Eric E. Turner, M.D., Ph.D.
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA. 92093-0603
E-mail :

Turner Laboratory: Developmental Neurobiology Research

Dr. Turner received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University. He then entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, and was awarded an M.D. degree in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1987 for studies of early development in invertebrates. Dr. Turner completed his internship in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, followed by a residency in Psychiatry at UCSD. After completing his clinical training, he conducted postdoctoral research as a Howard Hughes Physician Fellow and NARSAD Young Investigator at UCSD. He joined the faculty of the UCSD Department of Psychiatry in 1994, and is also a staff psychiatrist of the VA Medical Center, San Diego. 

Research Focus  
Dr. Turner’s laboratory conducts research in basic mechanisms of brain development, using transgenic mouse and chick embryo models. The vertebrate nervous system includes many different classes of neurons, each exhibiting characteristic neurotransmitter receptors, ion channels, patterns of axonal growth, and synapse formation. Producing this cellular diversity during brain development is, in part, an enormous problem of gene regulation. To better understand these processes, we study transcription factors of the homeodomain family that bind to DNA and activate or repress gene expression in specific classes of neurons. Clarifying these basic developmental mechanisms will provide a context in which we may better understand complex human brain disorders with a developmental component, such as schizophrenia and autism. 

Clinical Focus  
Dr. Turner is a Staff Psychiatrist of the VA Medical Center, San Diego. He practices general adult psychiatry with a special interest in schizophrenia. 

Selected Publications  

  • Gruber, CA, Rhee, JM, Gleiberman, A, and Turner, EE. POU-domain factors of the Brn-3 class recognize functional DNA elements which are distinctive, symmetrical, and highly conserved in evolution. Mol. Cell Bio. 17, 2391-2400 (1997). 
  • Trieu, M, Rhee, JM, Fedtsova, N and Turner, EE. Autoregulatory Sequences are Revealed by Complex Stability Screening of the Mouse brn-3.0 Locus. J. Neuroscience 19, 6549-58 (1999). 
  • Eng, SR, Gratwick, K, Rhee, JM, Fedtsova, N, Gan, L and Turner, EE. Defects in sensory axon growth precede neuronal death in Brn3a-deficient mice. J. Neuroscience, 21, 541-49 (2001). 
  • Fedtsova, N and Turner, EE. Signals from the ventral midline and isthmus regulate the development of Brn3.0-expressing neurons in the midbrain. Mech. Devel.105, 129-144 (2001). 
  • Trieu, M, Ma, A, Eng, SR, Fedtsova, N, and Turner, EE. Direct autoregulation and gene dosage compensation by POU-domain transcription factor Brn3a. Development, 130, 111-121 (2003).

University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: