Lehtinen Laboratory | News


May 2018 – Take a look at our newest article published online in eLife (Chau et al.,) where we discovered that neural progenitor cells dynamically regulate protein biosynthetic machinery during early forebrain development. This fundamental process matches concurrent changes in the adjacent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteome, and is regulated in part by the transcription factor c-MYC. We previously showed that the CSF delivers important health- and growth-promoting factors for the developing brain. Our new work expands on this role to demonstrate that the CSF provides a biomarker signature of healthy mammalian forebrain development, analogous to its common role as a source of biomarkers for neurologic disease throughout life.

Congrats to Morgan for being selected for a Trainee Travel Award for the upcoming American Association of Neuropathology Meeting in June!

April 2018 - We are celebrating Maria’s promotion to Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School!


March 2018 – We have many achievements to celebrate this spring! Check out our article published in The American Journal of Pathology (Shannon et al.,) where we generated a new mouse model for two rare pediatric cancers: choroid plexus carcinoma and ciliary body medulloepithelioma (eye tumor). We are also celebrating the fantastic news of our newly funded research grant from the Human Frontier Science Program. This exciting multi-lab collaborative project with Claire Wyart (INSERM, Paris) and François Gallaire (EPFL, Lausanne) investigates CSF production and flow.

January 2018 – This New Year, we are delighted to welcome Huixin Xu as a postdoctoral fellow, and Hannah Zucker, a rotation student from the Program in Neuroscience. We congratulate Neil on a Glenn/AFAR Postdoctoral Fellowship, and are grateful for continued funding from the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation. 


October 2017 – We welcome Yidi Wang from the BBS and MD/PhD Programs to rotate in the lab. 

August 2017 – Maria joined the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation on Capitol Hill for a fruitful day of meetings with Senate and House of Representatives staff. The event followed a productive internship week with Bella. 

Capitol Hill

We mixed science and nature on our lab retreat north of the border and celebrated our newly funded grant from the Tommy Fuss Center for Neuropsychiatric Disease Research. 

June 2017 – We welcome our summer undergraduate interns: Alexandria Velasquez (Harvard SHURP program), and Tyler LeComer (Harvard’s PRISE program), and summer rotation students: Christina Tringides (Biophysics program) and Jenny Lai (MD/PhD program). We bid farewell to Dr. Kevin Chau, who is embarking on his new scientific path at Biogen. We also enjoyed hosting Jackson Broderdorp for an internship from the Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. Best of luck Kevin and Jackson!

April 5, 2017 Kevin successfully defended his PhD - congratulations Dr. Chau!

Kevin Graduation 

April 2017Congratulations Fred for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! This award will support Fred’s dissertation research in the lab during the next three years. We are also thrilled that Tyler LeComer received a PRISE fellowship from Harvard University to carry out summer research in the lab. Finally, check out our recent collaboration with the Lehesjoki Lab (Anttonen et al., Brain 2017), where we characterized the genetic and molecular mechanisms contributing to PEHO syndrome, a severe pediatric encephalopathy. 

January 9, 2017 – We are celebrating the news that Maria has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama! Check out the White House press release:


January 2017 – We are ringing in the New Year by welcoming Jin Cui as a new postdoctoral fellow to the lab! We are also grateful for continued research support from the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation, and are looking forward to a productive 2017!


November 2016We welcome Ryann Fame as a postdoctoral fellow to the lab! Also check out Neil’s Preview published in Cell Stem Cell (Dani & Lehtinen), “CSF makes waves in the neural stem cell niche.” 

October 2016 Maria is selected as Robertson Neuroscience Investigator of the New York Stem Cell Foundation for innovative research in neuroscience. This grant supports the next five-year phase of the lab’s research program investigating the mechanisms regulating the choroid plexus-CSF stem cell niche. http://nyscf.org/programs/nyscf-investigator-program

September 2016 - Fred Shipley joins the lab for his PhD from the Biophysics program, and Alec Walker from the Immunology program starts a fall rotation in the lab. Welcome Fred and Alec! It is also time to bid farewell to our summer student Zeynep – good luck with your studies in the coming year! We also had a wonderful time participating in the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation walk in western Massachusetts.

August 2016Check out our recent publication in Science (Mathew et al.) where we discovered that foot shock, which is commonly used for contextual fear conditioning in learning and memory studies, suppresses gene expression in the choroid plexus. Given its proximity to the hippocampus, the lateral ventricle choroid plexus can be accidentally included in hippocampal dissections. We propose a metric for verifying the purity of hippocampal samples before performing extensive analyses. We are grateful for funding from the Simons Foundation, which supports our research relating to autism spectrum disorder. We are grateful for funding from the Simons Foundation, which supports our research relating to autism spectrum disorder.

April 13, 2016
Congratulations to Dr. Melody Lun for successfully defending her Ph.D.! Melody will now return to medical school to finish her MD.


April 1, 2016  - Today we enjoyed a lab lunch to welcome Ahram Jang as a new postdoctoral fellow to the lab – welcome Ahram! We also celebrated Emily Messelaar’s rotation in the lab, and Hillary’s acceptances to medical school. Congrats also to Melody and our collaborators in Haotian Zhao’s lab at Sanford Research for our recent publication (Li et al.) describing a new connection between cilia and choroid plexus tumors published in Nature Cell Biology. The lab also received a grant from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Congratulations to all! 

Jan. 30, 2016 - We are celebrating an exciting start to the new year! We welcome Fred Shipley from the Biophysics Program to rotate in the lab. Neil was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the William Randolph Hearst Fund, and Kevin received an SFN travel award to the Japan Neuroscience Society meeting in 2016. The lab also received recent grants from the Broad Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and continued research support from the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation. Congratulations to all!


Dec. 21, 2015 - Check out our new paper, published today in Developmental Cell (Chau et al.). In this collaborative effort with Hanno Steen and Anthony LaMantia’s labs, we developed new techniques to collect and analyze the function and composition of early amniotic fluid and CSF as they diverge in the developing nervous system. Congratulations to Kevin and everyone who contributed to this study. Read more at:

Vector Blog:

How amniotic and cerebrospinal fluids talk to the developing brain: proteomics

HMS Prenatal Proteomics:

How amniotic and cerebrospinal fluids talk to the developing brain: proteomics

Dec. 12, 2015 - 4th Annual Lehtinen/Andermann Labs Holiday Party, ping pong tournament, and Yankee Swap. Who went home with the brain cookie jar?

October 17-21 - Kevin and Melody presented posters at the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, and we celebrated Melody’s SFN Trainee Professional Developmental Award. The lab’s research was also recognized and honored by a Cajal Club Cortical Explorer Award to Maria. 

July 15, 2015 – Check out our review describing the development and functions of the choroid plexus-CSF system (Lun et al.), published today in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

May 15, 2015 – Congratulations to collaborators Jessica Chang and Hazel Sive from the Whitehead Institute and MIT for their paper demonstrating zebrafish CSF promotes survival of the developing nervous system in a retinoid-dependent manner, published online today in Developmental Neurobiology. In this paper, we also compare the proteomes of rodent and zebrafish CSF and show that mouse CSF can substitute for zebrafish CSF to promote survival.

May 11, 2015 – Erin Fonseca, Northeastern co-op student joins the lab – Welcome Erin!

March 25, 2015 – Check out our paper published today in The Journal of Neuroscience (Lun et al., 2015) where we show regionalization of the choroid plexus tissues in the brain and ventricle-specific CSF production. This has been a collaborative effort with many labs, including our neighbors and friends in the department Hanno Steen and Hart Lidov, Nenad Sestan at Yale, Michael Holtzman at Washington Univ., and Ed Monuki at UC-Irvine. Congratulations Melody and everyone involved!

Feb. 27, 2015 – Good-bye lunch for Tais, sampling some of her favorite Brazilian specialties at Muqueca in Cambridge. We will miss you!


Dec. 7, 2014 – 3rd annual Andermann/Lehtinen holiday party and yankee swap – Happy Holidays!

Dec. 5, 2014 – Neil Dani joins the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Neil recently completed his PhD at Vanderbilt University working on Drosophila synapses and extracellular matrix proteins in the Broadie lab – Welcome Neil!

Aug. 16, 2014 – Lab retreat north of the border to Quebec, Canada. What a view from the Owl’s head summit!

June 20, 2014 – Lab hiking trip to the Blue Hills and farewell party for Hye-yeon and Mark. Hye-yeon is moving to Novartis and Mark is starting his PhD at Harvard in the BBS program.

June 9, 2014 – Hillary Mullan joins the lab as our new research assistant. Hillary just graduated from the Oberlin College Neuroscience program – Welcome Hillary!

May 15, 2014 – The lab is awarded an R01 grant from the NIH – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). This 5 year grant will support the lab’s efforts to investigate how the CSF system first forms in the developing brain, and how protein signals in the early CSF influence neural stem cells and the earliest stages of brain development. The lab has also been supported by a K99/R00 from the NINDS over the past several years. We are grateful for this support.

April 1, 2014 – Mark receives an NSF graduate research fellowship – Congratulations Mark!

Feb. 25, 2014 – Tais Adelita joins the lab from Sao Paulo, Brazil, for her 1-year research fellowship supported by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation – Welcome Tais!


Dec. 7, 2013 – 2nd annual Andermann/Lehtinen holiday party – Happy Holidays!

Nov. 12, 2013 – Maria is honored at the Society for Neuroscience meeting with a Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award!

April 30, 2013 – Melody receives a Glenn/AFAR Scholarship for her project on the adult choroid plexus – Congratulations Melody!

April 12, 2013 – Welcome Hye-yeon Park from the Program in Neuroscience at Harvard, and good-bye Alex and Vivian! Vivian is graduating from Northeastern, and Alex will pursue an MA at Boston University. We will miss you - good luck!

March 29, 2013 - Kevin receives an NSF graduate research fellowship, which will support the next 3 years of his dissertation research – Congratulations Kevin!

March 11, 2013 – Check out our JoVE protocol (Zappaterra et al.) published today on culturing cortical explants with CSF.


Dec. 14, 2012 – Great news - the lab is awarded a Research Grant from the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation! This grant will support our research to investigate mechanisms leading to hydrocephalus and the consequences of hydrocephalus on brain development.

Dec. 2, 2012 – 1st annual Andermann/Lehtinen holiday party and yankee swap – Happy Holidays!

Sept. 4, 2012 – Kevin Chau joins the lab for his PhD from the BBS Program at Harvard – Welcome Kevin!

Aug. 29, 2012 – Salih Topal joins the lab for his MA from the Univ. of Strasbourg, France – Welcome Salih!

Aug. 23, 2012 – Melody Lun joins the lab for her PhD. Melody is in the MD/PhD program at Boston University – Welcome Melody!

July 10, 2012 – Mark Springel joins the lab as our new research assistant. Mark just graduated from Williams College – Welcome Mark!

June 4, 2012 – Alexandra Stough joins the lab for a summer internship from Bucknell University – Welcome Alexandra!

Feb. 15, 2012 – Maria is honored by an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship!

Jan. 5, 2012 – Vivian Ho joins the lab as an undergraduate co-op student from Northeastern University – Welcome Vivian!

Jan. 2, 2012 – Check out our lab space and views of Boston from the 11th floor of the Enders Research Building - Maria and Alex are hard at work setting up the new lab! Come get a tour – we are excited to show everyone around.

Lab Set Up

Lehtinen Lab

Lab Space


Lab View