Team Member Spotlight Series: Mark Frye, PhD

May 17, 2018

Mark Frye, PhD

Professor of Integrative Biology and Physiology, and Neurobiology

Research Focus

Mark Frye aims to better understand how the brain perceives the world by studying neural circuits for vision and olfaction. He conducts this research by monitoring neurons firing in the brains of fruit flies as they perceive their environment, which will shed light on the cellular building blocks of perception. This research method also enables Mark to study how serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter involved in depression, affects brain function.

DGC Connection

Mark is conducting a Discovery Neuroscience demonstration project with the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) titled: Genetic Studies of Neuromodulation in Drosophila. Mark shares that the DGC has strengthened collaboration between clinicians and basic research scientists. This collective effort has helped Mark and other scientists pinpoint clinically relevant questions that can be addressed with basic biology research methods. This kind of tight-knit collaboration has the potential to improve treatments for depression in the future. Mark shares that his #DepressionHero includes the many mental health professionals on the front lines of intervention. These professionals fulfill the key role of helping patients manage their depression.


Mark enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, especially in the desert or at the beach. Mark also spends his free time coaching as a Little League Baseball coach for his sons.


“Depression is a deeply disruptive disease and impacts the brain at many levels of function, from molecules and genes, to cells and cell circuits. There are problems to solve at many levels of analysis.”

– Mark Frye, PhD
Lead Investigator, UCLA Depression Grand Challenge
Discovery Neuroscience Demonstration Project

Learn more about the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge Team Member Spotlight Series.