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.

Hou, J., Chen, Y., Cai, Z., Heo, G. S., Yuede, C. M., … Holtzman, D. M. & Colonna, M. Antibody-mediated targeting of human microglial leukocyte Ig-like receptor B4 attenuates amyloid pathology in a mouse model, Science Translational Medicine, April 3, 2024, Read More

Griciuc, A., Patel, S., Federico, A. N., Choi, S. H., Innes, B. J., Oram, M. K., Cereghetti, G., McGinty, D., Anselmo, A., Sadreyev, R. I., Hickman, S. E., El Khoury, J., Colonna, M., & Tanzi, R. E. TREM2 Acts Downstream of CD33 in Modulating Microglial Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease, Neuron, July 10, 2019, Read More

Brioschi, S., Peng, V., & Colonna, M. Fifty Shades of Microglia, Trends in Neurosciences, April 18, 2019, Read More

Song, W. M., Joshita, S., Zhou, Y., Ulland, T. K., Gilfillan, S., & Colonna, M. Humanized TREM2 mice reveal microglia-intrinsic and -extrinsic effects of R47H polymorphism, Journal of Experimental Medicine, January 10, 2018, Read More

Brioschi, S., Zhou, Y., & Colonna, M. Brain Parenchymal and Extraparenchymal Macrophages in Development, Homeostasis, and Disease, Journal of Immunology, January 15, 2020, Read More

Wang, S., & Colonna, M. Microglia in Alzheimer’s Diseases: a target for immunotherapy, Journal of Leukocye Biology, February 6, 2019, Read More

Zhou, Y., Tada, M., Cai, Z., |hey, P. S., Swain, A., Miller, K. R., Gilfillan, S., Artyomov, M. N., Takao, M., Kakita, A., & Colonna, M. Human early-onset dementia caused by DAP12 deficiency reveals a unique signature of dysregulated microglia, Nature Immunology, January 19, 2023, Read More

Colonna, M., & Wang, Y. TREM2 variants: new keys to decipher Alzheimer disease pathogenesis, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, February 25, 2016, Read More

Ulland, T. K., Wang, Y., & Colonna, M. Regulation of microglial survival and proliferation in health and disease, Seminars in Immunology, March 28, 2015, Read More

Gratuze, M., Schlachetzki, J. C. M., D'Oliveira Albanus, R., Jain, N., Novotny, B., Brase, L., Rodriguez, L., Mansel, C., Kipnis, M., O'Brien, S., Pasillas, M. P., Lee, C., Manis, M., Colonna, M., Harari, O., Glass, C. K., Ulrich, J. D., & Holtzman, D. M. TREM2-independent microgliosis promotes tau-mediated neurodegeneration in the presence of ApoE4, Neuron, November 10, 2022, Read More

Ulland, T. K., Song, W. M., Huang, S. C., Ulrich, J. D., Sergushichev, A., Beatty, W. L., Loboda, A. A., Zhou, Y., Cairns, N. J., Kambal, A., Loginicheva, E., Gilfillan, S., Cella, M., Virgin, H. W., Unanue, E. R., Wang, Y., Artyomov, M. N., Holtzman, D. M., & Colonna, M. TREM2 maintains Microglial metabolic fitness in Alzheimer’s Disease, Cell, August 10, 2017, Read More

Chen, Y., Song, S., Parhizkar, S., Lord, J., Zhu, Y., Strickland, M. R., Wang, C., Park, J., Tabor, G. T., Jiang, H., Li, K., Davis, A. A., Yuede, C. M., Colonna, M., Ulrich, J. D., & Holtzman, D. M. APOE3ch alters microglial response and suppresses Aβ-induced tau seeding and spread, Cell, December 11, 2023, Read More

Song, W., Hooli, B., Mullin, K., Jin, S. C., Cella, M., Ulland, T. K., Wang, Y., Tanzi, R. E., & Colonna, M. Alzheimer’s Disease-associated TREM2 variants exhibit either a decreased or increased lignad-dependent activation, Alzheimer's & Dementia, August 9, 2016, Read More

Andreasson, K. I., Bachstetter, A. D., Colonna, M., Ginhoux, F., Holmes, C., Lamb, B., Landreth, G., Lee, D. C., Low, ... Town, T., … Colonna, M. , ... Van Eldik, L. J. Targeting innate immunity for neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system., Journal of Neurochemistry, September 1, 2016, Read More

Brioschi, S., Belk, J. A., Peng, V., Molgora, M., Rodrigues, P. F., Nguyen, K. M., Wang, S., Du, S., Wang, W. L., Grajales-Reyes, G. E., Ponce, J. M., Yuede, C. M., Li, Q., Baer, J. M., DeNardo, D. G., Gilfillan, S., Cella, M., Satpathy, A. T., & Colonna, M. A Cre-deleter specific for embryo-derived brain macrophages reveals distinct features of microglia and border macrophages, Immunity, February 14, 2023, Read More

Wang, S., Mustafa, M., Yuede, C. M., Salazar, S. V., Kong, P., Long, H., Ward, M., Siddiqui, O., Paul, R., Gilfillan, S., Ibrahim, A., Rhinn, H., Tassi, I., Rosenthal, A., Schwabe, T., & Colonna, M. Anti-human TREM2 Induces Microglia Proliferation and Reduces Pathology in an Alzheimer’s Disease Model, Journal of Experimental Medicine, June 24, 2020, Read More

Poliani, P. L., Wang, Y., Fontana, E., Robinette, M. L., Yamanishi, Y., Gilfillan, S., & Colonna, M. TREM2 sustains microglial expansion during aging and response to demyelination, Journal of Clinical Investigation, April 20, 2015, Read More

Zhou, Y., Ulland, T. K., & Colonna, M. TREM2-Dependent Effects on Microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, July 9, 2018, Read More

Chen, Y., & Colonna, M. Spontaneous and induced adaptive immune responses in Alzheimer’s disease: new insights into old observations, Current Opinion in Immunology, July 12, 2022, Read More

Hou, J., Zhou, Y., Cai, Z., Terekhova, M., Swain, A., |hey, P. S., Guimaraes, R. M., Ulezko Antonova, A., Qiu, T., Sviben, S., Strout, G., Fitzpatrick, J. A. J., Chen, Y., Gilfillan, S., Kim, D. H., Van Dyken, S. J., Artyomov, M. N., & Colonna, M. Transcriptomic atlas and interaction networks of brain cells in mouse CNS demyelination and remyelination, Cell Reports, March 21, 2023, Read More

Deczkowska, A., Keren-Shaul, H., Weiner, A., Colonna, M., Schwartz, M., & Amit, I. Disease-associated microglia: a universal immune sensor of neurodegeneration, Cell, May 17, 2018, Read More

Song, W. M., & Colonna, M. The microglia response to neurodegenerative disease, Advances in Immunology, May 9, 2018, Read More

Ulrich, J. D., Ulland, T. K., Mahan, T. E., Nyström, S., Nilsson, K. P., Song, W. M., Zhou, Y., Reinartz, M., Choi, S., Jiang, H., Stewart, F. R., Anderson, E., Wang, Y., Colonna, M., & Holtzman, D. M. APoE facilitates the microglia response to amyloid plaque pathology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, February 26, 2018, Read More

Ulrich, J. D., Ulland, T. K., Colonna, M., & Holtzman, D. M. Elucidating the role of TREM2 in Alzheimer’s Disease, Neuron, April 19, 2017, Read More

Leyns, C. E. G., Ulrich, J. D., Finn, M. B., Stewart, F. R., Koscal, L. J., Remolina Serrano, J., Robinson, G. O., Anderson, E., Colonna, M., & Holtzman, D. M. 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, October 9, 2017, Read More

Wang, Y., Ulland, T. K., Ulrich, J. D., Song, W., Tzaferis, J. A., Hole, J. T., Yuan, P., Mahan, T. E., Shi, Y., Gilfillan, S., Cella, M., Grutzendler, J., DeMattos, R. B., Cirrito, J. R., Holtzman, D. M., & Colonna, M. TREM2-mediated early microglial response limits diffusion and toxicity of amyloid plaques, Journal of Experimental Medicine, April 18, 2016, Read More

Leyns, C. E. G., Gratuze, M., Narasimhan, S., Jain, N., Koscal, L. J., Jiang, H., Manis, M., Colonna, M., Lee, V. M. Y., Ulrich, J. D., & Holtzman, D. M. TREM2 Function Impedes Tau Seeding in Neuritic Plaques, Nature Neuroscience, June 1, 2019, Read More

Wang, Y., Cella, M., Mallinson, K., Ulrich, J. D., Young, K. L., Robinette, M. L., Gilfillan, S., Krishnan, G. M., Sudhakar, S., Zinselmeyer, B. H., Holtzman, D. M., Cirrito, J. R., & Colonna, M. TREM2 Lipid Sensing Sustains the Microglial Response in an Alzheimer’s Disease Model, Cell, March 12, 2015, Read More

Ulrich, J. D., Finn, M. B., Wang, Y., Shen, A., Mahan, T. E., Jiang, H., Stewart, F. R., Piccio, L., Colonna, M., & Holtzman, D. M. Altered microglial response to A beta plaques in APPPS1-21 mice heterozygous for TREM2, Molecular Neurodegeneration, June 3, 2014, Read More

Wang, S., Sudan, R., Peng, V., Zhou, Y., Du, S., Yuede, C. M., Lei, T., Hou, J., Cai, Z., Cella, M., Nguyen, K., Poliani, P. L., Beatty, W. L., Chen, Y., Cao, S., Lin, K., Rodrigues, C., Ellebedy, A. H., Gilfillan, S., Brown, G. D., Holtzman, D. M., Brioschi, S., & Colonna, M. TREM2 drives microglia response to amyloid-β via SYK-dependent and -independent pathways, Cell, October 27, 2022, Read More

Zhou, Y., Song, W. M., Andhey, P. S., Swain, A., Levy, T., Miller, K. R., Poliani, P. L., Cominelli, M., Grover, S., Gilfillan, S., Cella, M., Ulland, T. K., Zaitsev, K., Miyashita, A., Ikeuchi, T., Sainouchi, M., Kakita, A., Bennett, D. A., Schneider, J. A., Nichols, M. R., Beausoleil, S. A., Ulrich, J., Holtzman, D. M., Artyomov, M. N., & Colonna, M. Human and mouse single-nucleus transcriptomics reveal TREM2-dependent and TREM2-independent cellular responses in Alzheimer’s disease, Nature Medicine, January 13, 2020, Read More

Cable, J., Holtzman, D. M., Hyman, B. T., Tansey, M. G., Colonna, M., Kellis, M., Brinton, R. D., Albert, M., Wellington, C. L., Sisodia, S. S., & Tanzi, R. E. Alternatives to Amyloid for Alzheimer’s Disease Therapies-A Symposium Report, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, May 29, 2020, Read More

Paolicelli, R. C., Sierra, A., Stevens, B., et al. Microglia states and nomenclature: A field at its crossroads, Neuron, November 2, 2022, Read More

Wang, S., & Colonna, M. The microglial immunoreceptor tyrosine-based motif-Syk signaling pathway is a promising target of immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease, Clinical and Translational Medicine, February 11, 2023, Read More

Dehkordi, S. K., Walker, J., Sah, E., Bennett, E., Atrian, F., Frost, B., Woost, B., Bennett, R. E., Orr, T. C., Zhou, Y., Andhey, P. S., Colonna, M., Sudmant, P. H., Xu, P., Wang, M., Zhang, B., Zare, H., & Orr, M. E. Profiling senescent cells in human brains reveals neurons with CDKN2D/p19 and tau neuropathology, Nature Aging, December 10, 2021, Read More