Esther Becker is Professor of Translational Neuroscience in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences.
Esther currently leads a team of researchers focused on discovering the genes and biological mechanisms that regulate the development of the cerebellum and in exploring how the impairment of these mechanisms leads to cerebellar diseases. The cerebellum is well-known as the primary centre of motor coordination and learning in the central nervous system. However, increasing evidence suggests a much wider function for the "little brain", including in higher cognitive functions such as language, emotion and social reward processing. There is surprisingly little known about the molecular processes that underlie the formation of the cerebellum and that, when disrupted, lead to disease. The goal of Esther's research is to provide fundamental insights into the genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern the development and different diseases of the cerebellum.
After completing her PhD in 2006, Esther moved to Oxford to work with Kay Davies’ group in DPAG, having been awarded a Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship and later an OXION Training Fellowship. In 2010, Esther was awarded a prestigious Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship from the Royal Society to establish her own research programme in the Department, focussing on the genetic and molecular underpinnings of cerebellar ataxia in mice and humans. Esther is also Co-Director of the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership.