Ian Meinertzhagen

Professor Emeritus


Related Information

Research website

Email: iam@dal.ca
Phone: (902) 494-2131
Fax: (902) 494-6585
Mailing Address: 
Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Centre, Rm 2539, 1355 Oxford Street, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, N.S. B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Development
  • Neuroscience
  • 3-D visualization and reconstruction
  • Invertebrate neurobiology
  • Synaptic fine structure
  • Electron microscopy
  • Connectomics


BA/BSc University of Aberdeen
MA/MSc (University)
PhD University of St. Andrews
DSc University of St. Andrews
PDF Australian National University; Harvard University

Research Interests

Dr. Meinertzhagen’s work has pioneered studies on simple invertebrate nervous systems, especially the immaculately precise fly's visual system and the numerically diminutive nervous system of the ascidian tadpole larva, and has examined structurally identified circuits of neurons, their functional anatomy, their origins in both ontogeny and evolution, and their plasticity in adult animals. 

Selected Publications

•Borycz, J., Borycz, J.A., Loubani, M. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2002).  Tan and ebony genes regulate a novel pathway for transmitter metabolism at fly photoreceptor terminals.  J. Neurosci. 22, 10549-10557.
•Meinertzhagen, I.A., Lemaire, P. & Okamura, Y. (2004).  The neurobiology of the ascidian tadpole larva: recent developments in an ancient chordate.  Ann. Rev. Neurosci. 27, 453-485.
•Millard, S.S., Lu, Z., Zipursky, S.L. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2010).  Drosophila Dscam proteins regulate postsynaptic specificity at multiple-contact synapses.  Neuron 67, 761-768.
•Shinomiya, K., Karuppudurai, T., Lin, T-Y., Lu, Z., Lee, C-H. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2014).  Candidate neural substrates for off-edge motion detection in Drosophila.  Curr. Biol24, 1062-1070.
•Fabian-Fine, R., Meisner, S., Torkkeli, P.H. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2015).  Co-localization of gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate in neurons of the spider central nervous system.  Cell Tiss. Res. 362:461-479.
•Takemura, S., Xu, C.S., Lu, Z., Rivlin, P.K., Olbris, D.J., Parag, T., Plaza, S.,  Katz, W.T., Umayam, L., Weaver, C., Hess, H., Horne, J.A., Nunez, J., Aniceto, R., Chang, L-A., Lauchie, S., Nasca, A., Ogundeyi, O., Sigmund, C., Takemura, S., Tran, J., Langille, C., Le Lacheur, K., McLin, S., Shinomiya, A.,Chklovskii, D.B., Meinertzhagen, I.A. & Scheffer, L.K. (2015).   Multi-column synaptic circuits and an analysis of their variations in the visual system of Drosophila.  Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, 13711-13716.
•Ryan, K., Lu, Z. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2016).  The CNS connectome of a tadpole larva of Ciona intestinalis highlights sidedness in the brain of a chordate sibling.  eLife 5, e16962.
•Ryan, K., Lu, Z. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2017).  Circuit homology of decussating pathways in the Ciona larval CNS and the vertebrate startle-response pathway.  Curr. Biol. 27, 1-8.  
•Takemura, S., Nern, A. Plaza, S., Chklovskii, D.B., Scheffer, L.K., Rubin, G.M. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2017).  The comprehensive connectome of a neural substrate for ‘ON’ motion detection in Drosophila.  eLife 6:e24394. doi: 10.7554/eLife.24394. 
•Ryan K. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2018).  Neuronal Identity: The neuron types of a simple chordate sibling, the tadpole larva of Ciona intestinalis.  Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 56, 47-60. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2018.10.015.
•Shinomiya, K., Huang, G., Lu, Z., Parag, T., Xu, S.C., Aniceto, R., Ansari, N., Cheatham, N., Lauchie, S., Neace, E., Ogundeyi, O., Ordish, C., Peel, D., Shinomiya, A., Smith, C., Takemura, S., Talebi, I., Rivlin, P.K., Nern, A., Scheffer, L.K., Plaza, S.M. & Meinertzhagen, I.A.(2019).  Comparisons between the ON- and OFF-edge motion pathways in the Drosophila brain.  eLife 2019; 8:e40025.  doi: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40025.001.  PMID: 30624205
•Scheffer, L. & Meinertzhagen, I.A. (2019).  The fly brain atlas.  Ann. Rev. Cell & Dev. Biol. 35, 10.1-10.17

Awards and Publications

•STEPS Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
•Izaak Walton Killam Professor in Neuroscience, Dalhousie University
•Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
•University Research Professorship, Dalhousie University
•Canada Council Killam Research Fellow
•Fellowship, Royal Society of Canada

Service and Activity

Associate Editor, Journal of Comparative Neurology
Editorial Board, Journal of Neurogenetics
Associate Editor, Frontiers in Invertebrate Physiology