Marco Colonna, M.D.

Robert Rock Belliveau Professor of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

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.

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

Cheryl E. G. Leyns, Jason D. Ulrich, Mary B. Finn, Floy R. Stewart, Lauren J. Koscal, Javier Remolina Serrano, Grace O. Robinson, Elise Anderson, Marco Colonna, David M. Holtzman TREM2 deficiency attenuates neuroinflammation and protects against neurodegeneration in a mouse model of tauopathy, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(43), 24 Oct 2017, 11524–11529, Read More

Tyler K. Ulland, Wilbur M. Song, 7, Stanley Ching-Cheng Huang, Jason D. Ulrich, Alexey Sergushichev, Wandy L. Beatty, Alexander A. Loboda, Yingyue Zhou, Nigel J. Cairns, Amal Kambal, Ekaterina Loginicheva, Susan Gilfillan, Marina Cella, Herbert W. Virgin, Emil R. Unanue, Yaming Wang, Maxim N. Artyomov, David M. Holtzman, Marco Colonna TREM2 Maintains Microglial Metabolic Fitness in Alzheimer’s Disease, Cell, 170(4), 10 Aug 2017, 649–663, Read More

Jason D. Ulrich, Tyler K. Ulland, Marco Colonna, and David M. Holtzman Elucidating the Role of TREM2 in Alzheimer’s Disease, Neuron, 94, 19 Apr 2017, 237-248, Read More, Download Paper

Wilbur Song, Basavaraj Hooli, Kristina Mullin, Sheng Chih Jin, Marina Cella, Tyler K. Ulland, Yaming Wang, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Marco Colonna Alzheimer’s disease-associated TREM2 variants exhibit either decreased or increased ligand-dependent activation, Alzheimer's & Dementia, 13(4), Apr 2017, 381–387, Read More