Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong

Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong

Position Title

  • Eye Center, School of Medicine
Tupper 4206

Profile Introduction

Neuron glia interactions

Research Interests

Clearing Debris from the Nervous System

Our lab studies the interaction of neurons with glia in various contexts.  We study the mitochondria of retinal ganglion cell to understand the particular susceptibility of these cells in glaucoma.  We study how astrocytes and monocytes contribute to clear debris within the optic nerve, during normal physiology, injury and disease, development and regeneration.  We study this biology by molecular genetic and imaging approaches in both mice and frogs.  While our studies are aimed to understand basic biology, they are of direct relevance to various diseases of the nervous system, and principally to glaucoma.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Neuroscience Graduate Group

Specialties / Focus

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Gene Regulation
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Organelle and Membrane Biology
  • Vision

Professional Societies

  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • International Society for Eye Research


  • 1994 PhD Neuroscience Harvard University
  • 1988 B.A. Chemistry and Philosophy Haverford College



Zhou Y, Bond AM, Shade JE, Zhu Y, Davis CO, Wang X, Su Y, Yoon KJ, Phan AT, Chen WJ, Oh JH, Marsh-Armstrong N, Atabai K, Ming GL, Song H. (2018) Autocrine Mfge8 Signaling Prevents Developmental Exhaustion of the Adult Neural Stem Cell Pool. Cell Stem Cell. 23(3):444-452.

Williams PA, Marsh-Armstrong N, Howell GR; (2017) Lasker/IRRF Initiative on Astrocytes and Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration Participants. Neuroinflammation in glaucoma: A new opportunity. Exp Eye Res.157:20-27.

Whitworth GB, Misaghi BC, Rosenthal DM, Mills EA, Heinen DJ, Watson AH, Ives CW, Ali SH, Bezold K, Marsh-Armstrong N, Watson FL. (2016) Translational profiling of retinal ganglion cell optic nerve regeneration in Xenopus laevis. Dev Biol.2016 Jul 25. pii: S0012-1606(16)30089-6.

Mills EM, Davis CH, Bushong EA, Boassa D, Kim KY, Ellisman MH, Marsh-Armstrong N. (2015) Astrocytes phagocytose focal dystrophies from shortening myelin segments in the optic nerve of Xenopus laevis at metamorphosis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112: 10509-14.

Davis CH, Marsh-Armstrong N. (2014). Discovery and implications of transcellular mitophagy.  Autophagy (2014) 10: 2383-4.

Davis CH, Kim K-Y, Bushong EA, Mills EA, Boassa D, Shih T, Kinebuchic M, Phan S, Zhou Y, Bihlmeyer NA, Nguyen JV, Jin Y, Ellisman MH, Marsh-Armstrong N. Transcellular Degradation of Mitochondria. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (2014) 111: 9633-8.

Watson FL, Mills EA, Wang X, Guo C, Chen DF, Marsh-Arsmtrong N. Cell type-specific translational profiling in the Xenopus laevis retina.  Dev. Dyn. (2012) 241: 1960-72.

Nguyen JV, Soto I, Kim KY, Bushong EA, Oglesby E, Valiente-Soriano FJ, Yang Z, Davis CH, Bedont JL, Son JL, Wei JO, Buchman VL, Zack DJ, Vidal-Sanz M, Ellisman MH, Marsh-Armstrong N.  Myelination transition zone astrocytes are constitutively phagocytic and have synuclein dependent reactivity in glaucoma.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (2011) 108, 1176-1781