Investigator Biosketch


Dr. Nadejda Tsankova has a solid background in epigenetics, having pioneered seminal work for the role of chromatin remodeling in electroconvulsive seizures and chronic stress, under the mentorship of her Ph.D. advisor Dr. Eric Nester.  Subsequently, she obtained expertise in stem cell and glioma biology during her Neuropathology Fellowship (Drs. James Goldman and Peter Canoll) and then Post-graduate training (Dr. Fiona Doetsch), both at Columbia University.  There she spearheaded human based-techniques to isolate endogenous quiescent and activated neural progenitors from the human subventricular zone for functional and molecular comparison to glioma cells and contributed to characterizing the phenotypic heterogeneity and plasticity of human brain astrocytes. As a tenured Professor now at Mount Sinai, Dr. Tsankova leads a basic research group as a principal investigator and spends a quarter of her time on the clinical neuropathology service, where she diagnoses a variety of neuropathological disorders from surgical and autopsy specimens.

As a clinically trained and practicing neuropathologist, Dr. Tsankova has unique appreciation for the anatomy and histological variability of brain tissues, and the necessary expertise to carry out the clinical diagnosis of neurosurgical specimens while directing their IRB-approved procurement for further molecular studies.  This puts her in the unique position to ask exciting, translational questions about disorders such as epilepsy and gliomagenesis, and to collaborate with other basic and translational scientists who are interested in the lab’s human-based approaches.

Description of Research

The main goal of our lab is to obtain deeper understanding of the molecular drivers of proliferation and differentiation during normal neural development as well as in pathological conditions, such as gliomagenesis and reactive gliosis, in order to expose superior targets for drug therapy in gliomas and drug-resistant epilepsy. To do this, our lab uses variety of next generation molecular tools and functional assays in order to characterize distinct human cell populations acutely derived from fresh clinical samples.

Topic areas – Neuro-Oncology, Epilepsy, Epigenetics, Neurodevelopment, Tissue Banking