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



  • 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 (Accepted)
  • 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
  • Reza MA, Marker J, Mhatre S, Saunders AS, Marenda DR, and Breen D. (2012)Video Analysis Algorithms for Automated Categorization of Fly Behaviors. Proc. ISVC 2012, Part II, LNCS 7432, 229-241
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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