Dr. Benson trained as a neuroanatomist and cell biologist at UC, Irvine, where she identified activity-dependent regulation of anatomical circuits in the adult visual system and underlying cell type specific patterns of gene expression. For her postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia she used cell biological approaches to study neural differentiation and synapse formation. In her lab at Mount Sinai she has focused on mechanisms driving neural circuit development and how this flexible and resilient process also imparts vulnerability to disease. In recent years the lab has investigated the impact of gene mutations implicated in neurological, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative diseases using mouse models, functional, and microscopy-based approaches. Her lab has shown that Parkinson’s disease-associated LRRK2-G2019S mutation alters activity during synapse development in a manner that has lasting consequences for cellular mechanisms of synapse plasticity and behavioral responses to stressful experiences.