Maura Boldrini, MD, PhD

Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Research Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Postdoctoral Residency Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Maura Boldrini, M.D., Ph.D. first joined Columbia University as a Postdoc, and was awarded the Janssen Postdoctoral Fellowship in Translational Neuroscience Research. In 2008 she became Assistant Professor and in 2013 was promoted to Associate Professor in Clinical Neurobiology in Psychiatry. She is a Faculty Mentor in the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University and a member of the Columbia Univ. Stem Cell Initiative and Data Science Institute. She has been a Kavli fellow since 2010 and has been invited lecturer by the National Academy of Sciences, received a Travel Scholarship from the Society of Biological Psychiatry, was selected presenter in the Late-Breaking Session of the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s 67th Annual Meeting, and in the Hot Topics Basic Session at 47th American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Annual Meeting. She has been invited lecturer at meetings and Universities nationally and internationally. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the International Academy of Suicide Research (IASR), and the American Psychiatric Association. Her research has been supported by: NIMH, NINDS, New York State Stem Cell Initiative (NYSTEM), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF or NARSAD), and the Diane Goldberg Foundation. She continues to lead the Neurogenesis Laboratory in the Division of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology at Columbia Univ./New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). She is currently the PI of an NIMH R01, an NINDS U01, an AFSP Standard Research Grant and a BBRF (NARSAD) Independent Investigator award. She is Co-I on two NYSTEM Imaging Core Facilities for Stem Cell Research and a Conte Center for Suicide Prevention at Columbia University. In 2014 her appointment at Columbia Univ. changed to Research Scientist and Postdoctoral Residency Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, as she started a second Residency in Psychiatry (part-time) at Columbia Univ./New York Presbyterian Hospital/New York State Psychiatric Institute, while she continues being the PI on her grants and direct her lab, supervising postdocs, PhD students and research assistants. Topics of her publications have included: neuropsychological studies in patients with psychiatric disorders, psychopathology burden in patients with internal medicine diseases, genetic studies in eating disorders, studies on neurotransmitter systems in subjects with major depression and suicide. Major focus of her lab is currently on the regulation of stem cell biology and structural neuroplasticity in the human brain in mood disorders and suicide.


  • Italian


  • Female

Credentials & Experience

Honors & Awards

  • 2015 Invited lecturer, World Congress on Angiogenesis 2015. April 11-12, 2015. Boston, MA
  • 2014  Invited lecturer, Adult Neurogenesis: From Stem Cells to Therapies 1st meeting, February 6-8, 2014, TIFR, Mumbai, India
  • 2013 Invited lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, April 8,  2013, Pittsburgh, PA,
  • 2013 Grand Round lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, Loyola University, March 13,  2013, Chicago, IL,
  • 2012 Selected presenter, Late-Breaking Session, Society of Biological Psychiatry’s 67th Annual Meeting, May 3-5, 2012, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2011 Grand Round lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, Nov 11, 2011, New York, NY
  • 2011 Invited lecturer, Excellence Centre for Research, Transfer and High Education for the Development of DE NOVO Therapies, April 11, 2011, Univ. of Florence, Italy
  • 2010 Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2010 Invited lecturer, National Academy of Sciences’ twenty-second annual Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium, Beckmann Center, Nov. 4-6, 2010, Irvine, CA
  • 2010 Invited lecturer, XVII Congress of the Italian Society of Neuropsycho-pharmacology, September 22-25, 2010, Cagliari, CA, Italy
  • 2010 Invited lecturer, Meeting: "Pharmacological Modulation of Adult Neurogenesis", University of Novara, October 1-2, 2010, Novara, Italy
  • 2008  Selected presenter, Hot Topics Basic Session at 47th American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Annual Meeting, December 6-11, 2008,  Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2007   Travel Scholarship, Society of Biological Psychiatry
  • 2006-2008 Janssen Fellow in Translational Neuroscience Research, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • 2000 Invited lecturer, January 11, 2000, Brickell Suicide Research Conference, Columbia University, New York, NY


I am interested in studying mechanisms involved in cell maturation and survival and how they are affected in mood disorders and with antidepressant treatment, and assessing the role of apoptosis in the cellular balance of the hippocampus in depression. I am investigating the relationship between the serotonergic system and neurogenesis, assessing the levels of expression of serotonin receptors and degree of neurogenesis in the human hippocampus. I am also investigating the effect of other medications, a reported history of childhood adversity and age on adult human neurogenesis, angiogenesis and trophic factors.

In my laboratory, current research focuses on studying adult neurogenesis and angiogenesis in the human brain. Adult neurogenesis is a mechanism of structural plasticity occurring in mammals including humans, which is necessary for learning and coping, shows adaptation to environment conditions and a significant response to medications. My research focuses on studying stem cells and their progeny in the human adult brain in the context of psychiatric, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. I am quantifying stem cells, cells at different stages of maturation on the neuronal and glial lineage and angiogenesis in the human autopsy brain. I am assessing the impact of psychiatric disorders, age, stress and psychopharmacologic treatment on hippocampal neuroplasticity. I am studying trophic factors expression in correlation with levels of angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the human hippocampus.

I am currently involved as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator in research projects studying:

1. The relationship between trophic factors expression in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) and its correlation with the amount of neurogenesis and angiogenesis in the human brain.

2. Human adult neurogenesis in normal subjects and individuals with mood disorders and the effects of antidepressant treatment on human adult neurogenesis.

3. Molecules controlling cell proliferation, maturation and survival in depressed suicide compared with non-suicide depressed individuals and controls without psychiatric diagnosis.

4. Angiogenesis and cell proliferation in the postmortem temporal cortex of autism donors and matched normal developing individuals.

5. Neurobiological and Developmental Antecedents to Suicidal Behavior, assessing how reported childhood adversity can affect hippocampal neuroplasticity later in life.

6. Correlates of depression or schizophrenia versus suicide, quantifying tryptophan hydroxylase protein in the serotonergic neurons of the brainstem.

Research Interests

  • Neuroplasticity in Mood Disorders and Suicide
  • Models of Psychiatric Disorders
  • Neural Degeneration and Repair
  • Stem Cell Biology
  • Psychiatry
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Psychopharmacology



May 23 2014 - Apr 30 2019


Aug 8 2013 - Jun 30 2018


Aug 8 2013 - Jun 30 2017


Sep 15 2014 - Sep 14 2016


Oct 1 2013 - Sep 30 2015


Mar 1 2008 - Aug 31 2015


Sep 30 2014 - Jul 31 2015


Jun 8 2011 - Mar 31 2014


Sep 30 1997 - Dec 31 2013


Feb 1 1990 - Apr 30 2013


Jan 1 2009 - Dec 31 2010

Selected Publications

  • 1996 Boldrini M, Placidi GP, Mosca M, Caponi L, Bombardieri S: Psychiatric disorders and immunological parameters in patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. J Neural Transmission 1996; 103:10-18
  • 1997 Toni C, Cappa S, Boldrini M, Frare F, Pedri S, Medda P, Perugi G. Selective neuropsychological dysfunction in patients with panic disorder-agoraphobia. Biological Psychiatry 1997; 42:1s-297s
  • 1997 Toni C, Cappa S, Perugi G, Boldrini M, Frare F, Pedri S, Medda P, Cassano GB: A selective pattern of neuropsychological dysfunction in patients with panic disorder-agoraphobia. CNS Spectrum 1997; 2:64-67
  • 1997 Placidi GP, Boldrini M: Considerations on the role of genetics in psychiatry research. CNS Spectrum 1997; 2:42-44
  • 1997 Placidi GF, Boldrini M, Lenzi A. (1997) Long-term pharmacological treatment of panic disorder. In: Pancheri P, (ed.), Il Punto Su: Terapia Del Disturbo Di Panico, Scientific Press, Florence, Italy
  • 1998 Placidi GPA, Boldrini M, Patronelli A, Fiore E, Chiovato L, Perugi G, Marazziti D: Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in thyroid diseased patients. Neuropsychobiology 1998; 38(4):222-225
  • 1998 Boldrini M, Placidi GPA, Marazziti D (1998). Applications of chaos theories to psychiatry: A review and future perspectives. CNS Spectrum, 3,22-29
  • 1999 Boldrini M, Placidi GP: Neuropsychology of obsessive-compulsive disorder: review and experimental design. Psychiatry Studies 1999; 2:24-29
  • 1999 Toni C, Boldrini M, Frare F, Medda PP. (1999) Neuropsychology of mood disorders. In Cassano GB, Pancheri P, Pavan L, Pazzagli A, Ravizza L, Rossi R, Smeraldi E, Volterra V (ed.), Trattato Italiano di Psichiatria, Second Edition, Masson, Milan, Italy
  • 2001 Arango V, Underwood MD, Boldrini M, Tamir H, Kassir SA, Hsiung SC, Chen JJX, Mann JJ: Serotonin 1A receptors, serotonin transporter binding and serotonin transporter mRNA expression are reduced in the brainstem of depressed suicide victims. Neuropsychopharmacology 2001; 25(6):892-903
  • 2002 Boldrini M. (2002) New atypical antipsychotics: integration between pharmacotherapy and psychosocial therapy. In: Quetiapine in clinical practice. AstraZeneca (Ed). Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, Rome, Italy
  • 2002 Placidi G, Boldrini M, Placidi GF. (2002) Olanzapine use in clinical practice. Seven case reports. Il Pensiero Scintifico Editore, Rome, Italy
  • 2003 Mannucci E, Ricca V, Filetti S, Boldrini M, Rotella CM:  Eating behavior and thyroid disease in female obese patients. Eating Behaviors 2003; 4:173-179
  • 2003 Ravaldi C, Vannacci A, Zucchi T, Mannucci E, Cabras PL, Boldrini M, Murciano L, Rotella CM, Ricca V: Eating disorders and body image disturbances among ballet dancers, gymnasium users and body builders. Psychopathology 2003; 36:247-254
  • 2003 Boldrini M, Martini A, Placidi GP, Giromella A, Underwood MD, Kassir SA, Placidi GF, Mann JJ, Arango V: Gender differences in brainstem serotonergic system function in depressed suicides and controls. Journal of Psychopathology 2003; 9:5-7
  • 2003 Boldrini M, Pampaloni I, Placidi GP, Martini A, Underwood MD, Kassir SA, Placidi GF, Mann JJ, Arango V: Rostro-caudal distribution of 5HT1A receptors in the brainstem of suicides and controls. Journal of Psychopathology 2003; 9(Suppl. N. 1):46-49
  • 2003 Placidi GF, Turchi F, Boldrini M, Placidi GP, Murciano L, Arena A: Low cholesterol levels in subjects with mood disorders: association with suicidal behavior. Studies on aggressiveness and suicide 2003; 9:12-19
  • 2003 Boldrini M, Rossi M, Placidi GF. Paroxetine efficacy in stuttering treatment. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2003; Sep;6(3):311-2
  • 2004 Del Rosso A, Boldrini M, D'Agostino D, Placidi GP, Scarpato A, Pignone A, Generini S, Konntinen Y, Zoppi M, Vlak T, Placidi GF, Matucci-Cerinic M: Health related quality of life in systemic sclerosis as measured by SF 36: relationship with clinical and biological markers. Arthritis & Rheumatism (Arthritis Care & Research) 2004; 51(3):475-481
  • 2004 Ricca V, Nacmias B, Boldrini M, Cellini E, Di Bernardo M, Ravaldi C, Rotella CM, Sorbi S: Psychopathological traits and 5-HT2A receptor promoter polymorphism (-1438 G/A) in patients suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Neurosci Letters 2004; 365(2):92-96
  • 2005 Boldrini M, Del Pace L, Placidi GP, Keilp J, Ellis SP, Signori S, Placidi GF, Cappa SF: Selective cognitive deficits in obsessive-compulsive disorder compared to panic disorder with agoraphobia. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2005; Feb;111(2):150-158
  • 2005 Boldrini M, Underwood MD, Mann JJ, Arango V: More tryptophan hydroxylase in the brainstem dorsal raphe nucleus in depressed suicides. Brain Res 2005; Apr 11;1041(1):19-28
  • 2005 Boldrini M, Giromella A, Martini A, Rossi M, Becherini F, Castagna M, Sorbi S, Placidi GF: Serotonin transporter density in cortical areas of subjects with Alzheimer Disease and controls. Journal of Psychopathology 2005; 9(Suppl. N. 1):13-20
  • 2008 Boldrini M, Underwood MD, Mann JJ, Arango V. Serotonin-1A autoreceptor binding in the dorsal raphe nucleus of depressed suicides. J Psychiatr Res 2008; May;42(6):433-442
  • 2009 Boldrini M, Underwood MD, Hen R, Rosoklija GB, Dwork AJ, Mann JJ, Arango V. Antidepressants increase neural progenitor cells in the human hippocampus. Neuropsychopharmacology 2009; 34(11):2376-2389 e-Pub ahead of print. PM:19606083
  • 2010 Boldrini M, Arango V. Antidepressants, age and neuroprogenitors. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Jan;35(1):351-352. doi: 10.1038/npp.2009.130
  • 2010 Boldrini M, Underwood MD, Mann JJ, Arango V. Serotonin-1A autoreceptor binding in the dorsal raphe nucleus of depressed suicides. [Unión al autorreceptor 5-HT1A de la serotonina en el núcleo dorsal del rafe en muestras de tejido de víctimas de suicidio deprimidas]. Psiquiatria Biologica. Volume 17, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 12-21
  • 2010 Boldrini M, Arango V. Consequences of the Stress Response: Stress and suicide. In: L.R. Squire (Ed.) New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Elsevier, Oxford, UK. 2010, Pages 471-479
  • 2012 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.
  • 2013 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.
  • 2014 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
  • 2014 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. Depress Anxiety. 2014 May 27. doi: 10.1002/da.22278. PMID: 24865448
  • 2014 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
  • 2014 Boldrini M, Mann JJ. (2014) Depression and Suicide. In: Neurobiology of Brain Disorders. Biological Basis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders. Edited by Michael J. Zigmond, Joseph T. Coyle and Lewis P. Rowland. Elsevier, San Diego, CA, USA, 2014. Pages 709-729
  • 2015  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). 2015 Dec 14. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26667147
  • 2016 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 
  • 2016 Aizenstein HJ, BaskysA, 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 – UPDATED. BMC Medicine, In press