Samantha Butler, PhD

Samantha Butler, PhD 

Associate Professor


Dr. Samantha Butler studies the biologic mechanisms of the human nervous system to gain knowledge that will lead to using stem cells to repair nerve damage and treat and cure disease.

The extraordinarily diverse functions of the nervous system, from thought to movement, are possible because nerve cells are assembled into well-ordered networks that permit them to rapidly and accurately communicate with their signaling targets through links called synapses. Dr. Butler is working to understand the mechanisms that establish these networks during human development to use them to regenerate damaged or diseased nerve connections. As part of these studies, she is developing techniques to direct stem cells to become spinal cord cells that will regenerate nerve connections as quickly as possible.

An associate professor of neurobiology, Dr. Butler came to UCLA in September 2013 from the University of Southern California. She earned her undergraduate degree at Cambridge University, her doctorate at Princeton University, and was a postdoctoral scholar at Columbia University. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, March of Dimes and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


Netrin1 Produced by Neural Progenitors, Not Floor Plate Cells, Is Required for Axon Guidance in the Spinal Cord
Published April 20, 2017 - Cell Press
Supraja G. Varadarajan, Jennifer H. Kong, Keith D. Phan, Artur Kania, Bennett G. Novitch & Samantha J. Butler