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Dr. Daniel Marenda

Daniel Marenda, PhD

Associate Dean of Research, Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Office: PISB 421
Phone: 215.895.2526
Lab Location: PISB 410 B2
Lab Phone: 215.895.5877
Additional Sites: The Marenda Lab


  • 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, connectivity, and function of these neurons.  It also requires an understanding of which behaviors these neurons control in the organism.  In my laboratory, my students and I strive to understand the underlying mechanisms that govern these captivating questions. To do this, we utilize the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as an in vivo model organism.  We exploit the powerful genetic and behavioral techniques Drosophila possess to better understand how genes regulate neural development in the central nervous system, and how defects in these gene affect behavior of the organism. Many of the genes we study are associated with human disease, and our laboratory has created novel models for CHARGE syndrome, Pitt-Hopkins, and Alzheimer's disease in Drosophila. Through our research, we hope to achieve a better understanding of the basic processes involved in nervous system development and function, but we also hope that our findings could be translated into potential therapeutics for some of the diseases we study as well.

Research Focus

Selected Publications:

  • Latcheva NK, Viveiros JM, Waddell EA, Nguyen PTT, Liebl FLW, Marenda DR. (2018) Epigenetic crosstalk: Pharmacological inhibition of HDACs can rescue defective synaptic morphology and neurotransmission phenotypes associated with loss of the chromatin reader Kismet. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 87:77-85; PMID: 29249293
  • D'Rozario M, Zhang T, Waddell EA, Zhang Y, Sahin C, Sharoni M, HuT, Nayal M, Kutty K, Liebl F, Hu W, and Marenda DR. (2016) Type I bHLH proteins Daughterless and TCF4 restrict neurite branching and synapse formation by repressing Neurexin in postmitotic neurons. Cell Reports, 15, 386–397. PMID: 27050508
  • Leo L, Yu W, D'Rozario M, Waddell EA, Marenda DR, Baird MA, Davidson MW, Zhou B, Wu B, Baker L, Sharp DJ, and Baas PW. (2015) Vertebrate fidgetin restrains axonal growth by severing labile comains of microtubules. Cell Reports 22;12(11):1723-30. PMID: 26344772
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • *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 Truvia, 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, 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
  • 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
  • Reza MA, Mhatre SD, Utreha S, Morrison C, Saunders AJ, Breen DE, and Marenda DR. (2013) Automated analysis of courtship suppression learning and memory in Drosophila melanogaster. Fly 7(2):105-111
  • Mhatre SD, Paddock B, Saunders AJ, and Marenda DR. (2013) Invertebrate models of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 33: 3-16
  • DiStefano GM, Gangemi AJ, Khandelwal PJ, Saunders AJ, and Marenda DR. (2012) Drosophila lilliputian is required for proneural gene expression in retinal development. Developmental Dynamics 241: 553-562
  • Curtis BJ, Zraly CB, Marenda DR, Dingwall AK. (2011). Histone lysine demethylases function as co-repressors of SWI/SNF remodeling activities during Drosophila wing development. Developmental Biology 350: 534-547
  • 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
  • Majumdar N, Paez GL, Inamdar SM, D'Rozario M, and Marenda DR. (2010) MAP Kinase phosphorylation is dispensable for cell division, but required for cell growth in Drosophila. Fly 4:3 204-212
  • 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.