Assistant Professor in Molecular Psychiatry (permanent)                                         2014-
Trinity College Dublin                                                                                   Dublin, Ireland

Lecturer in Functional Genomics (fixed term contract)                                      2009-2014
Trinity College Dublin                                                                                   Dublin, Ireland

Research Affiliate                                                                                                        2009-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology                                                      Cambridge, MA

Postdoctoral Fellow                                                                                            2003-2009
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mriganka Sur Laboratory            Cambridge, MA

Postdoctoral fellow                                                                                              2001-2002
Scuola Normale Superiore                                                                                   Pisa, Italy

Academic Training

Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (now called “Neuroscience”)                           Sep 2000
International School for Advanced Studies                                                      Trieste, Italy

Diploma in Biology (70/70 cum laude)                                                                 Dec 1996
Scuola Normale Superiore                                                                                   Pisa, Italy

Laurea in Biology                                                                                                    Jul 1996
Università di Pisa (110/110 cum laude)                                                               Pisa, Italy


Entrepreneur award                                                                                                     2014

“Best entrepreneurship project”

TIAMO foundation award                                                                                             2014

“Innovative treatment for rare diseases”

Boston Area Neuroscience Group award                                                                    2006
“Best SFN Meeting abstract”


Patent MIT 11841 PCT Application CHS Ref. No. 0492612-0474-PTC Application “Identifying and Modulating Molecular Pathways that Mediate Nervous System Plasticity”.

U.S. Patent number 7994127 (Mriganka Sur issued; WGS Ref. No. M0656.70145US01 – “Treatment of Rett Syndrome and other disorders”.

“Assessing the effects of genetic mutations linked to neurodevelopmental disorders (i.e. schizophrenia, autism): a new cellular screening to identify molecular deficits and candidate treatments. Trinity College Dublin, Pending



1.     C. Keogh, G. Pini, A. H. Dyer, S. Bigoni, P. DiMarco, I. Gemo,, R. Reilly, D. Tropea (2018) Clinical and Genetic Rett Syndrome Variants are Defined by Stable Electrophysiological Profiles. BMC Pediatrics, In press.

2.      S. Shovlin and D. Tropea (2018). Transcriptome level analysis in Rett syndrome using human samples from different tissues. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases , 13(1):113DOI: 10.1186/s13023-018-0857-8.

3.      D. Tropea, N. Hardingham, K. Millar, K. Fox (2018). Mechanisms underlying the role of DISC1 in synaptic plasticity. Invited Review. Journal of Physiology, 596(14): 2747-2771.

4.      D.Tropea, A. Harkin (2017) Biology of brain disorders, editorial. Frontiers in Cellular Neurosciences. In Press.

5.      A. Ajetunmobi, D, McAllister, Y. Volkov, D.Tropea and A. Prina-Mello. "Characterisation of SH-SY5Y Human Neuroblastoma cell growth over glass and SU-8 substrates."  J Biomed Mater Res A. 2017 Mar 28. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.36071

6.      S. Wrigley, D. Arafa, D. Tropea (2017). Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1: at the crossroad of neurodevelopment and ageing. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 11:14. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00014. eCollection 2017.

7.      C.Vadathpuour, A.H. Dyer, D.Tropea (2016). Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 and Related Compounds in the Treatment of Childhood-Onset Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10:450. eCollection 2016.

8.      G. Pini G, S. Bigoni, L. Congiu, A.M.Romanelli, M.F. Scusa, P. Di Marco, A. Benincasa, P. Morescalchi, A. Ferlini, F. Bianchi, D. Tropea, M. Zappella (2016). Rett Syndrome: a wide clinical and autonomic picture. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2016 Sep 29;11(1):132.

9.      D. Tropea, I. Molinos, S. Bellini, M. Gill, A. Corvin (2016). Expression of nuclear Methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) is dependent on neuronal stimulation and application of Insulin-like growth factor 1. Neuroscience Letters, 621:111-116.

10.  A.H. Dyer, C.Vadathpuour, A. Sanfeliu, D.Tropea (2016). The role of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1) in brain development, maturation and neuroplasticity. Neuroscience, 325:89-99.

11.  G. Pini, L. Congiu, A. Benincasa, P. Di Marco, S. Bigoni, A. Dyer, N. Mortimer, A. Della Chiesa, S. O'Leary, R. McNamara, K. J. Mitchell, M. Gill and D. Tropea (2016). Illness Severity, Social & Cognitive Ability and EEG Analysis of Ten Patients with Rett Syndrome Treated with Mecasermin (recombinant human IGF-1): A Clinical Study. Autism Research and Treatment.

12.  D.Tropea, I. Molinos, S. Bellini, E. Petit, C. O’Toutaigh, I. Nagakura, K. Mitchell, M. Sur, M. Gill, J. Waddington, A. Corvin (2016). Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) mutants have impaired activity-dependent plasticity in vitro and in vivo. Translational Psychiatry, Jan 12;6:e712. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.206

13.  Ajetunmobi, A. Prina-Mello, Y.Volkov, A. Corvin, D. Tropea (2014). The era of nanotechnology in the brain: novel approaches to the study of the Central Nervous System. Progress in Neurobiology. 123: 18-36.

14.  D.Tropea, S. Wrigley and G.Pini (2014). Novel therapeutics for Rett Syndrome. Book Chapter NOVA publisher.

15.  Nagakura, A. Van Wart, J. Petravitz, D. Tropea, M. Sur (2014). STAT1 regulates the homeostatic component of visual cortical plasticity via an AMPA receptor-mediated mechanism. J. Neurosci Jul 30; 34(31):10256-63.

16.  J. Castro, S. Kwok, R. Garcia, A. Banerjee, D. Tropea, M. Sur (2014). Functional recovery with recombinant human IGF1 treatment in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome. PNAS Jul 8;111(27):9941-6.

17.  G. Pini, M. F. Scusa, A. Benincasa, I. Bottiglioni, L.Congiu, C. Vadhatpour, A. M. Romanelli, I. Gemo, C. Puccetti, R.Mc Namara, S. O’Leary, A. Corvin, M. Gill, D. Tropea (2014). Repeated IGF1 treatment in a patient with Rett Syndrome: a single case study. Frontiers in Pediatrics. Jun 3;2:52. doi: 10.3389/fped.2014.00052. eCollection 2014

18.  Ajetunmobi and D. Tropea. (2014) Progress toward therapies and interventions. Invited book chapter for “The Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders”-Wiley-2015- COS Printer Pte Ltd- Singapore.

19.  D.W. Morris, R, Pearson, P. Cormican, e. Kenny, C. O’Dushlaine, LP Lemieux Perreault, e. Gionnoulatou, D. Tropea, et al. (2014). An inherited duplication at the gene p21 Protein-Activated Kinase 7 (PAK7) is a risk factor for psychosis. Hum. Mol. Gen., Jun 15;23(12):3316-26. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddu025. Epub 2014 Jan 28.

20.  T. O'Donoghue, D.W. Morris, C. Fahey, A. Da Costa, S. Moore, E. Cummings, G. Leicht, S. Karch, D. Hoerold, D. Tropea, J.J. Foxe, M. Gill, A. Corvin, G. Donohoe (2014). Effects of ZNF804A on auditory P300 response in schizophrenia. Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Jan 14;4:e345. doi: 10.1038/tp.2013.115.

21.  E. J. Rose, A. Hargreaves, D. Morris, C. Fahey, D. Tropea, E. Cummings, C. Caltagirone, P. Bossù, C. Chiapponi, F. Piras, G. Spalletta, M. Gill, A. Corvin, G. Donohoe (2013). Effects of a novel schizophrenia risk variant rs7914558 at CNNM2 on brain structure and attributional style. Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Dec 5. [Epub ahead of print]

22.  E.M. Kenny, P. Cormican, S. Furlong, E. Heron, G. Kenny, C. Fahey, E. Kelleher, S. Ennis, D. Tropea, R. Anney, A. P. Corvin, G. Donohoe, L. Gallagher, M. Gill, D. W. Morris, (2013). Excess of rare novel loss-of-function variants in synaptic genes in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, Oct 15, doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.127.

23.  G. Donohoe, J. Walters, A. Hargreaves, E.J. Rose, D.W. Morris, C. Fahey, S. Bellini, E. Cummins, I. Giegling, A.M. Hartmann, H.J. Moller, P. Muglia, M.J. Owen, M. Gill, M.C. O’Donovan, D. Tropea, D. Rujescu, A. Corvin (2013). Neuropsychological Effects of the CSMD1 Genome-Wide Associated Schizophrenia Risk Variant rs10503253. Genes Brain Behav. Jan 15 Epub..

24.  D. Tropea. New challenges and frontiers in the research for neuropsychiatric disorders (2012). Frontiers in Molecular Psychiatry, 3, 69.

25.  Irish Schizophrenia Genomics Consortium and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium Genome-wide association study implicates HLA-C*01:02 as a risk factor at the major histocompatibility complex locus in schizophrenia. Biol. Psychiatry 72(8), 620-628.

26.  E. J. Rose, D.W. Morris, C. Fahey, I.H. Robertson, C. Greene, J. O’Doherty, F.N. Newell, H. Garavan, J. Mc Grath, A. Bodke, D. Tropea, M. Gill, AP Corvin, G. Donohoe. The effect of the neurogranin schizophrenia risk variant rs12807809 on brain structure and function. Twin Res. Hum. Genet. 15(3), 296-303.

27.  Corvin, I. Molinos, G. Little G. Donohue, M. Gill, D. Morris, D. Tropea (2012). IGF1 and its active peptide (1-3)IGF1 enhance the expression of synaptic markers in neuronal circuits through different cellular mechanisms. Neuroscience Letters, 520(1), 296-303.

28.  G. Pini, M.F. Scusa, B. Felloni, L. Congiu, A. Benincasa, R. Frati, I. Bottiglioni, P. Di Marco, P. Borelli, U. Bonuccelli, A. Della-Chiesa, A. Prina-Mello, D. Tropea (2012). Safety assessment of IGF-1 treatment: study on six Rett patients. Autism research and treatment, 2012:679801, Epub Jun 13.

29.  Hargreaves, D.W. Morris, E. Rose, C. Fahey, S. Moore, E. Cummings, D. Tropea, M. Gill, A. Corvin, G. Donohoe (2012). ZNF804A and social cognition in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Mol Psychiatry., Feb;17(2), 118-119.

30.  Delaney, J. McGrane, E. Cummings, DW Morris, D. Tropea, M. Gill, A. Corvin, G. Donohoe. Preserved Cognitive function is associated with suicidal ideation and single suicide attempts in schizophrenia. Schizophr. Res. 140 (1-3), 232-236.

31.  T. O’Donohoe, D.W. Morris, C. Fahey, A. Da Costa, J.J. Foxe, D. Hoerold, D. Tropea, m. Gill, A. Corvin, G. Donohoe (2012). A NOS1 variant implicated in cognitive performance influences evoked neural responses during a high density EEG study of early visual perception. Hum. Brain Mapp, 33(5), 1202-1211.

32.  N. Mellios, H. Sugihara, J. Castro, A. Banerjee, C. Le, A. Kumar, B. Crawford, J. Strathmann, D. Tropea, S. S. Levine, D. Edbauer, M. Sur (2011). miR-132, an experience-dependent microRNA, is essential for visual cortex plasticity. Nature Neurosci.,40, 1240-1242.

33.  D. Tropea, M. Sur,A. Majewska (2010) Experience-dependent plasticity in visual cortex: dendritic spines and visual responsiveness. Communicative and Integrative Biology 4(2), 216-219.

34.  D. Tropea, A. Majewska, R. Garcia, M. Sur (2010) Structural dynamics of synapses in vivo correlate with functional changes during experience-dependent plasticity in visual cortex. Journal of Neurosci. 30(33), 11086-11095.

35.  C.L. McCurry, J.D. Shepherd, D. Tropea, KH Wang, M.F. Bear, M. Sur (2010) Loss of Arc renders the visual cortex impervious to the effects of sensory experience or deprivation. Nat. Neurosci. Apr;13(4), 450-457

36.  D. Tropea, E. Giacometti, N. Wilson, Caroline Beard, Cortina McCurry, Dong Dong Fu, Ruth Flannery, R. Jaenisch and M. Sur (2009) Partial reversal of Rett Syndrome-like symptoms in MeCP2 mutant mice. PNAS, 106 (6), 2029-2034.

37.  M. Caleo, D. Tropea, C. Rossi, L. Gianfranceschi and L. Maffei (2009) Environmental enrichment promotes fiber sprouting after deafferentation of the superior colliculus in the adult rat brain. Exp. Neurol., Apr 216 (2), 515-519.

38.  D. Tropea, A. Van Wart and M Sur (2008). Review. Molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity in visual cortex. Philos .Trans. R. Soc. Lond B Biol Sci. 364 (1515), 341-355.

39.  Lyckman, S. Horng, C. Leamey, D. Tropea, A. Watakabe, A. Van Wart, C. McCurry, T. Yamamori and M. Sur (2008). Transcriptional regulation during the critical period of ocular dominance plasticity: prominent expression of actin-binding and myelination factors. PNAS, 105 (27), 9409-9414.

40.  D. Tropea, G. Kreiman, A. Lyckman, S. Mukherjee, H. Yu, S. Horng and M. Sur (2006). Gene expression changes and molecular pathways mediating activity-dependent plasticity in visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 9(5), 660-668.

41.  P.P Pattabiraman, D. Tropea, C. Chiaruttini, E. Tongiorgi, A. Cattaneo and L. Domenici (2005). Neuronal activity regulates the developmental expression and subcellular localization of cortical BDNF mRNA isoforms in vivo. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 28(3), 556-570.

42.  D. Tropea, M. Caleo and L. Maffei, (2003). Synergistic effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and chondroitinase ABC on retinal fiber sprouting after denervation of the superior colliculus in adult rats. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(18), 7034-7044.

43.  D. Tropea, S. Capsoni, S. Covacheuszak, L. Domenici and A. Cattaneo, (2002). Rat visual cortical neurons express tyrosin kinase A (TrkA). Neuroreport, 13(10), 1369-1373.

44.  D. Tropea, L. Domenici, (2001). TrkB expression in visual cortex is not modulated by light. Cell Mol Neurobiol., 21(5), 545-552.

45.  D. Tropea, S. Capsoni, E. Tongiorgi, S. Giannotta, A. Cattaneo and L. Domenici, (2001). Mismatch between BDNF mRNA and protein expression in the developing visual cortex. Role of visual experience. Eur. J. Neurosci., 13, 709-721.

46.  D. Tropea, E. Sermasi, L. Domenici, (1999). Long term potentiation of feedback horizontal connections in rat primary visual cortex. Dev. Brain Res., 118, 61-67.

47.  E. Sermasi, D. Tropea, L. Domenici, (1999). A new form of synaptic plasticity is transiently expressed in the developing rat visual cortex: a modulatory role for visual experience and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. Neuroscience 91(1), 163-173.

48.  E. Sermasi, D. Tropea, L. Domenici, (1999). LTD is expressed in rat visual cortex: role of visual experience. Brain Res Dev Brain Res 12; 113(1-2), 61-65.


Teaching and Supervising

Tutor at Trinity College Dublin (2013-)

Module of Structural Biology undergraduate course in Human health and disease (2012-)

Coordinator of the module “Biology of Neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders” for the undergraduate course in Human Health and Disease (2012-)

Coordinator of the third year of undergraduate Course Human Health and Disease (2013-)

Significant contribution in preparing a M.Sc. in “Biological Psychiatry” for medical students

Teaching in MSc Molecular Medicine and MSc Biological Psychiatry (lectures, workshops, laboratories and e-learning classes) (2011-)

Trinity College Dublin “Neurobiology Lectures” for medical students (2010-2011)

MIT IAP course “Neuropharmacology” (2009)

MIT IAP course “Structural correlates of functional plasticity” (2008)
Mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students at MIT (2004-2009)

Ph.D. students: Stefania Bellini (2014, SUNY Albany), Ayokunmi Ajetunmbobi (2016, Desktop Genetics), Albert Sanfeliu (present), Stephen Shovlin (present)

M.Sc. students: Stephen Byrne (2011, Sales, Dublin), Lenka Schorova (2012, PhD Student, Nice, France), David Quigley (2012, Medical Consultant, Dublin), Tiernam King (2012, Medical Consultant, Dublin), Michael Ryan (2013, Medical Consultant, Dublin), Harish Parvathaiah (2014, Medical Consultant, Dublin), Adam Dyer (2015, Final Year Medical Student TCD), Niall Mortimer (2015, PhD student, Germany).


12 Undergraduate students

Professional Activities

Associate Member at ACNP American College of Neuropsychopharmachology.

Referee for Neuron, Scientific Reports, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, European Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience, Genes, Brain and Behavior, Biological Psychiatry, Neural Plasticity, PlosOne, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience Research, Experimental Gerontology, NeuroMolecular Medicine and Neuroinformatics.

Scientific Organizer of the workshop Biology of Brain Disorders 2016, Dublin

Reviewer for the grant agencies Telethon, Ontario Mental Health Fundation, Israel Science Foundation, MRC, Wellcome Trust.

Invited Associate editor for “Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience”.

Invited Editor for the special issue of Frontiers in Molecular Psychiatry: “Novel mechanisms and therapeutics in neurodevelopmental disorders”.

Invited Editor for the special issue of Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience: “Biology of Brain Disorders”.

Invited Talks

Growth Hormone and IGF conference, Seattle, USA                                                                 September 2018

Cardiff University, UK                                                                                                                            April 2017

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA                                                                              March 2017

Workshop of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Siena, Italy)                                October 2016

University “La Sapienza, Rome”                                                                    October 2015

Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience                                                   November 2014

Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience Annual Meeting (Ireland)          November 2013

Irish Rett Syndrome Association (Athlone, Ireland)                                 September 2013

American College Neuropharmachology Annual Meeting (FL, USA)       December 2012

Imperial College London (UK)                                                                       October 2012

Annual Symposium IRSF (VA, USA)                                                                  June 2011

Mount Sinai School of Medicine (NY, USA)                                                 February 2011

Ohio State University (OH, USA)                                                                   January 2011

Kings College London (UK)                                                                       December 2010

World Congress Psychiatric Genetics (Athens, Greece)                              October 2010

Symposium on rare genetic diseases (Viareggio, Italy)                              February 2010

World Congress Psychiatric Genetics (San Diego, CA)                           November 2009

European Conference on Rett Syndrome (Milan, Italy)                                     June 2009

Stony Brook University (NY)                                                                                April 2009

Rutgers University (NJ)                                                                              December 2008

Stanford University (CA)                                                                           September 2008

Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris)                                                                      April 2008

University of Chicago (IL)                                                                             February 2008

Center for Brain Repair Cambridge (UK)                                                     February 2008

University of California Santa Barbara (CA)                                                       April 2007

University of Rochester (NY)                                                                           August 2006

University of Trieste (Italy)                                                                                   July 2006

European Brain Research Institute (Rome, Italy)                                               June 2006


outreach activities

Scientific organizer of the international Workshop Biology of Brain Disorders  (2016)

Organizer of the TAP event for science demonstrations for primary schools (2017)


Annual training for lab safety and animal procedure 2003-2009 (MIT)

Last Ireland 2009

Specific training in mouse handling 2010 (TCD)