Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong

Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong

Position Title
Associate Professor

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 are most interested in 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 a leading cause of blindness, glaucoma.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Specialties / Focus

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

Professional Societies

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


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


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