Christoph Anacker, Ph.D.

Christoph Anacker, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in Psychiatry at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from King’s College London in the UK and completed postdoctoral fellowships in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Meaney at McGill University, where he studied early environmental effects on brain development and behavior, and in the laboratory of Dr. René Hen at Columbia University, where he studied neural network abnormalities in the brain that make individuals more vulnerable to the effects of stress. He received a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH and started his own laboratory in early 2019. Dr. Anacker serves as a Co-Investigator for Project 2 of the Conte Center for Suicide Prevention by modeling early life stress in mice to investigate behavioral and molecular changes in key brain regions involved in cognitive function and emotional regulation.

Research Focus

The overall goal of Dr. Anacker’s translational research program is to develop new and improved strategies for detecting, treating, and preventing depression at an early stage by targeting brain abnormalities that cause the disorder. Dr. Anacker’s research focuses particularly on how experiences during early childhood can predispose individuals to developing psychiatric problems and higher levels of stress sensitivity later in life. He uses advanced neuroscience technology to address this question, for example by visualizing life brain cell activity in freely moving mice during and after stress and anxiety or depressive behaviors.

Select Publications

1. Bickle J.G., Li Y., Millette A., Dixon R., Wu S., Carazo Arias E., Luna V.M., Anacker C.,5HT1A receptors on dentate gyrus granule cells confer stress resilience; Biological Psychiatry 2023; Oct 18:S0006-3223(23)01627

2. Van Dijk MT., Talati A., Kayshap P., Desai K., Kelsall N., Gameroff M., Aw N., Abraham E., Cullen B., Cha J., Anacker C., Weissman M., Posner J., Dentate Gyrus Microstructure Predicts Resilience after Exposure to Maternal Stress Across Two Human Cohorts; Biological Psychiatry 2023; Jun 29;S0006-3223(23)01399 

3. Rosenberg AM., Saggar M., Monzel AS., Devine J., Rogu P., Limoges A., Junker A., Sandi C., Mosharov EV., Dumitriu D., Anacker C., Picard M., Brain mitochondrial diversity and network organization predict anxiety-like behavior in male mice; Nature Communications2023; Aug 10;14(1):4726 

4. Malave L., van Dijk MT, Anacker C., Early Life Adversity shapes neural circuits during sensitive postnatal development periods; Translational Psychiatry 2022; Aug 1;12(1):306 

5. Anacker C, Sydnor E, Chen BK, LaGamma CC, McGowan JC, Mastrodonato A, Hunsberger HA, Shores R, Dixon R, McEwen B, ByneW, Meyer-Bahlburg HFL, Bockting W, Ehrhardt AA, Denny CA, Behavioral and neurobiological effects of GnRH agonist treatment in mice – potential implications for transgender care; Neuropsychopharmacology 2021, Apr;46(5):882-890