Mark Dombrovskiy

John A. Blackburn Jefferson Fellow
Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation
B.S. Moscow State University (2012)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Mark Dombrovskiy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology and was awarded a Jefferson Fellowship in 2014. Mark has earned his B.S. degree with honors at the Department of Biology in Moscow State University in Russia in 2012. After that, he has spend two years working as a research assistant in the Russian Center for Pediatric Oncology and Immunology and participated in a series of studies focused on developing novel methods of anti-cancer drug delivery. Having joined the Department of Biology at the UVA, Mark started to work under the supervision of Dr. Barry Condron, whose research focused on studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of plasticity in the nervous system underlying the emergence of learning, memory and complex social behaviors. Using a combination of computational modeling, behavioral analysis and anatomical studies, Mark has led a study describing the emergence of experience-dependent social behavior in Drosophila fruit fly. This paper was published in a high impact Current Biology Journal in 2017. In less than two years Mark has completed a follow-up study investigating specific neuronal circuits regulating the emergence of social behavior in fruit flies during critical periods in early postembryonic development. The paper was accepted for publication in the same Current Biology journal in March 2019. Before his graduation in the Summer 2019, Mark is planning to finish two more projects related to his previous research and focusing on ecological and evolutionary aspects of fruit fly social behaviors. In 2019 Mark was offered a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, in a laboratory headed by Dr. Larry Zipursky, a Distinguished Professor of Biological Chemistry, Chair of UCLA Neuroscience and an HHMI investigator. In Dr. Zipursky’s lab Mark will continue to investigate molecular mechanisms of neuronal circuit formation during development.

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The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship and citizenship.

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The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, like its namesake, knows that virtue and talent come from all walks of life. Indeed it is this knowledge that drives the Foundation to search the world over for its recipients.

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The Jefferson Fellowship is the premier graduate fellowship offered at the University of Virginia. Based solely on merit, the Fellowship seeks to attract Ph.D. and M.B.A. candidates.

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