Mario Penzo, Ph.D.

Investigator

Unit on the Neurobiology of Affective Memory

NIMH

John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center (Building 35A), Room 2E-621
35A Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892

301-451-7296

mario.penzo@nih.gov

Research Topics

Dr. Penzo’s lab is currently investigating the neuronal mechanisms underlying the formation and regulation of affective memories. Because increased stress sensitivity is a known risk factor for mood disorders, his group is interested in deciphering the neuronal circuits controlling susceptibility to stress. To achieve this they are currently employing a multidisciplinary approach, which includes behavioral assays, electrophysiological, imaging, neuroanatomical and optogenetics techniques.

Biography

Dr. Penzo obtained his Ph.D. at Albert Einstein College of Medicine with support from an NRSA training grant. Under the mentorship of Dr. Jose Luis Peña he completed his dissertation on the endocannabinoid-mediated modulation of synaptic transmission in the avian auditory midbrain. Next, he became a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Bo Li at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he studied the synaptic mechanisms controlling fear memory and received the Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award. Dr. Penzo joined the National Institute of Mental Health in the Fall of 2015.

Selected Publications

  1. Penzo MA, Gao C. The paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus: an integrative node underlying homeostatic behavior. Trends Neurosci. 2021;44(7):538-549.

  2. Sofia Beas B, Gu X, Leng Y, Koita O, Rodriguez-Gonzalez S, Kindel M, Matikainen-Ankney BA, Larsen RS, Kravitz AV, Hoon MA, Penzo MA. A ventrolateral medulla-midline thalamic circuit for hypoglycemic feeding. Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):6218.

  3. Gao C, Leng Y, Ma J, Rooke V, Rodriguez-Gonzalez S, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Penzo MA. Two genetically, anatomically and functionally distinct cell types segregate across anteroposterior axis of paraventricular thalamus. Nat Neurosci. 2020;23(2):217-228.

  4. Beas BS, Wright BJ, Skirzewski M, Leng Y, Hyun JH, Koita O, Ringelberg N, Kwon HB, Buonanno A, Penzo MA. The locus coeruleus drives disinhibition in the midline thalamus via a dopaminergic mechanism. Nat Neurosci. 2018;21(7):963-973.

  5. Penzo MA, Robert V, Tucciarone J, De Bundel D, Wang M, Van Aelst L, Darvas M, Parada LF, Palmiter RD, He M, Huang ZJ, Li B. The paraventricular thalamus controls a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature. 2015;519(7544):455-9.


This page was last updated on August 10th, 2021