Professor Ethan Scott


Queensland Brain Institute


Ethan Scott earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he studied molecular genetics in yeast under the mentorship of Prof. Thomas Petes. He then moved to Stanford University, and the lab of Prof. Liqun Luo, for his PhD work in developmental neuroscience. This work involved using targeted transgenics in Drosophila to express protein tools that revealed neurons’ structures and contributions to sensory processing. This approach, using transgenics to explore the structure and function of neurons and networks, has formed the basis of his subsequent work. As a postdoc with Prof. Herwig Baier at UC-San Francisco, Ethan developed Gal4 enhancer trapping in the zebrafish model system, providing transgenic reagents for the exploration of this system’s neural networks. In 2007, he established his own lab in the School of Biomedical Sciences at UQ, where he served as a lecturer, senior lecturer, and associate professor, before moving to QBI in 2020.

Ethan’s research group at QBI blends optical physics, neuroscience, and computational biology to describe sensory networks in zebrafish. The backbone of this approach is whole-brain calcium imaging at cellular resolution, whereby all of the brain’s neurons can be probed for activity simultaneously. This permits the characterisation of brain-wide networks responsible for vision, hearing, vestibular perception, and the detection of water flow around the zebrafish larva. Ongoing work includes the modelling of these networks computationally, the description of simple sensory learning such as habituation, the exploration of networks responsible for sensory integration, and the modelling of sensory phenotypes in human psychiatric disorders including autism and fragile X syndrome.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University


  • Favre-Bulle, Itia A. and Scott, Ethan K. (2022). Optical tweezers across scales in cell biology. Trends in Cell Biology. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2022.05.001

  • Marquez-Legorreta, Emmanuel, Constantin, Lena, Piber, Marielle, Favre-Bulle, Itia A., Taylor, Michael A., Blevins, Ann S., Giacomotto, Jean, Bassett, Dani S., Vanwalleghem, Gilles C. and Scott, Ethan K. (2022). Brain-wide visual habituation networks in wild type and fmr1 zebrafish. Nature Communications, 13 (1) 895. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28299-4

  • Mancienne, Tessa, Marquez-Legorreta, Emmanuel, Wilde, Maya, Piber, Marielle, Favre-Bulle, Itia, Vanwalleghem, Gilles and Scott, Ethan K. (2021). Contributions of luminance and motion to visual escape and habituation in larval zebrafish. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 15 748535, 748535. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2021.748535

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Book Chapter

  • Marquez-Legorreta, Emmanuel, Piber, Marielle and Scott, Ethan K. (2020). Visual escape in larval zebrafish: stimuli, circuits, and behavior. Behavioral and Neural Genetics of Zebrafish. (pp. 49-71) edited by Robert T. Gerlai. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-817528-6.00004-8

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Spoerri, L., Tonnessen, C., Beaumont, K., Hill, D., Jurek, R., Gunasingh, G., Daignault, S. M., Vanwalleghem, G., Weninger, W., Scott, E. and Haass, N. K. (2019). MITF-mediated extracellular matrix changes control intratumour heterogeneity in melanoma. 49th Annual ESDR Meeting, Bordeaux, France, 18-21 September 2019. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2019.07.709

  • Favre-Bulle, Itia A., Scott, Ethan and Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Halina (2016). Optical manipulation for optogenetics: otoliths manipulation in zebrafish. Conference on Biophysics, Biology, and Biophotonics - The Crossroads, San Francisco, CA, United States, 13-14 February 2016. Bellingham, WA, United States: S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering. doi: 10.1117/12.2216554

  • Favre-Bulle, Itia, Nieminen, Timo A., Preece, Daryl, Heap, Lucy A., Scott, Ethan K. and Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Halina (2015). Computational modeling of scattering of a focused beam in zebrafish brain tissue. Optics and the Brain, BRAIN 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 12-15 April 2015. Washington, DC, USA: OSA - The Optical Society. doi: 10.1364/BODA.2015.JT3A.34

  • Vanwalleghem, Gilles, Heap, Lucy A., Favre-Bulle, Itia, Schuster, Kevin, Thompson, Andrew and Scott, Ethan K. (2015). Sensory integration in the Zebrafish brain, what are the functions of the thalamus and the cerebellum ?. Neuroinformatics 2015, Cairns, Australia, 20-22 August, 2015. Lausanne Switzerland: Frontiers. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnins.2015.91.00018

  • Behrendorff, N, Behrendorff, J, Wall, A, Scott, E and Thorn, P (2011). A novel transgenic zebrafish model for studying secretion in the exocrine pancreas. 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Pancreatic Association, Chicago, IL, United States, 2-5 November 2011. PHILADELPHIA: LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e318232ea83

  • Eyles, Darryl, Calcagno, B., Formella, I., Van Swinderen, B., Scott, E., Burne, T. and McGrath, J. (2011). Modeling schizophrenia, dopamine ontogeny and the small brain. 13th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR), Colorado Springs CO, United States, 2-6 April 2011. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbq173

Other Outputs

  • Marquez Legorreta, Emmanuel, Scott, Ethan, Piber, Marielle and Mancienne, Tessa (2021). Dataset relating to 'Contributions of luminance and motion to visual escape and habituation in larval zebrafish'. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.48610/3684089

  • Marquez Legorreta, Emmanuel, Scott, Ethan, Vanwalleghem, Gilles and Marquez Legorreta, Emmanuel (2021). Datasets for the manuscript by MarquezLegorreta_et_al_2021.. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.48610/9549fdc

  • Constantin, Lena, Scott, Ethan, Vanwalleghem, Gilles, Poulsen, Rebecca, Scholz, Leandro Aluisio and Bissett, Wyatt (2020). Auditory Sensitivity Experiments. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/aa37c6d

  • Constantin, Lena, Scott, Ethan, Vanwalleghem, Gilles, Poulsen, Rebecca and Scholz, Leandro Aluisio (2020). Baseline Experiments. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/06dea52

  • Favre-Bulle, Itia and Scott, Ethan (2020). Bio-Opto-Acoustics. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/9809ff7

  • Constantin, Lena, Scott, Ethan, Vanwalleghem, Gilles, Poulsen, Rebecca and Scholz, Leandro Aluisio (2020). Multisensory Experiments. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/cf6e784

  • Vanwalleghem, Gilles, Scott, Ethan and Constantin, Lena (2020). Real and artificial data used in the analysis. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/63584b3

  • Scott, Ethan (2020). Sensory pathways in the scn1lab model of ASD (general pipeline screening). The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.48610/462adac

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision