following genetic removal of horizontal cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 17847-17862.

Hao, H., Veleri, S., Sun, B., Kim, D.S., Keeley, P.W., Yadav, S.P., Sood, R., Manjunath, S.H., Liu, P., Reese, B.E. and Swaroop, A. (2014) Regulation of a novel isoform of receptor expression enhancing protein REEP6 in rod photoreceptors by bZIP transcription factor NRL. Human Molecular Genetics, 23, 4260-4271.

Keeley, P.W., Whitney, I.E., Madsen, N.R., St. John, A.J., Borhanian, S., Leong, S.A., Williams, R.W. and Reese, B.E. (2014) Independent genomic control of neuronal number across retinal cell types. Developmental Cell, 30, 103-109.

Keeley, P.W., Zhou, C., Lu, L., Williams, R.W., Melmed, S. and Reese, B.E. (2014) Pituitary tumor transforming gene 1 regulates the spacing of retinal neurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111, 9295-9300.

Whitney, I.E., Keeley, P.W., St. John, A.J., Kautzman, A., Kay, J.N. and Reese, B.E. (2014) Sox2 regulates cholinergic amacrine cell positioning and dendritic stratification in the retina. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 10109-10121.

Keeley, P.W., Madsen, N.R., St. John, A.J. and Reese, B.E. (2014) Programmed cell death of retinal cone bipolar cells is independent of afferent or target control. Developmental Biology, 394, 191-196.

Keeley, P.W. and Reese, B.E. (2014) The patterning of retinal horizontal cells: normalizing the regularity index enhances the detection of genomic linkage. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 8, 113. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2014.00113

Whitney, I.E., Kautzman, A.G. and Reese, B.E. (2015) Alternative splicing of the LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Isl1 in the mouse retina. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 65, 102-113.

Reese, B.E. and Keeley, P.W. (2015) Design principles and developmental mechanisms underlying retinal mosaics. Biological Reviews, in press. doi: 10.1111/brv.12139.