Maura Boldrini, M.D., Ph.D

Dr. Maura Boldrini, Research Scientist, Conte Center for Suicide Prevention, Project 1

Maura Boldrini, M.D., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. She is a co-Investigator in the Conte Center for Suicide Prevention, Project 1, “Neurobiology of Suicide: Childhood Adversity, Neuroinflammation and Genomics”.

Research Focus

Dr. Boldrini is a pioneer in detecting and measuring adult neurogenesis in postmortem human hippocampus. She has been studying adult hippocampal neurogenesis in the human brain since 2006, assessing how it is affected by antidepressants treatment, psychopathology and aging. The hippocampus is a brain region known to be involved in stress responses and whose structural plasticity is affected by stress exposure. Dr. Boldrini is interested in studying the relationship between childhood adversity and neuroplasticity in the hippocampus, and the effect of genetic and epigenetic factors on it

Previously Dr. Boldrini focused her studies on neurobiological changes associated with suicide and mood disorders at the level of the brainstem. She studied serotonin 1A receptor, tryptophan hydroxylases and serotonin transporter detecting alterations of their expression at the regional and cellular level and mapping their distribution along the rostro-caudal axis of the raphe nucleus in depression and suicide.

In the Conte Center, Dr. Boldrini will study brains from depressed suicides and non-suicides and individuals without psychopathology, assessing the relationship between history of childhood adversity, levels of neuroinflammatory markers and the total number of neurons in the hippocampal subfields. The project aims to distinguish the effect of psychopathology from that of adversity. The inclusion of a group with no psychopathology but history of adversity allows studying the morphological, genetic and epigenetic characteristics of a resilient phenotype.

Dr. Boldrini’s research in mood disorders and suicide has been continuously funded by private foundations, New York State and NIH since 1999. She has been the PI of several grants studying the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric diseases in postmortem human brain. She is currently the PI of an NIMH R01 entitled “Adult hippocampal neuroplasticity and depression”, an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Standard Investigator Award entitled “Brain proteomics to understand suicidal behavior biosignatures”, and a NINDS U01 subcontract entitled “Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) Translational Research Alliance (SUTRA); The Neuropathology of SUDEP: The Central Autonomic Network, Serotonin, and Adenosine”. She was the PI on a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF, formerly NARSAD) Independent Investigator Grant entitled “Inflammatory cytokines and hippocampal neuroplasticity in mood disorders”, and a co-Investigator in a NYSTEM Imaging Core Facility grant entitled “Imaging Stem Cells in the Brain for Studying Neuropsychiatric Disorders”.

Select Publications

1. Raffaella Calati, Maura Boldrini, Ismaïl Bensassi, Jerome J Maller, Chantal Meslin, Marilyn Wyart Karen Ritchie, Philippe Courtet, Sylvaine Artero, Jorge Lopez-Castroman.  Commentary on smaller hippocampal volume in current but not in past depression in comparison to healthy controls: minor evidence from an older adults sample. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, In Press

2. Boldrini M, Galfalvy H, Dwork AJ, Rosoklija GB, Trencevska-Ivainovska I, Palovski G, Hen R, Arango V, Mann JJ. Boldrini M. Resilience Is Associated with Larger Dentate Gyrus while Suicide Decedents with Major Depressive Disorder have Fewer Granule Neurons. Biological Psychiatry. May 15, 2019

3. Tartt AN, Fulmore CA, Liu Y, Rosoklija GB, Dwork AJ, Arango V, Hen R, Mann JJ, Boldrini M. Considerations for assessing the extent of hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult and aging human brain. Cell Stem Cell. 2018 Dec 6 PMID: 30526880, DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.10.025

4. Besnard A, Langberg T, Levinson S, Chu D, Vicidomini C, Scobie KN, Dwork AJ, Arango V, Rosoklija GB, Mann JJ, Hen R, Leonardo ED, Boldrini M, Sahay A. Targeting Kruppel-like factor 9 (Klf9) in excitatory forebrain 1 neurons protects against chronic stress-induced dendritic spine enlargement and maladaptive fear responses. Cell Reports, 2018 Jun 12;23(11):3183-3196. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.040. PMID: 29898391

5. Boldrini M, Fulmore CA, Tartt AN, Simeon LR, Pavlova I, Poposka V, Rosoklija GB, Stankov A, Arango V, Dwork AJ, Hen R, Mann JJ. Human Hippocampal Neurogenesis Persists Throughout the Eighth Decade of Life. Cell Stem Cell. 2018 Apr 5;22(4):589-599.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.03.015. PMID: 29625071

6. Thom M, Boldrini M, Bundock E, Sheppard MN, Devinsky O. The past, present and future challenges in epilepsy related sudden deaths and bio-banking. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology,2018 Feb;44(1):32-55. doi: 10.1111/nan.12453. PMID: 29178443

7. Pillai RLI, Zhang M, Yang J, Boldrini M, Mann JJ, Oquendo MA, Parsey RV, DeLorenzo C. Will imaging individual raphe nuclei in males with major depressive disorder enhance diagnostic sensitivity and specificity? Depress Anxiety. 2018 Jan 24. doi: 10.1002/da.22721. PMID: 29365217

8. Aizenstein HJ, Baskys A, Boldrini M, Butters MA, Diniz B, Jaiswal MJ, Jellinger KA, Kruglov LS, Meshandin IA, Mijajlovic MD, Niklewski G, Pospos S, Raju K, Richter K, Steffens DC, Taylor W, Tene O. Vascular Depression Consensus Report – A Critical Update. BMC Med. 2016 Nov 3;14(1):161. PMID: 27806704

9. Donaldson ZR, Le Francois B, Santos TL, Almli LM, Boldrini M, Champagne F, Arango V, Stockmeier CA, Galfalvy H, Albert PR, Ressler KJ, Hen R. The functional serotonin 1a receptor promoter polymorphism, rs6295, is associated with psychiatric illness and differences in transcription. Translational Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 1;6:e746. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.226. PMID: 26926882

10. Azmitia EC, Saccomano ZT, Alzoobaee ZF, Boldrini M, Whitaker-Azmitia PM. Persistent Angiogenesis in the Autism Brain: an immunocytochemical study of postmortem cortex, brainstem and cerebellum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (JADD). 2016 Apr;46(4):1307-18. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2672-6. PMID: 26667147

11. Wu MV, Shamy JL, Bedi G, Choi CW, Wall MM, Arango V, Boldrini M, Foltin RW, Hen R. Impact of Social Status and Antidepressant Treatment on Neurogenesis in the Baboon Hippocampus. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Feb 12. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.33. PMID: 24518288

12. Mann JJ, Oquendo MA, Watson KT, Boldrini M, Malone KM, Ellis SP, Sullivan G, Cooper TB, Xie S, Currier D. Anxiety in Major Depression and Cerebrospinal Fluid Free Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. Depression and Anxiety. 2014 May 27. doi: 10.1002/da.22278. PMID: 24865448

13. Boldrini M, Butt TH, Dwork AJ, Bakalian MJ, Tamir H, Rosoklija GB, Hen R, Arango V Mann JJ. Benzodiazepines And The Potential Trophic Effect Of Antidepressants On Dentate Gyrus Cells In Mood Disorders. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2014 Jun 27:1-11. PMID: 24969726

14. Boldrini M, Santiago AN, Hen R, Dwork AJ, Rosoklija GB, Tamir H, Arango V Mann JJ. Hippocampal granule neuron number and dentate gyrus volume in antidepressant-treated and untreated major depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Jan 7. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.

15. Boldrini M, Hen R, Underwood MD, Rosoklija GB, Dwork AJ, Mann JJ, Arango V. Hippocampal Angiogenesis and Progenitor Cell Proliferation are Increased with Antidepressant Use in Major Depression. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Oct 1;72(7):562-571.