Hof Lab

Laboratory of Neuromorphology


patrick hofOur research is directed towards the study of selective neuronal vulnerability in dementing illnesses using classical neuropathological as well as modern quantitative immunohistochemical methods. We intend to develop a quantitative, detailed and cohesive definition of neuronal susceptibility to degeneration in the cerebral cortex, by extending data on Alzheimer disease to other dementing disorders as well as animal models of age-related illnesses, and by defining the key neurochemical and morphological characteristics linked to relative vulnerability (or resistance to degeneration) of identified neuronal populations. The regional and laminar distribution in the cerebral cortex of specific neuronal populations is investigated in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders, and quantitatively compared to Alzheimer disease and control brains. In addition, a detailed study of brains from aged patients with no records of neurological and psychiatric disorders is performed in order to define further the limits of normal aging in the brain.

We employ advanced microscopy, high field magnetic resonance imaging, stereologic, and modeling approaches to develop an accurate quantitative assessment of such pathological changes in a region- and layer-specific manner. Neuronal morphology is analyzed in a quantitative manner using intracellular injection of hippocampal and neocortical neurons coupled with computerized reconstruction to assess the degree to which the accumulation of pathologic markers causes dendritic atrophy and spine loss in different subtypes of neocortical pyramidal cells subserving cortical circuits critical for memory and cognition. The characterization of such vulnerable neurons and circuits is fundamental to the design of therapeutic strategies aiming at their protection or rescue. Similar approaches are applied to the neuropathology of autism spectrum disorders, drug-resistant epilepsy, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Finally we are investigating mammalian brain evolution with a focus on cetaceans and great apes. These studies have led us to identify specific neuronal types in parts of the cerebral cortex known to be involved in social awareness, judgment, and attention that can be considered as markers of adaptive mechanisms and functions in response to particular ecological pressure.


Autism BrainNet

Contact Us

Hof Laboratory
Patrick R Hof, MD
Professor, Neuroscience
Professor, Ophthalmology
Professor, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Lab: HESS 10-302
Office: HESS 10-118
Office: 212.824.9302
Lab: 212.824.9172

Autism BrainNET

Autism BrainNet

Autism BrainNet

Autism BrainNet is a network of academic institutions for the acquisition and distribution of postmortem brain and other tissues to facilitate autism research worldwide. By providing this precious resource for research, Autism BrainNet aims to enhance the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of Autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, and improve the quality of life of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Learn More About Autism BrainNet


The Human Brain Atlas

Ding S.L., Royall J.J., Sunkin S.M., Ng L., Facer B.A.C., Lesnar P., Guillozet-Bongaarts A., McMurray B., Szafer A., Dolbeare T.A., Stevens A., Tirrell L., Benner T., Caldejon S., Dalley R.A., Dee N., Lau C., Nyhus J., Reding M., Riley Z.L., Sandman D., Shen E., van der Kouwe A., Varjabedian A., Write M., Zollei L., Dang C., Knowles J.A., Koch C., Phillips J.W., Sestan N., Wohnoutka P., Zielke H.R., Hohmann J.G., Jones A.R., Bernard A., Hawrylycz M.J., Hof P.R., Fischl B., Lein E.S. (2016) Comprehensive cellular-resolution atlas of the adult human brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 524(16):3127-3481, doi:10.1002/cne.24080.



Wu T., Dufford A.J., Egan L.J., Mackie M.A., Chen C., Yuan C., Chen C., Li X., Liu X., Hof P.R., Fan J. (2018) Hick-Hyman law is mediated by the cognitive control network in the brain. Cereb. Cortex 28, 2267-2282.

Spagna A., Dufford A.J., Wu Q., Wu T., Zheng W., Coons E.E., Hof P.R., Hu B., Wu Y., Fan J. (2018) Gray matter volume of the anterior insular cortex and social networking. J. Comp. Neurol. 526, 1183-1194.

Jacobs B., Garcia M.E., Shea-Shumsky N.B., Tennison M.E., Schall M., Saviano M.S., Tummino T.A., Bull A.J., Driscoll L.L., Raghanti M.A., Lewandowski A.H., Wicinski B., Ki Chui H., Bertelsen M.F., Walsh T., Bhagwandin A., Spocter M.A., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C., Manger P.R. (2018) Comparative morphology of gigantopyramidal neurons in primary motor cortex across mammals. J. Comp. Neurol. 526, 496-536.

Raghanti M.A., Edler M.K., Stephenson A.R., Munger E.L., Jacobs B., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C., Holloway R.L., Lovejoy C.O. (2018) A neurochemical hypothesis for the origin of hominids. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 115, E1108-E1116.

Inquimbert P., Moll M., Latremoliere A., Tong C.K., Whang J., Sheehan G.F., Smith B.M., Korb B., Athié M.C.P., Babaniyi O., Ghasemlou N., Yanagawa Y., Allis C.D., Hof P.R., Scholz J. (2018) NMDA receptor activation underlies the loss of spinal dorsal horn neurons and the transition to persistent pain after peripheral nerve injury. Cell Rep. 23, 2678-2689.

Jazvinscak Jembrek M., Slade N., Hof P.R., Simic G. (2018) The interactions of p53 with tau and Ab as potential therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease. Prog. Neurobiol. 168, 104-127.

Upright N.A., Brookshire S.W., Schebelen W., Damatac C.G., Hof P.R., Browning P.G.F., Croxson P.L., Rudebeck P.H., Baxter M.G. (2018) Behavioral effect of chemogenetic inhibition is directly related to receptor transduction levels in rhesus monkeys. J. Neurosci. 38, 7969-7975.

Rutland J.W., Feldman R.E., Delman B.N., Panov F., Fields M.C., Marcuse L.V., Hof P.R., Lin H.M., Balchandani P. (2018) Subfield-specific tractography of the hippocampus in epilepsy patients at 7 Tesla. Seizure 62, 3-10.

Gu, X., Zhou, T.J., Anagnostou, E., Soorya, L., Kolevzon, A., Hof, P.R., and Fan, J. (2018). Heightened brain response to pain anticipation in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. Eur. J. Neurosci. 47, 592–601.

Tsartsalis, S., Xekardaki, A., Hof, P.R., Kövari, E., and Bouras, C. (2018). Early Alzheimer-type lesions in cognitively normal subjects. Neurobiol. Aging 62, 34–44.

Kiđemet-Piskač, S., Babić Leko, M., Blažeković, A., Langer Horvat, L., Klepac, N., Sonicki, Z., Kolenc, D., Hof, P.R., Boban, M., Mimica, N., et al. (2018). Evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid phosphorylated tau231 as a biomarker in the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. CNS Neurosci. Ther. 24, 734–740.


Harony-Nicolas H., Kay M., du Hoffmann J., Klein M.E., Bozdagi-Gunal O., Riad M., Daskalakis N.P., Sonar S., Castillo P.E., Hof P.R., Shapiro M.L., Baxter M.G., Wagner S., Buxbaum J.D. (2017) Oxytocin improves behavioral and electrophysiological deficits in a novel Shank3-deficient rat. eLife 6, e18904.

Stephenson, A.R., Edler, M.K., Erwin, J.M., Jacobs, B., Hopkins, W.D., Hof, P.R., Sherwood, C.C., and Raghanti, M.A. (2017). Cholinergic innervation of the basal ganglia in humans and other anthropoid primates. J. Comp. Neurol. 525, 319–332.

Simic G., Babic Leko M., Wray S., Harrington C.R., Delalle I., Jovanov-Milosevic N., Bazadona D., Buée L., de Silva R., Di Giovanni G., Wischik C.M., Hof P.R. (2017) Monoaminergic neuropathology in Alzheimer’s disease. Prog. Neurobiol. 151, 101-138.

Li Q., Bozek K., Xu C., Guo Y., Sun J., Pääbo S., Sherwood C.C., Hof P.R., Ely J.J., Li Y., Willmitzer L., Giavalisco P., Khaitovich P. (2017) Changes in lipidome composition during brain development in humans, chimpanzees, and macaque monkeys. Mol. Biol. Evol.  34, 1155-1166.

Fichtl, A., Büttner, A., Hof, P.R., Schmitz, C., and Kiessling, M.C. (2017). Delineation of Subregions in the Early Postnatal Human Cerebellum for Design-Based Stereologic Studies. Front. Neuroanat. 11, 134.


Ding S.L., Royall J.J., Sunkin S.M., Ng L., Facer B.A.C., Lesnar P., Guillozet-Bongaarts A., McMurray B., Szafer A., Dolbeare T.A., Stevens A., Tirrell L., Benner T., Caldejon S., Dalley R.A., Dee N., Lau C., Nyhus J., Reding M., Riley Z.L., Sandman D., Shen E., van der Kouwe A., Varjabedian A., Write M., Zollei L., Dang C., Knowles J.A., Koch C., Phillips J.W., Sestan N., Wohnoutka P., Zielke H.R., Hohmann J.G., Jones A.R., Bernard A., Hawrylycz M.J., Hof P.R., Fischl B., Lein E.S. (2016) Comprehensive cellular-resolution atlas of the adult human brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 524(16):3127-3481, doi:10.1002/cne.24080.

Babic Leko M., Borovecki F., Dejanovic N., Hof P.R., Simic G. (2016) Predictive value of cerebrospinal fluid visinin-like protein-1 levels for Azheimer’s disease early detection and differential diagnosis in patients with mild cognitive impairment. J. Alzheimer Dis. 50, 765-778.

Perez S.E., Sherwood C.C., Cranfield M.R., Erwin J.M., Mudakikwa A., Hof P.R., Mufson E.J. (2016) Early Alzheimer’s disease-type pathology in the frontal cortex of wild mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei). Neurobiol. Aging 39, 195-201.

Stimpson C.D., Barger N., Taglialatella J.P., Gendron-Fitzpatrick A., Hof P.R., Hopkins W.D., Sherwood C.C. (2016) Differential serotonergic innervation of the amygdala of bonobos and chimpanzees. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 11, 413-422.

Jacobs B., Lee L., Schall M., Raghanti M.A., Lewandowski A.H., Kottwitz J.J., Roberts J.F., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C. (2016) Neocortical neuronal morphology in the newborn giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana). J. Comp. Neurol. 524, 257-287.

Raghanti M.A., Edler M.K., Stephenson A.R., Wilson L.J., Hopkins W.D., Ely J.J., Erwin J.M., Jacobs B., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C. (2016) Human-specific increase of dopaminergic innervation in a striatal region associated with speech and language: a comparative analysis of the primate basal ganglia. J. Comp. Neurol. 524, 2217-2129.

Lipovich L., Hou Z.C., Jia H., Sinkler C., McGowen M., Sterner K.N., Weckle A., Sugalski A.B., Pipes L., Gatti D.L., Mason C.E., Sherwood C.C., Hof P.R., Kuzawa C.W., Grossman L.I., Goodman M., Wildman D.E. (2016) High-throughput RNA sequencing reveals structural differences of orthologous brain-expressed genes between western lowland gorillas and humans. J. Comp. Neurol. 524, 288-308.

Xuan B., Mackie M.A., Spagna A., Wu T., Tian Y., Hof P.R., Fan J. (2016) The activation of interactive attentional networks. NeuroImage 129, 308-319.


Wegiel J., Flory M., Kuchna I., Nowicki K., Ma S., Imaki H., Wegiel J., Frackowiak J., Kolecka B., Wierzba-Bobrowicz T., London E., Wisniewski T., Hof P.R., Brown T. (2015) Neuronal nucleus and cytoplasm volume deficit in children with autism and volume increase in adolescents and adults. Acta Neuropathol. Commun. 3, 2.

Bozek K., Wei Y., Yan Z., Liu X., Xiong J., Sugimoto M., Tomita M., Pääbo S., Sherwood C.C., Hof P.R., Ely J.J., Li Y., Steinhauser D., Willmitzer L., Giavalisco P., Khaitovich P. (2015) Organization and evolution of brain lipidome revealed by large-scale analysis of human, chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse tissues. Neuron 85, 695-702.

Barks S.K., Calhoun M.E., Hopkins W.D., Cranfield M.R., Paterson P.E., Mudakikwa A., Erwin J.M., Stoinski T.S., Hecht E.E., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C. (2015) Brain organization of gorillas reflects species differences in ecological specialization. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 156, 252-262.

Coskren P.J., Luebke J.I., Kabaso D., Wearne S.L., Yadav A., Rumbell T., Hof P.R., Weaver C.M. (2015) Functional consequences of age-related morphologic changes to pyramidal neurons of the rhesus monkey prefrontal cortex. J. Comput. Neurosci. 38, 263-283.

Luebke J.I., Medalla M., Amatrudo J.M., Weaver C.M., Crimins J.L., Hunt B., Hof P.R., Peters A. (2015) Age-related changes to layer 3 pyramidal cells in the rhesus monkey visual cortex. Cereb. Cortex 25, 1454-1468.

Uppal N., Puri R., Yuk F., Janssen W.G.M., Bozdagi-Günal O., Harony-Nicolas H., Dickstein D.L., Buxbaum J.D., Hof P.R. (2015) Ultrastructural changes in the CA1 of Shank3-deficient mice. Mol. Autism 6, 41.
Gu X., Eilam-Stock T., Zhou T., Anagnostou E., Kolevzon A., Soorya L., Hof P.R., Friston K.L., Fan J. (2015) Autonomic and brain responses associated with empathy deficits in autism spectrum disorder. Hum. Brain Mapp. 36, 3323-3338.

Raghanti M.A., Spurlock L.B., Treichler F.R., Weigel S.E., Stimmelmayr R., Butti C., Thewissen J.G.M.H., Hof P.R. (2015) An analysis of von Economo neurons in the cerebral cortex of cetaceans, artiodactyls, and perissodactyls. Brain Struct. Funct. 220, 2303-2314.

Bauernfeind A.L., Reyzer M.L., Caprioli R.M., Ely J.J., Babbitt C.C., Wray G.A., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C. (2015) High spatial resolution proteomic comparison of the brain in humans and chimpanzees. J. Comp. Neurol. 523, 2043-2061.

Brautigam H., Moreno C.L., Steele J.W., Bogush A., Dickstein D.L., Kwok J.B.J., Schofield P.R., Thinakaran G., Mathews P.M., Hof P.R., Gandy S., Ehrlich M.E. (2015) Physiologically generated presenilin 1 lacking exon 8 fails to rescue brain PS1-/- phenotype and forms complexes with wildtype PS1 and nicastrin. Sci. Rep. 5, 17042.


Barks S.K., Bauernfeind A.L., Bonar C.J., Cranfield M.R., de Sousa A.A., Erwin J.M., Hopkins W.D., Lewandowski A.H., Mudakikwa A., Phillips K.A., Raghanti M.A., Stimpson C.D., Hof P.R., Zilles K., Sherwood C.C. (2014) Variable temporoinsular cortex neuroanatomy in primates suggests bottleneck effect in eastern gorillas. J. Comp. Neurol. 522, 844-860.

Eilam-Stock T., Xu P., Cao M., Gu X., Van Dam N.T., Anagnostou E., Kolevzon A., Soorya L., Park Y., Siller M., He Y., Hof P.R., Fan J. (2014) Abnormal autonomic and associated brain activities during rest in autism spectrum disorder. Brain 137, 153-171.

Uppal N., Giannatiempo I., Wicinski B., Schmeidler J., Heinsen H., Schmitz C., Buxbaum J.D., Hof P.R. (2014) Neuropathology of the posteroinferior occipital gyrus in children with autism. Mol. Autism. 5, 17.

Guillozet-Bongaarts A.L., Hyde T.M., Dalley R.A., Hawrylycz M.J., Henry A., Hof P.R., Hohmann J., Jones A.R., Kuan C.L., Royall J., Shen E., Swanson B., Zeng H., Kleinmann J.E. (2014) Altered gene expression in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of individuals with schizophrenia. Mol. Psychiatry 19, 478-485.

Butti C., Fordyce R.E., Raghanti M.A., Gu X., Bonar C.J., Wicinski B.A., Wong E.W., Roman J., Brake A., Eaves E., Spocter M.A., Tang C.Y., Jacobs B., Sherwood C.C., Hof P.R. (2014) The cerebral cortex of the pygmy hippopotamus, Hexaprotodon liberiensis (Cetartiodactyla, Hippopotamidae): MRI, cytoarchitecture, and neuronal morphology. Anat. Rec. 297, 670-700.

Bozek K., Wei Y., Yan Z., Liu X., Xiong J., Sugimoto M., Tomita M., Pääbo S., Pieszek R., Sherwood C.C., Hof P.R., Ely J.J., Steinhauser D., Willmitzer L., Bangsbo J., Hansson O., Call J., Giavalisco P., Khaitovich P. (2014) Exceptional evolutionary divergence of human muscle and brain metabolomes parallels human cognitive and physical uniqueness. PLoS Biol. 12(5), e1001871.

Uppal N., Wicinski B., Buxbaum J.D., Heinsen H., Schmitz C., Hof P.R. (2014) Neuropathology of the anterior midcingulate cortex in young children with autism. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. 73, 891-902.


Van Dam N.T., Sano M., Mitsis E.M., Grossman H.T., Gu X., Park Y., Hof P.R., Fan J. (2013) Functional neural correlates of attentional deficits in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. PLoS One 8(1), e54035.

DeFelipe J., López-Cruz P.L., Benavides-Piccione R., Bielza C., Larrañaga P., Anderson S., Burkhalter A., Cauli B., Fairén A., Feldmeyer D., Fishell G., Fitzpatrick D., Freund T.F., González-Burgos G., Hestrin S., Hill S., Hof P.R., Huang J., Jones E.G., Kawaguchi Y., Kisvarday Z., Kubota Y., Lewis D.A., Marín O., Markram H., McBain C.J., Meyer H.S., Monyer H., Nelson S.B., Rockland K., Rossier J., Rubinstein J.L.R., Rudy B., Scanziani M., Shepherd G.M., Sherwood C.C., Staiger J.F., Tamás G., Thomson A., Wang Y., Yuste R., Ascoli G.A. (2013) New insights into the classification and nomenclature of cortical GABAergic interneurons. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 14, 202-216.

Höistad M., Heinsen H., Wicinski B., Schmitz C., Hof P.R. (2013) Stereological assessment of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in schizophrenia: absence of changes in neuronal and glial densities. Neuropathol. Appl. Neurobiol. 39, 348-361.

Bianchi S., Stimpson C.D., Duka T., Larsen M.D., Janssen W.G.M., Collins Z., Bauernfeind A.L., Schapiro S.J., Baze W.B., McArthur M.J., Hopkins W.D., Wildman D.E., Lipovich L., Kuzawa C.W., Jacobs B., Hof P.R., Sherwood C.C. (2013) Synaptogenesis and development of pyramidal neuron dendritic morphology in the chimpanzee neocortex resembles humans. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110 (Suppl. 2), 10395-10401.

J Comp NeurolGu X, Hof PR, Friston KL, Fan J. Anterior insular cortex and emotional awareness. J Comp Neurol 2013;521:3371-3388.PMID: 23749500

cereb cortex 2013Gu X, Liu X, Van Dam NT, Hof PR, Fan J. Cognition-emotion integration in the anterior insular cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2013;23:20-27. PMID: 22275476


J Neurosci 2012Amatrudo JM, Weaver CM, Crimins JL, Hof PR, Rosene DL, Luebke JI. Influence of highly distinctive structural properties on the excitability of pyramidal neurons in monkey visual and prefrontal cortices. J Neurosci. 2012;32:13644-13660. PMID: 23035077

j comp neurol 2012 520Yadav A, Gao YZ, Rodriguez A, Dickstein DL, Wearne SL, Luebke JI, Hof PR, Weaver CM. Morphologic evidence for spatially clustered spines in apical dendrites of monkey neocortical pyramidal cells. J Comp Neurol. 2012;520:2888-2902. PMID: 22315181

nature 2012 489Hawrylycz MJ, Lein ES, Guillozet-Bongaarts AL, Shen EH, Ng L, Miller JA, van de Lagemaat LN, Smith KA, Ebbert A, Riley ZL, Abajian C, Beckmann CF, Bernard A, Bertagnolli D, Boe AF, Cartagena PM, Chakravarty MM, Chapin M, Chong J, Dalley RA, Daly BD, Dang C, Datta S, Dee N, Dolbeare TA, Faber V, Feng D, Fowler DR, Goldy J, Gregor BW, Haradon Z, Haynor DR, Hohmann JG, Horvath S, Howard RE, Jeromin A, Jochim JM, Kinnunen M, Lau C, Lazarz ET, Lee C, Lemon TA, Li L, Li Y, Morris JA, Overly CC, Parker PD, Parry SE, Reding M, Royall JJ, Schulkin J, Sequeira PA, Slaughterbeck CR, Smith SC, Sodt AJ, Sunkin SM, Swanson BE, Vawter MP, Williams D, Wohnoutka P, Zielke HR, Geschwind DH, Hof PR, Smith SM, Koch C, Grant SG, Jones AR. An anatomically comprehensive atlas of the adult human brain transcriptome. Nature. 2012;489:391-399. PMID: 22996553

cell 2012 149Zeng H, Shen EH, Hohmann JG, Oh SW, Bernard A, Royall JJ, Glattfelder KJ, Sunkin SM, Morris JA, Guillozet-Bongaarts AL, Smith KA, Ebbert AJ, Swanson B, Kuan L, Page DT, Overly CC, Lein ES, Hawrylycz MJ, Hof PR, Hyde TM, Kleinman JE, Jones AR. Large-scale cellular-resolution gene profiling in human neocortex reveals species-specific molecular signatures. Cell. 2012;149:483-496. PMID: 22500809

Miller DJ, Duka T, Stimpson CD, Schapiro SJ, Baze WB, McArthur MJ, Fobbs AJ, Sousa AM, Sestan N, Wildman DE, Lipovich L, Kuzawa CW, Hof PR, Sherwood CC. Prolonged myelination in human neocortical evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012;109:16480-16485. PMID: 23012402

j comp neurol 2012 520Spocter MA, Hopkins WD, Barks SK, Bianchi S, Hehmeyer AE, Anderson SM, Stimpson CD, Fobbs AJ, Hof PR, Sherwood CC. Neuropil distribution in the cerebral cortex differs between humans and chimpanzees. J Comp Neurol. 2012;520:2917-2929. PMID: 22350926

j comp neurol 2012 520Barger N, Stefanacci L, Schumann CM, Sherwood CC, Annese J, Allman JM, Buckwalter JA, Hof PR, Semendeferi K. Neuronal populations in the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala are differentially increased in humans compared with apes: a stereological study. J Comp Neurol. 2012;520:3035-3054. PMID: 22473387

j neuropathol exp neurol 2012 71Nelson PT, Alafuzoff I, Bigio EH, Bouras C, Braak H, Cairns NJ, Castellani RJ, Crain BJ, Davies P, Del Tredici K, Duyckaerts C, Frosch MP, Haroutunian V, Hof PR, Hulette CM, Hyman BT, Iwatsubo T, Jellinger KA, Jicha GA, Kövari E, Kukull WA, Leverenz JB, Love S, Mackenzie IR, Mann DM, Masliah E, McKee AC, Montine TJ, Morris JC, Schneider JA, Sonnen JA, Thal DR, Trojanowski JQ, Troncoso JC, Wisniewski T, Woltjer RL, Beach TG. Correlation of Alzheimer disease neuropathologic changes with cognitive status: a review of the literature. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2012;71:362-381. PMID: 22487856

acta neuropathol 2012 124Jacot-Descombes S, Uppal N, Wicinski B, Santos M, Schmeidler J, Giannakopoulos P, Heinsen H, Schmitz C, Hof PR. Decreased pyramidal neuron size in Brodmann areas 44 and 45 in patients with autism. Acta Neuropathol. 2012;124:67-79. PMID: 22467063

Fan J, Xu P, Van Dam NT, Eilam-Stock T, Gu X, Luo Y, Hof PR. Spontaneous brain activity relates to autonomic arousal. J Neurosci. 2012;32:11176-11186. PMID: 22895703

brain 2012 135Gu X, Gao Z, Wang X, Liu X, Knight RT, Hof PR, Fan J. Anterior insular cortex is necessary for empathetic pain perception. Brain. 2012;135:2726-2735. PMID: 22961548

brain behav 2012 2Fan J, Bernardi S, Dam NT, Anagnostou E, Gu X, Martin L, Park Y, Liu X, Kolevzon A, Soorya L, Grodberg D, Hollander E, Hof PR. Functional deficits of the attentional networks in autism. Brain Behav. 2012;2:647-660. PMID: 2313991

Meet the Team

Sarah Jacot-Descombes

Post Doc

sarah jacot descombesI am an MD specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. I was a research scholar in the Hof lab in 2011, studying the pathology of the mirror neuron system in autism spectrum disorder. I returned as a postdoc with a project focusing on understanding how the deletion of the SHANK3 gene affects synaptic structure in a model of autism spectrum disorder. I am also working with the Seaver Autism Center on assessing visual evoked potentials as a method to monitor treatment in children with severe autism.

Bridget A. Wicinski

Laboratory Manager

wicinski bridgetAs lab manager, I am responsible for the daily function of the laboratory. I maintain the microscopes and computers of our quantitative microscopy stations and train students, postdocs, and staff in their proper use. I also train laboratory personnel in a variety of histologic techniques, which allows me to support the experimental work of our ongoing projects. I also catalogue and manage Dr. Hof’s extensive collection of mammalian brain specimens and prepared slides.

Merina Varghese


merina varghesePathological changes in the brain occurring in neurological and psychiatric diseases drive my research interest. My previous research has uncovered biochemical changes, specifically mitochondrial dysfunction and protein aggregation, occurring in animal and cellular models of various neurodegenerative disorders. I am currently investigating changes in neuronal structure in a rat model of Phelan-McDermid syndrome. My studies will compare dendritic and synaptic morphology in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of Shank3 rats to the wild-type using confocal and electron microscopic imaging. My goal is to contribute to understanding how deletions of the Shank3 protein affect synaptic structure and function in autism spectrum disorders.

Carmen Freire Cobo

Senior Scientist

My long term interest has always been the study of synaptic function and dysfunction in normal and pathological states. My scientific training includes multidisciplinary research approaches combining molecular biology, imaging and animal behavior to investigate how synapses undergo functional and structural changes triggered by neural activity. My current work is centered in two main projects using different primate models of human cognitive aging. We investigate the neural substrates of sex and age-related cognitive decline by combining anatomical, physiological and computational approaches, with behavioral assessment of the aging monkey. Our goal is to identify key neurochemical and morphological characteristics underlying age-related brain dysfunction that would serve on the design of therapeutic strategies to reduce cognitive decline during normal aging. 

Liam Hiester


I am an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. I was a SURP student in the Hof lab during the summer of 2018 and am continuing the project throughout the year, studying dendritic spine density and morphology in the Shank3-deficient rat model of Phelan-McDermid syndrome. I am using immunohistochemistry, confocal imaging,and 3D reconstruction to visualize dendritic spines. Our study will contribute to further our understanding of dendritic function, utilizing Phelan-McDermid syndrome as a model for monogenic autism spectrum disorders.

Selena Seoyeong In

Graduate (MS) Student

II am a 2nd year Master of Biomedical Science student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I graduated from New York University with a major in neuroscience and a minor in psychology. I am continuing to pursue my interest in neuroanatomy and neurodegenerative diseases at the Hof lab, currently working on a collaborative project with GE Global Research and Boston University. By using machine learning-based image analysis following multiplexed immunofluorescence, I will quantitatively detect age-related neuronal changes in the aging rhesus monkey cerebral cortex and test whether curcumin protects against neuronal vulnerability as a possible preventative therapy.


Nicole Ackermans

Post doc

(She/her) I am a fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and a postdoc in the Neuroscience and Anatomy departments at Mount Sinai. My project focuses on whether combative bovids such as bighorn sheep and muskoxen sustain brain trauma. Our goal is to inspire ourselves from their unique anatomy to find solutions for traumatic brain injury in humans. I am investigating the skull and brain anatomy of these and other species using immunohistochemistry to highlight traces of brain injury for the first time. Similar processes are being applied to whales exposed to sound trauma through detection of abnormally phosphorylated tau, as well as microglia and astrocyte morphology.


Former Members

Tahia Warda

Tahia Warda

Associate Researcher II

Lizette Couto

Lizette Couto

Graduate (MS) student

Marie Kopp

Marie Kopp

Grants Coordinator

Camilla Butti

Camilla Butti

Visiting Scientist