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Nadejda Tsankova

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  • Anatomic Pathology

  • Neuropathology


  • MD, University of Texas - Southwestern Medical School

  • PhD, University of Texas - Southwestern Medical Center

  • Residency, Pathology/NeuroPath.
    New York Presbyterian Hospital

  • Fellowship, Neuropathology
    New York Presbyterian Hospital


    Dr. Tsankova is an Assistant Professor in Pathology, Neuroscience, and a member of the Friedman Brain Institute. Her laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of gliomagenesis in endogenous human-based models. She is also a practicing neuropathologist. Dr. Tsankova received her Ph.D. from UT Southwestern Medical Center, where she trained with Dr. Eric Nestler. Under his guidance, she pioneered the studies of neuroepigenetics in the context of chronic stress/depression. Following the path of a Physician-Scientist, she completed her residency in Anatomic Pathology and fellowship in Neuropathology at Columbia University, where she became intrigued with studying the pathogenesis of human gliomas. She worked in the laboratory of Dr. Fiona Doetsch, where she developed novel techniques to isolate and characterize endogenous neural/glial progenitors from human brain, creating a transitional, human-based system to study epigenetic dysregulation during gliomagenesis. Previously an Assistant Professor at Columbia University and now one at Mount Sinai, Dr. Tsankova also has fruitful and ongoing collaborations with several investigators from the departments of Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at both institutions.


  • 2013 -
    Clinical Trials Office Research Pilot Award
    Irving Institute

  • 2008 -
    Stembridge Award for Excellence in Pathology
    University of Texas

  • 2000 -
    Medical Scientist Training Program Fellowship

  • 1998 -
    Howard Hughes Fellowship for summer research

  • 1998 -
    Presidential Endowed Scholarship


A major research endeavor of our lab is to better define the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the neoplastic transformation of normal human neural progenitors into primary brain tumors and the progression of low-grade to high-grade gliomas. Particularly, we want to understand the role of epigenetics (DNA methylation, histone modifications, and beyond) during normal glial development and its dysregulation during gliomagenesis. We have developed unique, translational methodology for isolating glial progenitor (stem) cells from human brains, and are actively defining their epigenetic and transcriptional signatures. Our preliminary findings reveal distinct epigenetic changes at developmentally regulated gene targets, which might predispose a subset of glial progenitors in the brain toward a neoplastic fate. Discovering unique genetic and epigenetic alterations in preneoplastic glia within their in vivo niche will allow us and others to identify biomarkers for early detection and more effective treatment of human gliomas, including glioblastomas. Current Students: Parsa Erfani, Jordan Goldberg Current Postdoctoral Fellows: Jessica Tome-Garcia.


Tsankova NM, Canoll P. Advances in genetic and epigenetic analyses of gliomas: a neuropathological perspective. Journal of neuro-oncology 2014 Sep; 119(3).

Sosunov AA, Wu X, Tsankova NM, Guilfoyle E, McKhann GM, Goldman JE. Phenotypic heterogeneity and plasticity of isocortical and hippocampal astrocytes in the human brain. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2014 Feb; 34(6).

Tsankova NM, Bevan C, Jobanputra V, Ko YC, Mayer EW, Lefkowitch JH, Mansukhani M, Rowland LP, Bhagat G, Tanji K. Peripheral T-cell lymphoma emerging in a patient with aggressive polymyositis: molecular evidence for neoplastic transformation of an oligoclonal T-cell infiltrate. Acta neuropathologica 2013 Oct; 126(4).

Tsankova N, Renthal W, Kumar A, Nestler EJ. Epigenetic regulation in psychiatric disorders. Nature reviews. Neuroscience 2007 May; 8(5).

Tsankova NM, Berton O, Renthal W, Kumar A, Neve RL, Nestler EJ. Sustained hippocampal chromatin regulation in a mouse model of depression and antidepressant action. Nature neuroscience 2006 Apr; 9(4).

Berton O, McClung CA, Dileone RJ, Krishnan V, Renthal W, Russo SJ, Graham D, Tsankova NM, Bolanos CA, Rios M, Monteggia LM, Self DW, Nestler EJ. Essential role of BDNF in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in social defeat stress. Science (New York, N.Y.) 2006 Feb; 311(5762).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Dr. Tsankova did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2015 and/or 2016: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

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