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.
Dr. Marenco is a Psychiatrist and researcher at the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health. He completed his MD at the University of Genova, Italy, followed by training in Clinical Neurophysiology, and a residency in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland and the NIMH-IRP. He has had further research training at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Nuclear Medicine, with Dean Wong and at the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch (CBDB), NIMH-IRP, under the supervision of Daniel Weinberger.
In 2004 he became a staff clinician, helping run several inpatient and outpatient studies in CBDB at the NIMH-IRP, then continued in the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch under Karen Berman in 2011 and became Deputy Director of the Human Brain Collection Core (HBCC) with Barbara Lipska in 2016. He has been Acting Director of HBCC since 2020.
Dr. Marenco has broad interests in neurophysiology, neurodevelopment, genomics and biomarkers of mental illness, particularly schizophrenia.
Dr. Marenco has broad experience with a full spectrum of methodology to study brain physiology, neurological and psychiatric disorders. He has conducted clinical trials, and used brain imaging in vivo (PET, EEG, fMRI, MR spectroscopy, DTI) and genomic techniques postmortem to characterize abnormalities in psychiatric patients and attempt to understand their genetic and environmental roots. His focus has been especially on schizophrenia research, but this has expanded to other disorders since joining HBCC.
Deep transcriptome sequencing of subgenual anterior cingulate cortex reveals cross-diagnostic and diagnosis-specific RNA expression changes in major psychiatric disorders. Akula, N., Marenco, S., Johnson, K., Feng, N., Zhu, K., Schulmann, A., . . . McMahon, F. J. (2021). Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(7), 1364-1372. PMID: 33558674
Role of gamma-amino-butyric acid in the dorsal anterior cingulate in age-associated changes in cognition. Marenco, S., C. Meyer, J. W. van der Veen, Y. Zhang, R. Kelly, J. Shen, D. R. Weinberger, D. Dickinson and K. F. Berman (2018). Neuropsychopharmacology 43(11): 2285-2291 PMID: 30050047
Convergence of placenta biology and genetic risk for schizophrenia. Ursini, G., Punzi, G., Chen, Q., Marenco, S., Robinson, J. F., Porcelli, A., Hamilton, E. G., Mitjans, M., Maddalena, G., Begemann, M., Seidel, J., Yanamori, H., Jaffe, A. E., Berman, K. F., Egan, M. F., Straub, R. E., Colantuoni, C., Blasi, G., Hashimoto, R., Rujescu, D., Ehrenreich, H., Bertolino, A. and Weinberger, D. R. (2018). Nat Med 24(6): 792-801. PMID: 29808008
Prefrontal GABA Levels Measured With Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Patients With Psychosis and Unaffected Siblings. Marenco, S., Meyer, C., Kuo, S., van der Veen, J. W., Shen, J., DeJong, K., Barnett, A. S., Apud, J. A., Dickinson, D., Weinberger, D. R. and Berman, K. F. (2016). Am J Psychiatry 173(5): 527-534 PMID: 26806873
Investigation of anatomical thalamo-cortical connectivity and FMRI activation in schizophrenia. Marenco, S., Stein, J. L., Savostyanova, A. A., Sambataro, F., Tan, H. Y., Goldman, A. L., Verchinski, B. A., Barnett, A. S., Dickinson, D., Apud, J. A., Callicott, J. H., Meyer-Lindenberg, A. and Weinberger, D. R. (2012). Neuropsychopharmacology 37(2): 499-507. PMID: 21956440
Genetic association of ErbB4 and human cortical GABA levels in vivo. Marenco, S., Geramita, M., van der Veen, J. W., Barnett, A. S., Kolachana, B., Shen, J., Weinberger, D. R. and Law, A. J. (2011). J Neurosci 31(32): 11628-11632. PMID: 21832192
Genetic modulation of GABA levels in the anterior cingulate cortex by GAD1 and COMT. Marenco, S., Savostyanova, A. A., van der Veen, J. W., Geramita, M., Stern, A., Barnett, A. S., Kolachana, B., Radulescu, E., Zhang, F., Callicott, J. H., Straub, R. E., Shen, J. and Weinberger, D. R. (2010). Neuropsychopharmacology 35(8): 1708-1717. PMID: 20357758
Genetic contributions to white matter architecture revealed by diffusion tensor imaging in Williams syndrome. Marenco, S., Siuta, M. A., Kippenhan, J. S., Grodofsky, S., Chang, W. L., Kohn, P., Mervis, C. B., Morris, C. A., Weinberger, D. R., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Pierpaoli, C. and Berman, K. F. (2007). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104(38): 15117-15122. PMID: 17827280
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.
Pavan Auluck, MD, PhD, is a neuropathologist and Acting Deputy Director of the Human Brain Collection Core (HBCC). His research focuses on understanding the cellular heterogeneity in the human brain and how this cellular and molecular heterogeneity may be altered in psychiatric disorders. Dr. Auluck completed his undergraduate studies in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his graduate and medical training at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, his pathology and neuropathology residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and post-doctoral training at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Dr. Auluck joined the HBCC in 2017.
The Human Brain Collection Core is tasked with collecting and distributing high-quality, well-characterized brain tissue from individuals with psychiatric disorders and neurologically-intact individuals. The HBCC collaborates with investigators across the NIH and distributes tissue to extramural investigators. In addition, Dr. Auluck is focused on deciphering the molecular changes associated with psychiatric disorders with the ultimate goal of identifying a pathological biomarker. To this end, the HBCC has embarked on an effort to characterize brain regions implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and major depression and to investigate psychiatric disorders at a single-nucleus level and spatial transcriptomic level.
Novel human insulin isoforms and Cα-peptide product in Islets of Langerhans and choroid plexus. Liu QR, Zhu M, Zhang P, Mazucanti CH, Huang NS, Lang DL, Chen Q, Auluck P, Marenco S, O’Connell JF, Ferrucci L, Chia CW, Egan JM. (2021) Diabetes. PMID: 34649926
Deep transcriptome sequencing of subgenual anterior cingulate cortex reveals cross-diagnostic and diagnosis-specific RNA expression changes in major psychiatric disorders. Akula N, Marenco S, Johnson K, Feng N, Zhu K, Schulmann A, Corona W, Jiang X, Cross J, England B, Nathan A, Detera-Wadleigh S, Xu Q, Auluck PK, An K, Kramer R, Apud J, Harris BT, Rhodes CH, Lipska BK, McMahon FJ.. (2021) Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 33558677
Development of an aggregate-selective, human-derived α-synuclein antibody BIIB054 that ameliorates disease phenotypes in Parkinson's disease models. Weihofen A, Liu Y, Arndt JW, Huy C, Quan C, Smith BA, Baeriswyl JL, Cavegn N, Senn L, Su L, Marsh G, Auluck PK, Montrasio F, Nitsch RM, Hirst WD, Cedarbaum JM, Pepinsky RB, Grimm J, Weinreb PH. (2019) Neurobiol Dis. PMID: 30381260
Methylation of the dopamine transporter gene in blood is associated with striatal dopamine transporter availability in ADHD. Wiers CE, Lohoff FW, Lee J, Muench C, Freeman C, Zehra A, Marenco S, Lipska BK, Auluck PK, Feng N, Sun H, Goldman D, Swanson JM, Wang G-J, Volkow ND. a preliminary study. Euro J Neurosci. (2018) PMID: 30033547
Genome-Scale Networks Link Neurodegenerative Disease Genes to α-Synuclein through Specific Molecular Pathways. Khurana V, Peng, J, Chung CY, Auluck PK, Fanning S, Tardiff DF, Bartels T, Koeva M, Eichhorn SW, Benyamini H, Lou Y, Nutter-Upham A, Baru V, Freyzon Y, Tuncbag N, Costanzo M, San Luis B, Schondorf DC, Barrasa MB, Ehsani S, Sanjana N, Zhong Q, Gasser T, Bartel DP, Vidal M, Deleidi M, Boone C, Fraenkel E, Berger B, Lindquist S. (2017) Cell Systems.; 4:1-14. PMID: 28131822
In Situ Peroxidase Labeling and Mass-Spectrometry Connects Alpha-Synuclein Directly to Endocytic Trafficking and mRNA Metabolism in Neurons. Chung CY, Khurana V, Yi S, Sahni N, Loh KH, Auluck PK, Baru V, Udeshi ND, Freyson Y, Carr SA, Hill DE, Ting AY, Lindquist S. (2017) Cell Systems. PMID: 28131823
Calcineurin determine toxic versus beneficial responses to α-synuclein. Caraveo G, Auluck PK, Whitesell L, Chung CY, Baru V, Mosharov EV, Yan XH, Ben-Johny M, Soste M, Picotti P, Kim H, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Sulzer D, Yue DT, Lindquist S (2014) PNAS. PMID: 25122673
Compounds from an unbiased chemical screen reverse both ER-to-Golgi trafficking defects and mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease models. Su LJ*, Auluck PK*, Outeiro TF*, Yeger-Lotem E, Kritzer JA, Tardiff DF, Strathearn KE, Liu F, Cao S, Hamamichi S, Hill KJ, Caldwell KA, Bell GW, Fraenkel E, Cooper AA, Caldwell GA, McCaffery JM, Rochet JC, Lindquist S. (2010) Dis Model Mech. PMID: 20038714
David 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, 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, 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.
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-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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
Tom obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from Salisbury State College in 1980. Tom worked in private industry until 1987. One year at USDA before joining the Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism at NIH in 1988. he worked there until the lab Chief, Dr. Louis Sokoloff retired. He then joined the Section on Neuroadaptation and Protein Metabolism with Dr. Carolyn Beebe Smith until her retirement in the Fall of 2021.
Pranav is a post-baccalaureate IRTA research fellow. He received a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Arizona. He is interested in studying the genetic markers of mental illness through imaging and bioinformatics techniques.