Eleanor J. "Josie" Clowney, Ph.D.

Michigan Neuroscience Institute Affiliate
Assistant Professor of Molecular of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics Affiliate Faculty

Biological Sciences Building (BSB)
Room 4218
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1085


Areas of Interest

The Clowney lab investigates developmental and regulatory mechanisms that generate neural circuits and govern their function, using the olfactory system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model. 

Remarkably, both flies and mammals use two parallel pathways to process olfactory signals: genetically determined neural circuits drive innate behaviors, while randomly wired circuits serve as sites of associative learning to shape flexible behaviors. Clowney is working to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms that produce these developmentally invariant vs. stochastic patterns of neuronal connectivity. 


  • Postdoctoral fellow, The Rockefeller University
  • Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of California, San Francisco (2012)
  • B.S., Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan (2005) 

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Brovkina M, Duffié R, Burtis AEC, Clowney EJ. “Fruitless Decommissions Regulatory Elements to Implement Cell-Type-Specific Neuronal Masculinization.” PLOS Genetics, 2021, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009338.
  • Ryba AR, McKenzie SK, Olivos-Cisneros L, Clowney EJ, Pires PM, Kronauer DJC. Comparative Development of the Ant Chemosensory System. Current Biology, 2021. 10.1016/j.cub.2020.05.072.
  • Puñal VM, Ahmed M, Thornton-Kolbe EM, Clowney EJ. Untangling the wires: development of sparse, distributed connectivity in the mushroom body calyx [Review]. Cell and Tissue Research, 2021, doi: 10.1007/s00441-020-03386-4.
  • Elkahlah NA*, Rogow JA*, Ahmed M, Clowney EJ. “Presynaptic Developmental Plasticity Allows Robust Sparse Wiring of the Drosophila Mushroom Body.” eLife, vol. 9, 2020, doi:10.7554/elife.52278

Web Sites