COVID-19 Show message

Skip to content

Human Brain Collection Core


Barbara Lipska, PhD, Director HBCCBarbara Lipska, PhD, Director

Dr. Lipska obtained a M.S. degree in organic chemistry in 1975 and a Ph.D. degree in medical sciences at the Medical School of Warsaw, Poland in 1988. She has been at the NIMH since 1989 as a researcher and a chief of a molecular biology lab. She became a director of the HBCC in 2013. Her primary research interests are in mental illness and human brain development. She is an internationally recognized leader in human postmortem research and animal modeling of schizophrenia.

Stefano Marenco, MDStefano Marenco, MD, Deputy Director

Dr. Marenco is a board-certified psychiatrist with ~20 years of experience in medical research relevant to schizophrenia. He is an expert in in-vivo brain imaging techniques, and imaging genetics and applies his expertise to the field of post-mortem brain research. In HBCC he is involved in the consenting process and diagnostic assessments.

Pavan Auluck, MD, PhD, Neuropathologist, HBCC Pavan Auluck, MD, PhD, Neuropathologist

Dr. Auluck is board-certified in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology. He has a broad expertise in using model organisms to study human neurological diseases, genetic and chemical screens, and pre-clinical drug development. In the HBCC Dr. Auluck performs neuropathological assessments of donated brains and supports collaborative research activities with the group.

David I. Driver, MDDavid I. Driver, MD, Psychiatrist

Dr. Driver is a contracted medical officer in the HBCC, NIMH. He received his MD from Sint Eustatius School of Medicine in Sint Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles; his General Adult Psychiatry training at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC; Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC; and research training through a fellowship at the NIMH. Dr. Driver is board certified both in Adult and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. His primary interest is in understanding the clinical phenomenology and neurodevelopmental underpinnings of severe mental illness.

Bhaskar Kolachana, PhDBhaskar Kolachana, PhD

Dr. Kolachana received his Ph.D. degree in life sciences from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. He has been a staff scientist at the NIMH since 1999. He was involved the studies of risk-associated gene variants for psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia.  He co-authored 90 publications. In May 2015, the Thompson-Reuters recognized him as a highly cited researcher. In HBCC he is involved in genetic studies and genotyping of postmortem tissues.

Ningping Feng, MD, PhDNingping Feng, MD, PhD

Dr. Feng obtained his M.D. degree from Ningxia Medical College, China in 1986 and a Ph.D. degree in Epidemiology from Harbin Medical University, China in 1994. He has been a senior scientist at the NIMH since 2007. He has been involved in human molecular and genetic studies of mental illness. At HBCC he is a senior molecular biologist generating gene expression and genotyping data from postmortem brain tissues.

Ajeet Mandal, Ph.D.Ajeet Mandal, Ph.D.

Dr. Mandal is a bioinformatics scientist. He has over 10 years of experience in molecular and cell biology research including strategic planning to investigate complex biological challenges. Over the last 6 years, he has been working on diverse bioinformatics projects, e.g. next-generation sequencing (NGS), proteomics, drug discovery, and RNAi screening. Previously, he has been working as a bioinformatics analyst in the National Cancer Institute and as a research fellow in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He has co-authored 12 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In HBCC, Dr. Mandal’s role is to perform bioinformatics research by analysis of NGS data and data sharing/management upon requests from collaborators.

Melanie Bose, LCSW-CMelanie Bose, LCSW-C

Melanie has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has been with NIMH since 2002 and has over 20 years of clinical mental health experience with an emphasis on research screening and assessment.  She is a clinical research coordinator at the HBCC.

Jonathan SirovatkaJonathan Sirovatka

Jonathan is the Intake Coordinator at the HBCC. His roles include screening candidates for brain donation, obtaining legal informed consent from families, examining donated brains, and managing documentation for each case. Jonathan also acts as a liaison between HBCC and local medical examiner’s offices. He has presented on brain collection at the Winter Conference on Brain Research, and his technical expertise has been acknowledged in numerous scientific publications. Jonathan has been with the group since 2004. Beyond HBCC, he is a whitewater kayaking instructor and an avid outdoorsman.

Qing XuQing Xu

Qing earned her B.S. degree in Biology in 1987 and master’s degree in Biomedicine in 1990. She has over 25 years of biomedical research experience in cellular and molecular biology. Her role in HBCC is to prepare high quality RNA and DNA samples obtained from postmortem human brain tissue and/or blood, and perform quantitative real time PCR. She is also involved in dissecting brain tissue and barcoding of biospecimens.

Vesna ImamovicVesna Imamovic

Vesna obtained a B.S. degree in pharmaceutical sciences at the Medical School in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1988. She has been working at the NIMH since 2001. Vesna is a technical assistant who coordinates brain tissue collection, inventories specimens and manages the inventory data.  She is involved in brain tissue freezing, dissections and slicing.

Yiyin LiuYiyin Liu

Yiyin Liu is a laboratory manager. She has been at NIMH since 2005. She oversees and manages all facets of laboratory operations. She assures continual laboratory compliance with all NIH Safety regulations, manages laboratory acquisitions and maintenance of contracts for lab equipment. She manages space usage and facility renovation/construction projects. She also assists with research projects, monitoring and tracking of the samples and distribution to collaborators.

Joyce AdamsJoyce Adams

Mrs. Adams has been at NIH for over 40 years. She works at the HBCC as a technical assistant. Joyce coordinates all aspects of obtaining medical records from outside facilities in order to establish a psychiatric diagnosis. She also helps out in our lab as needed.

Darlina Sosa, Clinical Operations ManagerDarlina Sosa

Darlina Sosa is a Clinical Operations Manager. She has been at NIH since 2005. She joined HBCC in 2015. She is responsible for managing all administrative operations.

Dowon Kim, post-baccalaureate IRTA research fellowDowon Kim

Dowon is a post-baccalaureate IRTA research fellow interested in the genetic foundations of mental illnesses. He graduated from Brown University with a Sc.B. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and plans to pursue an M.D. in the future.