Professor of Pathology & Immunology and Medicine
Robert Rock Belliveau M.D. Endowed Professor
Washington University School of Medicine
Dr. Marco Colonna was born in Parma, Italy. He received his medical degree from the School of Medicine at Parma University in 1983, and completed his specialization in Internal Medicine at Parma University in 1988. Dr. Colonna began his postdoctoral training as a Research Fellow at the Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro in Genova, Italy, followed by work as a Research Fellow in Pathology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. He then became a scientific member of the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland, a leading center for collaborative immunology research that helped to lay the groundwork for our understanding of immunology. Since 2001 he has been a Professor of Pathology & Immunology and Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.
Dr. Colonna’s laboratory is broadly interested in innate immunity. His team has discovered Triggering receptors expressed on myeloid cells (TREM), cell surface receptors encoded on human chromosome 6 that are differentially expressed on granulocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages and osteoclasts and regulate their functions. Human deficiency in TREM2 or the associated signaling adaptor DAP12 causes a progressive, early onset dementia known as Nasu-Hakola disease. Recently, a TREM2 polymorphism was implicated as a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Colonna’s laboratory is currently exploring the capacity of TREM2 to promote microglial cell function and how TREM2 allelic variants result in susceptibility to AD.
Dr. Colonna has published 80 primary last-author studies in peer-reviewed journals, and holds editorial appointments for many publications, including European Journal of Immunology (Deputy Editor), Immunity, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Virology and Human Immunology.