Photo of Feliks (Ephraim)  Trakhtenberg, Ph.D.

Feliks (Ephraim) Trakhtenberg, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience
Academic Office Location:
Neuroregeneration Lab
Department of Neuroscience
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue, Room L4005
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-7819

Neuroregeneration Lab

Neuroscience Graduate Program

Ph.D.Sofia University (Palo Alto, CA)Psychology
M.S.Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)Biology
Ph.D.University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine (Thesis, Jeffrey L. Goldberg Lab)Neuroscience

Post-Graduate Training
Research AssistantStanford University, Dept. of Psychiatry/Behavioral Sciences, de Lecea LabResearch Assistant: Neuroscience
PostdoctoralHarvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital, Benowitz LabAHA Research Fellow: Neuroscience

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Grant Award R01 on the project titled "Small non-coding RNAs regulate retinal ganglion cell maturation"National Institutes of Health's Eye Institute (NIH-NEI)
Researcher grantee Spotlight recognitionBrightFocus Foundation, National Glaucoma Research Program (MD, USA)
Faculty Spotlight recognition for Research ExcellenceUConn Health
Promising Project Award, in collaboration with Dr. Rouge, on the project titled "Nanocapsule-delivered therapeutics for treating optic neuropathies"Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health (PITCH)
Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) AwardAtomwise Inc (San Francisco, CA)
Research Excellence Program Grant Award, with Dr. Wu co-PIUConn School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine
1st Place Award for research solution, team presentation, Interstellar Initiative for Early Career InvestigatorsNew York Academy of Sciences; Japan Agency for Medical Research Development
Grant Award, with Dr. Crocker co-PI, on the project titled "A Novel approach for attenuating myelin-associated inhibition of axon regeneration following CNS injury”Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBaCS)
Grant Award on the project titled "The molecular mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell axon growth and regeneration"BrightFocus Foundation, National Glaucoma Research Program (MD, USA)
Best Innovation Idea AwardHarvard Healthcare Innovation and Commercialization Course, HMS
Post-Doctoral Fellowship (15POST25080290)AHA
Selected for The Early Stage Investigator Grant Proposal Mentoring SessionInternational Stroke Conference, AHA
Junior Investigators Travel AwardInternational Stroke Conference, AHA
Lois Pope Best Research AwardLois Pope Foundation
Members-in-Training Outstanding Poster Award FinalistAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Conference
Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (11PRE7310069)AHA
The Medical Faculty Association Travel AwardMargaret Whelan Graduate Student Scholarship Fund
Honorary membership award in the AAAS Program for Excellence in ScienceAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Pre-Doctoral Training Grant (T32NS007459)NIH
Lois Pope Life Fellowship for Neuroscience ResearchLois Pope Foundation
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
DoD Vision Research ProgramStudy SectionReviewerExternalNational2021
NIH, Special Emphasis Panel: Brain Disorders and Clinical NeuroscienceStudy SectionReviewerExternalNational2020
Nature CommunicationsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalInternational2019
NASA Space Biology ProgramStudy SectionReviewerExternalNational2018
IOVSProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalInternational2018
Graduate Program Admissions CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeInterviewerUConn HealthUniversity2017
Scientific ReportsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalInternational2017
PLOS OneProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalInternational2017
Medical/Graduate Program Admissions CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeInterviewerUConn HealthUniversity2017
Journal of OphthalmologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalInternational2015
NeuropharmacologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalInternational2014
American Heart AssociationProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2012
Society for NeuroscienceProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalInternational2007


Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of neuronal development and regeneration, and to utilize gained knowledge in developing translational approaches for repairing injured central nervous system (CNS) circuits. Several species of lower vertebrates have the capacity to regenerate and repair the injured CNS. However, in mammals the ability for CNS self-repair is lost during maturation.

The failure of the CNS to regenerate is a major unmet clinical problem, which limits recovery of functions after brain injury, spinal cord injury, white matter stroke, and optic neuropathies. For example, these injuries could disrupt the long distance axonal connections between neurons, and lead to disabilities such as paralysis or blindness.

The model system we use to tackle this problem is an injury to the optic nerve in rodents, which is an accepted model of human traumatic optic neuropathy. Furthermore, the approaches which could regenerate axons in this circuit have the potential to repair other CNS circuits as well.

Due to the proprietary nature of the research projects in our lab, detailed information about the research program and rotation projects for PhD students is not available publicly. If you are interested in neuroregeneration research, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Trakhtenberg to learn more about open rotation projects.

See lab website for more details:

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023

Lab rotation projects revolve around fundamental questions in neuronal development and regeneration in the CNS.  We integrate cutting edge molecular, biochemical, genetic, bioinformatics, and translational approaches. Rotation projects involve the following techniques:
--Histology and neuroanatomical analysis using confocal microscopy
--Rodent CNS in vivo injury models and gene therapy
--Neuronal cell culture and transfection
--Next Generation Sequencing and Neuro-Bioinformatics
See lab website for more details:

Due to the proprietary nature of the research projects in our lab, detailed information about the research program and rotation projects for PhD students is not available publicly. If you are interested in neuroregeneration research, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Trakhtenberg to learn more about open rotation projects.

Journal Articles



Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Experimental axon regeneration to treat optic neuropathies and injured CNS tractsTalkNorthern Netherlands Diagnostic Radiology annual training: Nerve symposium2024Drachten, Netherlands.
MicroRNAs associated with maturation of retinal ganglion cells regulate survival and long-distance axon regeneration after optic nerve injuryPosterAnnual SFN Convention2023Washington, DC
A recombinant protein derived from a component of the extra-axonal environment promotes retinal ganglion cell survival and axon regeneration after injury in vivoPosterAnnual SFN Convention2023Washington, DC
Combinatory approach for neuroprotection and nerve regeneration to treat optic neuropathiesTalkUniversity of Connecticut School of Medicine2023Farmington, CT
Basic Science Consideration recovery from brain/spine trauma (Panelist/Speaker)TalkCutting Edge in Clinical Neuroscience Symposium2022Farmington, CT
Post-injury born oligodendrocytes integrate into the glial scar and inhibit growth of regenerating axons by premature myelinationPosterAnnual SFN Convention2022San Diego, CA
Developmentally regulated microRNAs play a role in retinal ganglion cell survival and axon regeneration after optic nerve injuryPosterAnnual SFN Convention2022San Diego, CA
Advances in Understanding Spinal Cord Injury and Recovery (Panelist/Speaker)TalkCutting Edge in Clinical Neuroscience Symposium2021Farmington, CT
Implications of single cell transcriptome profiling of neuronal subtypes for studying neuroprotection and neuroregenerationTalkNeuroscience Seminar Series Sponsored by the Kim Family Fund2021Farmington, CT
Clinical potential of neuroplasticity and neuroregeneration researchTalkEasterseals Trauma and Disabilities Clinic2017Windsor, CT
Axotomized adult retinal ganglion cells stimulated by extrinsic cues in a permissive environment survive and regenerate axonsPosterAnnual SFN Convention2017Washington, DC
Zinc chelation and Klf9 suppression synergistically enhance axon regeneration after CNS injury.PosterAnnual SFN Convention2016San Diego, CA.
Repairing CNS circuitry: Set-ß as a bivalent regulator of axon regeneration.TalkUniversity of Connecticut, School of Medicine, Dept. of Neuroscience2016Farmington, CT
Therapeutic nerve regeneration: Optic neuropathy (Finalist Poster).PosterBoehringer Ingelheim’s Innovation Partnering Day2015Boston, MA
Analysis of coding and non-coding transcripts during maturation of defined population of CNS neurons.PosterAnnual SFN Convention2015Chicago, IL
Molecular therapy for optic nerve regeneration (Finalist Poster).PosterEarly-Stage Life Sciences Technology Conference2015Boston, MA
Homeostatic maintenance of transcriptome differs between cell types.PosterAnn. Boston Children's Hosp., Harvard Med. Sch. Dr. J. Folkman Research Day2015Boston, MA.
Molecular therapy for nerve regeneration: Focus on the optic nerve (Finalist Poster).PosterMassachusetts Life Sciences Innovation Day2015Boston, MA
Molecular mechanisms of axon regeneration in the CNS: Focus on the optic nerve.TalkTel Aviv University, Sackler School of Medicine2015Tel-Aviv, Israel
RNA-seq characterization and differential expression analysis of polyadenylated and non-polyadenylated riboRNA-depleted transcripts during maturation of retinal ganglion cells.PosterAnnual SFN Convention2014Washington, DC.
The roles of Set-ß in neuronal survival, axon growth and regeneration (Finalist Talk).TalkInternational Stroke Conference, AHA, The Early Stage Investigator Session2014San Diego, CA.
The role of Set-ß in CNS axon growth and regeneration.PosterInternational Stroke Conference, AHA2014San Diego, CA.
Set-ß as a bivalent regulator of axon regeneration.TalkHarvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital2014Boston, MA
Set-ß regulates axon growth and regeneration.PosterAnnual SFN Convention2013San Diego, CA.
Subcellular localization-dependent effect of Set-ß on axon growth and regeneration.PosterCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Conf: Axon Guidance, Synapse and Regeneration2012NY
Set-ß modulates neurite growth in retinal ganglion cells in opposite ways, depending on its subcellular localization (Outstanding Poster Award Finalist).PosterAnnual ARVO Convention2011Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Self-perceived quality of life scale: Theoretical framework and development.PosterAnnual APA Convention2008Boston, MA