Neuropathology Unit

The Neuropathology  Unit performs both collaborative and independent histopathology-based research related to the characterization and understanding of central nervous system disorders.

Collaborations occur both within the SNB and NINDS, and also with more distant centers. Current collaborative efforts within NINDS focus on traumatic brain injury, stroke, motor neuron disease, dystonia, multiple sclerosis, multi-system atrophy, and alpha-synucleinopathies including Parkinson’s disease. The unit maintains a brain bank that collects autopsy brain tissue from unusual cases. Dr. Cimino is also one of the supervisors of the SNB-Neuro-Oncology brain bank that actively collects tissue from NIH surgical cases on a regular basis. This is slated to be the first fully integrated tissue bank that is accessible to investigators across the NIH.

Independent research within the Unit focuses on tumor biology, including metabolic changes. Understanding the phenotype of CNS hemangioblastomas associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease is a longstanding interest of Marsha J. Merrill, Ph.D., the Staff Scientist in the Unit.

Lab Members:

  • PJ Cimino, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Neuropathology Unit
  • Marsha J. Merrill, Ph.D., Staff Scientist
  • Nancy A. Edwards. B.A., Research Biologist

Select Publications:

  • Hong CS, Hsieh JK, Edwards NA, Ray-Chaudhury A, Zaghloul KA. IDH mutations may not preclude distant, trans-tentorial spread in gliomas: a case report and review of the literature. World J Surg Oncol. 2016;14:53.
  • Merrill MJ, Nai D, Ghosh P, Edwards NA, Hallett M, Ray-Chaudhury A. Neuropathology in a case of episodic ataxia type 4. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2016;42:296-300.
  • Chang KE, Pratt D, Mishra BB, Edwards N, Hallett M, Ray-Chaudhury A. Type II (adult onset) Alexander disease in a paraplegic male with a rare D128N mutation in the GFAP gene. Clin Neuropathol. 2015;34:298-302.
  • Oldfield EH, Merrill MJ. Apoplexy of pituitary adenomas: the perfect storm. J Neurosurg. 2015;122:1444-9.
  • Merrill MJ, Edwards NA, Lonser RR. Hemangioblastoma-associated mast cells in von Hippel-Lindau disease are tumor derived. Blood. 2013;121:859-60.
  • Merrill MJ, Edwards NA, Lonser RR. Notch receptor and effector expression in von Hippel-Lindau disease-associated central nervous system hemangioblastomas. J Neurosurg. 2011;115:512-7.
Creutzfeldt Astrocyte in Multiple Sclerosis
Creutzfeldt Astrocyte in Multiple Sclerosis


Bielschowsky’s Silver stain, Cerebellum
Bielschowsky’s Silver stain, Cerebellum