Patrizia Casaccia, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Director, Neuroscience Initiative
  • Einstein Professor of Biology, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Dr. Casaccia received her medical degree with Honors from the University of Rome, and a Ph.D. degree in Neurobiology from State University of New York (SUNY) Health and Science Center Brooklyn. She trained at Cornell Weill Medical Center in New York and at the Skirball Institute for Molecular Medicine at NYU.

Dr. Casaccia’s work adopts molecular and cellular techniques to understand how glial cells (more specifically myelinating oligodendrocytes) modify genes to acquire their identity and how the environment (i.e. social influences and physical space) may modify this process, thereby affecting myelin formation and disease susceptibility. The approach involves study of human-derived samples, mouse models, large unbiased “omics” approaches to study proteins, lipids and genome-wide changes. In addition, the lab has a strong interest in defining mechanisms of neurodegeneration in order to develop novel therapeutics.

Dr. Casaccia’s research interest spans three main topics:

  1. How new myelin is formed in the developing and adult brain;
  2. Why neurons are damaged in neurological disorders;
  3. What is the effect of the environment (i.e. social experiences, diet and gut microbiome) on the genome and how this affects white matter, behavior and diseases.

The methodologies used in the Casaccia’s Lab include molecular and robotic technologies for the isolation of single cells, the study of the epigenome in distinct cell types, dietary manipulations, study of microbiota and behavioral assessment in rodents in physiological conditions and in models of neurological disorders. Her work is funded by grants from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Department of the Defense and by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Dr. Casaccia is committed to education. She has trained several undergraduate and graduate students who have greatly succeeded in terms of publications, awards and have continued to successful postdoctoral positions. She has been the recipient of several Teaching and Research Awards, that witness her recognition by students and peer faculty. She is a strong believer in Mentorship of post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty.

Dr. Casaccia comes to the ASRC from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she retains an affiliation as the Co-director of a joint CUNY-Mount Sinai Glial Center, and will continue the translational work in Multiple Sclerosis.

Research Interests

1. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression in glial progenitors with an emphasis on chromatin; DNA methylation; nuclear structure;
2. Environmental regulation of white matter structure and function;
3. Gut-brain communication: role of diet/microbes/metabolites;
4. Mitochondrial Bioenergetics and axonal damage in demyelinating disorders.

Click here to see the bibliography of Dr. Casaccia.

Select Videos

The Brain And Loneliness, Multiple Sclerosis, Life in Space | Simply Science (CUNY TV)

Video Summary for Special Issue on Epigenetics (Glia, August 2020)

Research in MS: Can the Course be Modified?

A metabolic perspective on CSF-mediated neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis


S. Moyon, R. Frawley, D. Marechal, D. Huang, K. L. H. Marshall-Phelps, L. Kegel, S. M. K. Bøstrand, B. Sadowski, Y.-H. Jiang, D. A. Lyons, W. Möbius, P. Casaccia. TET1-Mediated DNA Hydroxymethylation Regulates Adult Remyelination in Mice. Nat Commun, 2021, 12 (1), 3359. DOI:
Z. Li, M. Moniruzzaman, R. M. Dastgheyb, S.-W. Yoo, M. Wang, H. Hao, J. Liu, P. Casaccia, C. Nogueras-Ortiz, D. Kapogiannis, B. S. Slusher, N. J. Haughey. Astrocytes Deliver CK1 to Neurons via Extracellular Vesicles in Response to Inflammation Promoting the Translation and Amyloidogenic Processing of APP. J Extracell Vesicles, 2020, 10 (2), e12035. DOI:
K. Veerasammy, Y. X. Chen, S. Sauma, M. Pruvost, D. K. Dansu, T. Choetso, T. Zhong, D. Marechal, P. Casaccia, R. Abzalimov, Y. He. Sample Preparation for Metabolic Profiling Using MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging. JoVE, 2020, No. 166, 62008. DOI:

J. Liu, E. Likhtik, A. D. Shereen, T. A. Dennis-Tiwary, P. Casaccia. White Matter Plasticity in Anxiety: Disruption of Neural Network Synchronization During Threat-Safety Discrimination. Front Cell Neurosci, 2020, 14, 587053. DOI:

D. K. Dansu, S. Sauma, P. Casaccia. Oligodendrocyte Progenitors as Environmental Biosensors. Semin Cell Dev Biol, 2020. DOI:

M. Amatruda, M. Petracca, M. Wentling, B. Inbar, K. Castro, E. Y. Chen, M. A. Kiebish, K. Edwards, M. Inglese, P. Casaccia. Retrospective Unbiased Plasma Lipidomic of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Patients-Identifies Lipids Discriminating Those with Faster Clinical Deterioration. Scientific Reports, 2020, 10 (1), 15644. DOI:

The iMSMS Consortium. Household Paired Design Reduces Variance and Increases Power in Multi-City Gut Microbiome Study in Multiple Sclerosis. Mult Scler, 2020, 1352458520924594. DOI:

P. Casaccia, E. W. G. M. Boddeke. Foreword. Glia, 2020, 68 (8), 1551–1553. DOI:

S. Sauma, P. Casaccia. Gut-Brain Communication in Demyelinating Disorders. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 2020, 62, 92–101. DOI:

C. Yattah, M. Hernandez, D. Huang, H. Park, W. Liao, P. Casaccia. Dynamic Lamin B1-Gene Association During Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Differentiation. Neurochem Res, 2020. DOI:

P. Casaccia. Emerging Concepts in Neuroscience Research: 2019 Highlights. The Lancet Neurology, 2020, 19 (1), 21–22. DOI:

S. Sauma, P. Casaccia. Does the Gut Microbiota Contribute to the Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Niche? Neuroscience Letters, 2019, 134574. DOI:

M. Wentling, C. Lopez-Gomez, H.J. Park, M. Amatruda, A. Ntranos, J. Aramini, M. Petracca, T. Rusielewicz, E. Chen, V. Tolstikov, M. Kiebish, V. Fossati, M. Inglese, C.M. Quinzii, I. Katz Sand, P. Casaccia. A metabolic perspective on CSF-mediated neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosisBrain, 2019. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awz201 (press release)

V. Bonnefil, K. Dietz, M. Amatruda, M. Wentling, A.V. Aubry, J.L. Dupree, G. Temple, H.J. Park, N.S. Burghardt, P. Casaccia, J. Liu. Region-specific myelin differences define behavioral consequences of chronic social defeat stress in mice. ELife, 2019, 8. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.40855.001. Podcast:

L.L. Boshans, D.C. Factor, V. Singh, J. Liu, C. Zhao, I. Mandoiu, Q.R. Lu, P. Casaccia, P.J. Tesar, A. Nishiyama. The Chromatin Environment Around Interneuron Genes in Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells and Their Potential for Interneuron Reprograming. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2019, 13. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00829

K. Castro, A. Ntranos, M. Amatruda, M. Petracca, P. Kosa, E.Y. Chen, J. Morstein, D. Trauner, C.T. Watson, M.A. Kiebish, B. Bielekova, M. Inglese, I. Katz Sand, P. Casaccia. Body Mass Index in Multiple Sclerosis modulates ceramide-induced DNA methylation and disease course. EBioMedicine, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.03.087 (press release)

A.M. Falcão, M. Meijer, A. Scaglione, P. Rinwa, E. Agirre, J. Liang, S.C. Larsen, A. Heskol, R. Frawley, M. Klingener, M. Varas-Godoy, A.A.S.F. Raposo, P. Ernfors, D.S. Castro, M.L. Nielsen, P. Casaccia, G. Castelo-Branco. PAD2-Mediated Citrullination Contributes to Efficient Oligodendrocyte Differentiation and Myelination. Cell Reports, 2019, 4. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.03.108

Tsai, P. Casaccia. Mechano-Modulation of Nuclear Events Regulating Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Gene Expression. Glia, 2019, 67 (7), 1229–1239. DOI:

A. Ntranos, V. Ntranos, V. Bonnefil, J. Liu, S. Kim-Schulze, Y. He, Y. Zhu, R. Brandstadter, C.T. Watson, A.J. Sharp, I. Katz Sand, P. Casaccia. Fumarates target the metabolic-epigenetic interplay of brain-homing T cells in multiple sclerosis. Brain, 2019, 142(3), 647-661. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awy344

I. Katz Sand, Y. Zhu, A. Ntranos, J. C. Clemente, E. Cekanaviciute, R. Brandstadter, E. Crabtree-Hartman, S. Singh, Y. Bencosme, J. Debelius, R. Knight, B. A. C. Cree, S. E. Baranzini, P. Casaccia. Disease-Modifying Therapies Alter Gut Microbial Composition in MS. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm, 2019, 6 (1), e517. DOI:

K. Castro, P. Casaccia. Epigenetic modifications in brain and immune cells of multiple sclerosis patientsMult Scler, 2018. DOI: 10.1177/1352458517737389.

P. Casaccia, G. Corfas. Introduction to the special issue on myelin plasticity in the central nervous system. Dev Neurobiol, 2018. DOI: 10.1002/dneu.22575.

A. Schlüter, J. Sandoval, S. Fourcade, A. Díaz-Lagares, M. Ruiz, P. Casaccia, M. Esteller, A. Pujol. Epigenomic signature of adrenoleukodystrophy predicts compromised oligodendrocyte differentiationBrain Pathol, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/bpa.12595.

A.T. McKenzie, M. Wang, M.E. Hauberg, J.F. Fullard, A. Kozlenkov, A. Keenan, Y.L. Hurd, S. Dracheva, P. Casaccia, P. Roussos, B. Zhang. Brain Cell Type Specific Gene Expression and Co-expression Network ArchitecturesSci Rep, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-27293-5.

A. Scaglione, J. Patzig, J. Liang, R. Frawley, J. Bok, A. Mela, C. Yattah, J. Zhang, S.X. Teo, T. Zhou, S. Chen, E. Bernstein, P. Canoll, E. Guccione, P. Casaccia. PRMT5-mediated regulation of developmental myelinationNat Commun, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04863-9.

I. K. Sand, Y. Zhu, A. Ntranos, J.C. Clemente, E. Cekanaviciute, R. Brandstadter, E. Crabtree-Hartman, S. Singh, Y. Bencosme, J. Debelius, R. Knight, B.A.C. Cree, S.E. Baranzini, P. Casaccia. Disease-modifying therapies alter gut microbial composition in MSNeurology – Neuroimmunology Neuroinflammation, 2018, 6, 1. DOI: 10.1212/nxi.0000000000000517

Y. He, J. Y. Kim, J. Dupree, A. Tewari, C. Melendez-Vasquez, J. Svaren, P. Casaccia. Yy1 as a Molecular Link between Neuregulin and Transcriptional Modulation of Peripheral Myelination. Nat Neurosci, 2010, 13 (12), 1472–1480. DOI:

H. Li, Y. He, W. D. Richardson, P. Casaccia. Two-Tier Transcriptional Control of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation. Curr Opin Neurobiol, 2009, 19 (5), 479–485. DOI:

Y. He, P. Casaccia-Bonnefil. The Yin and Yang of YY1 in the Nervous System. J Neurochem, 2008, 106 (4), 1493–1502. DOI:

Y. He, J. Sandoval, P. Casaccia-Bonnefil. Events at the Transition between Cell Cycle Exit and Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Differentiation: The Role of HDAC and YY1. Neuron Glia Biol., 2007, 3 (3), 221–231. DOI:

Y. He, J. Dupree, J. Wang, J. Sandoval, J. Li, H. Liu, Y. Shi, K. A. Nave, P. Casaccia-Bonnefil. The Transcription Factor Yin Yang 1 Is Essential for Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Differentiation. Neuron, 2007, 55 (2), 217–230. DOI:

M. Marin-Husstege, Y. He, J. Li, T. Kondo, F. Sablitzky, P. Casaccia-Bonnefil. Multiple Roles of Id4 in Developmental Myelination: Predicted Outcomes and Unexpected Findings. Glia, 2006, 54 (4), 285–296. DOI:

Headshot: Patrizia Casaccia

Phone Number