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Michael Crair, PhD

Vice Provost for Research and William Ziegler III Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science; Vice Provost for Research, Office of the Provost

Contact Information

Michael Crair, PhD

Lab Location

Office Location

Mailing Address

  • Neuroscience

    PO Box 208001, 333 Cedar Street

    New Haven, CT, 06520-8001

    United States



Michael C. Crair is the William Ziegler III Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Science and Deputy Dean for Scientific Affairs (Basic Science Departments). Dr. Crair obtained his doctoral degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and did postdoctoral training in physics and neuroscience at Kyoto University and Kyoto Prefectural Medical School in Japan and in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco. He was a faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas before coming to Yale as a member of the Department of Neuroscience in 2007. He has directed Yale’s Vision Core Program, the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and was Deputy Chair of the Department of Neuroscience until 2017, when he became Deputy Dean for Scientific Affairs (Basic Science Departments) at the School of Medicine.

Dr. Crair maintains an active research program that develops and employs advanced imaging techniques to examine the basic mechanisms that mediate brain circuit development. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of neural activity in the developing brain, for instance by demonstrating that early spontaneous neuronal activity is an essential part of normal brain development. He is currently exploring the mechanisms by which this activity is generated and how it shapes brain circuit development. He has been awarded numerous honors for his research and teaching, including the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Foundation Fellowship Award in the Neurosciences, the Marc Dresden Excellence in Graduate Education Award, and a NARSAD-Sidney R. Baer Jr. Foundation Young Investigator Award. He has also been named an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, a John Merck Fund Scholar and the March of Dimes Foundation's Basil O'Connor Fellow. 

Education & Training

  • PhD
    University of California at Berkeley (1991)
  • MA
    University of California at Berkeley, Physics (1987)
  • AB
    University of California at Berkeley, Physics (1985)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
    University of California at San Francisco
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
    Kyoto University and Kyoto Prefectural Medical School

Departments & Organizations