Stephen Noctor, Ph.D.

Stephen C. Noctor, Ph.D.


  • Associate Professor


UC Davis MIND Institute

2825 50th St.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:

Additional Phone Numbers

Phone: 916-703-0435

Clinical Interests

Dr. Noctor studies development of cortical structures in the central nervous system. The cerebral cortex consists of billions of neurons and glia that are produced over a relatively short period of time during development. Dr. Noctor investigates factors that control proliferation of the precursor cells that produce cortical neurons and glia, and how cortical cells migrate over long distances to reach their appropriate position in the developing brain.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Noctor studies prenatal development of the cerebral cortex, with a central focus on factors that control embryonic stem cells. His current work examines how interactions between the developing nervous, immune, and vascular systems regulate growth of the brain during gestation. These studies have opened new avenues for understanding the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders.



Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis MIND Institute


Ph.D., Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda MD 1998

B.A., Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ 1991

Select Recent Publications

Tarantal AF, Hartigan-O'Connor DJ, Penna E, Kreutz A, Martinez ML, Noctor SC. Fetal Rhesus Monkey First Trimester Zika Virus Infection Impacts Cortical Development in the Second and Third Trimesters. Cereb Cortex. 2021 Mar 31;31(5):2309-2321. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhaa336. PMID:33341889.

Penna E, Mangum JM, Shepherd H, Martínez-Cerdeño V, Noctor SC. Development of the Neuro-Immune-Vascular Plexus in the Ventricular Zone of the Prenatal Rat Neocortex. Cereb Cortex. 2021 Mar 5;31(4):2139-2155. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhaa351. PMID:33279961.

Noctor SC, Penna E, Shepherd H, Chelson C, Barger N, Martínez-Cerdeño V, Tarantal AF. Periventricular microglial cells interact with dividing precursor cells in the nonhuman primate and rodent prenatal cerebral cortex. J Comp Neurol. 2019 Jul 1;527(10):1598-1609. doi:10.1002/cne.24604. Epub 2019 Jan 25. PMID:30552670.

Barger N, Keiter J, Kreutz A, Krishnamurthy A, Weidenthaler C, Martínez-Cerdeño V, Tarantal AF, Noctor SC. Microglia: An Intrinsic Component of the Proliferative Zones in the Fetal Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta) Cerebral Cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2019 Jul 5;29(7):2782-2796. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhy145. PMID:29992243.

Martínez-Cerdeño V, Cunningham CL, Camacho J, Keiter JA, Ariza J, Lovern M, Noctor SC. Evolutionary origin of Tbr2-expressing precursor cells and the subventricular zone in the developing cortex. J Comp Neurol. 2016 Feb 15;524(3):433-47. doi:10.1002/cne.23879. Epub 2015 Sep 8. PMID:26267763.

Cunningham CL, Martínez-Cerdeño V, Noctor SC. Microglia regulate the number of neural precursor cells in the developing cerebral cortex. J Neurosci. 2013 Mar 6;33(10):4216-33. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3441-12.2013. PMID 23467340.

Cunningham CL, Martínez Cerdeño V, Navarro Porras E, Prakash AN, Angelastro JM, Willemsen R, Hagerman PJ, Pessah IN, Berman RF, Noctor SC. Premutation CGG-repeat expansion of the Fmr1 gene impairs mouse neocortical development. Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Jan 1;20(1):64-79. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq432. Epub 2010 Oct 8. PMID:20935171.

Milosevic A, Noctor SC, Martinez-Cerdeno V, Kriegstein AR, Goldman JE. Progenitors from the postnatal forebrain subventricular zone differentiate into cerebellar-like interneurons and cerebellar-specific astrocytes upon transplantation. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2008 Nov;39(3):324-34. doi:10.1016/j.mcn.2008.07.015. Epub 2008 Jul 30. PMID:18718868.

Noctor SC, Martínez-Cerdeño V, Kriegstein AR. Distinct behaviors of neural stem and progenitor cells underlie cortical neurogenesis. J Comp Neurol. 2008 May 1;508(1):28-44. doi:10.1002/cne.21669. PMID:18288691.

Noctor SC, Martinez-Cerdeño V, Kriegstein AR. Neural stem and progenitor cells in cortical development. Novartis Found Symp. 2007;288:59-73; discussion 73-8, 96-8. PMID:18494252.