Daniel Marenda, PhD

Associate Professor; Director of the Biology Graduate Program; Co-Director of the Cell Imaging Center

Dr. Daniel Marenda

Office: PISB 421
Phone: 215.895.2526
Lab: PISB 410 B2
Lab Phone: 215.895.5877
Website(s): The Marenda Lab
Research Focus: Marenda Lab

Specialization: Developmental neurobiology and Behavior. Modeling Alzheimer’s disease, CHARGE syndrome, and Pitt-Hopkins in Drosophila


  • BS, Loyola University Chicago
  • PhD, Syracuse University
  • Post-Doc, Emory University School of Medicine  

Research Interests

Understanding how the nervous system and brain of higher animals function is one of the most fascinating and mysterious questions in biology. Understanding the complex organization of the neurons within the brain requires the proper understanding of which genes control the development, morphology, and connectivity of these neurons.  It also requires an understanding of which behaviors and functions these neurons control in the organism.  To address these questions, we utilize the fruit flyDrosophila melanogaster as a model organism.  We exploit the powerful genetic and cell biological techniques Drosophila possess to model how genes regulate neurogenesis and neural development in the central nervous system in the fly.  Many of the genes we study are associated with human disease, and our  has created novel models for CHARGE syndrome, FRAXE Fragile X syndrome, Pitt-Hopkins, and Alzheimer's disease in the fly.  We employ genetic and molecular biology techniques, histology, cell biology, behavior, and several types of microscopy (confocal, fluorescent, SEM) to address these questions.

Research Focus



  • Kelly SM, Bienkowski R, Banerjee A, Melicharek DJ, Brewer ZA, Marenda DR., Corbett AH, and Moberg KH. (2015) The Drosophila ortholog of the ZC3H14 RNA binding protein acts within neurons to pattern axon projection in the developing brain. Developmental Neurobiology May 15. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22301 PMID: 25980665
  • Ghosh R, Vegesna S, Safi R, Bao H, Zhang B, Marenda DR*, and Liebl FLW*. (2014) Kismet positively regulates glutamate receptor localization and synaptic transmission at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. PLoS ONE. 2014 Nov 20;9(11):e113494. PMID: 25412171 (*Co-Corresponding Authors)
  • Mhatre SD, Satyasi V, Killen M, Paddock BE, Moir, RD, Saunders AJ, and Marenda DR. (2014) Altered synapses in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease. Disease Models and Mechanisms 7(3): 373-385 PMID: 24487408
  • *Baudier KM, Kaschock-Marenda SD, Patel N, Diangelus KL, O'Donnell S, and Marenda DR. (2014) Erythritol, a non-nutritive sugar alcohol sweetener and the main component of TruviaÒ, is a palatable ingested insecticide. PLoS ONE. 2014 Jun 4;9(6):e98949. PMID: 24896294
    (*This work was featured on AAAS Science Update, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR's WHYY, Science Magazine's "Scienceshot", Chemical and Engineering News, CBS news, Yahoo News, Salon Magazine, IFLScience, Good Housekeeping, The Alternative Daily, and New York Magazine)
  • Mhatre SD, Michelson SJ, Gomes J, Tabb LP, Saunders AJ, and Marenda DR. (2014) Development and characterization of an aged onset model of Alzheimer's disease in Drosophila melanogaster. Experimental Neurology 261:772-781 PMID: 25173219
  • Vorobyeva AG, Lee R, Miller S, Longen C, Sharoni M, Kandelwal PJ, Kim FJ, Marenda DR., and Saunders AJ. (2014) Cyclopamine modulates gamma-secretase mediated cleavage of amyloid precursor protein by altering its subcellular trafficking and lysosomal degredation. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289(48):33258-74. PMID: 25281744
  • Solowska JM, D'Rozario MD, Jean DC, Marenda DR*, and Baas PW*. (2014) Pathogenic Mutation of Spastin has Gain-of-function Effects on Microtubule Dynamics. Journal of Neuroscience 34(5): 1856-67 (*Co-Senior authors, ^ Featured Article in the journal)
  • Chakraborty R, Vepuri V, Mhatre SD, Paddock BE, Miller S, Michelson SJ, Delvadia R, Desai A, Vinokur M, Melicharek DJ, Utrega S, Khandelwal P, Ansaloni S, Goldstein LE, Moir RD, Lee JC, Tabb LP, Saunders AJ, and Marenda DR. (2011) Characterization of a Drosophila Alzheimer's Disease Model: Pharmacological Rescue of Cognitive Defects, PLoS ONE 6(6): e20799. PMID: 21673973
  • Melicharek D, Ramirez LC, Singh S, Thompson R, and Marenda DR. (2010) Kismet/CHD7 regulates axon morphology, memory, and locomotion in a Drosophila model of CHARGE Syndrome. Human Molecular Genetics 19(21): 4253-4264 (Cover Article)