Profile of a Pathology Faculty Member

Pathology Faculty Photo

Marla Gearing, PhD


Associate Professor
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Other Appointments/Positions

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Emory University

Co-Leader, Neuropathology Core, Emory ADRC

Director, Neuropathology/Histochemistry Core, Emory NINDS Neuroscience Core Facility

Pathology Division(s):
Experimental Pathology
Email Address:


B.S.   Biology, Cornell University, 1977 - 1981
M.S.   Biology, Emory University, 1982 - 1984
Ph.D.   Neuroscience, Univ. Wisconsin-Madison, 1984 - 1989

Research Interests:

- The overlap among neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease There is considerable clinical and neuropathologic overlap among neurodegenerative diseases. Lewy bodies are frequently found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease patients frequently show Alzheimer's disease at autopsy in addition to their Parkinson's disease. In addition, there in considerable clinical and neuropathologic heterogeneity and overlap in the family of diseases known as "tauopathies". We are interested in the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying these diseases and in how these mechanisms interact with one another.
- Regional differences in amyloid deposition, processing and association with apolipoprotein E While the neocortex displays both neuritic and diffuse plaques in Alzheimer's disease, plaques in the the striatum and cerebellum are predominantly, if not exclusively diffuse, regardless of disease duration. Furthermore, ApoE colocalizes with a subset of plaques in the neocortex and cerebellum, but not in the striatum. Neurofibrillary pathology in the neocortex is typically abundant in throughout much of the neocortex, but the occipital cortex is often relatively, if not entirely, spared. Such regional differences are not only intriguing, but an understanding of the factors underlying these differences could shed light on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

Honors / Awards:

  • Honorable Mention, Moore Aware for best paper on clinicopathologic correlation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuropathologists, 2004
  • Moore Award for the best paper on clinicopathologic correlation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuropathologists, 1998
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1983-1986

Selected/Most Recent Publications:

Click here to view all publications

Published and Accepted Research Articles -

  • Jun GR, Chung J, Mez J, Barber R, Beecham GW, Bennett DA, Buxbaum JD, Byrd GS, Carrasquillo MM, Crane PK, Cruchaga C, De Jager P, Ertekin-Taner N, Evans D, Fallin MD, Foroud TM, Friedland RP, Goate AM, Graff-Radford NR, Hendrie H, Hall KS, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Inzelberg R, Kamboh MI, Kauwe JS, Kukull WA, Kunkel BW, Kuwano R, Larson EB, Logue MW, Manly JJ, Martin ER, Montine TJ, Mukherjee S, Naj A, Reiman EM, Reitz C, Sherva R, St. George-Hyslop PH, Thornton T, Younkin SG, Vardarajan BN, Wang LS, Wendlund JR, Winslow AR, Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium, Haines J, Mayeux R, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg G, Lunetta KL, Farrer LA. Transethnic genome-wide scan identifies novel Alzheimer¿s disease loci. Alzheimer¿s Dement 2017;13:727-738.
  • Seyfried N, Dammer ED, Swarup V, Nandakumar D, Duong D, Yin L, Deng Q, Nguyen T, Hales CM, Wingo T, Glass J, Gearing M, Thambisetty M, Troncoso JC, Geschwind DH, Lah J, Levey AI. A multi-network approach identifies protein-specific co-expression in asymptomatic and symptomatic Alzheimer's disease. Cell Systems 2017 Jan 25;4(1):60-72.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2016.11.006.
  • Neltner JH, Abner EL, Jicha GA, Schmitt FA, Patel E, Poon LW, Gearing M, Green RC, Davey A, Johnson MA, Jazwinski SM, Kim S, Davis D, Woodard JL, Kryscio RJ, Van Eldik LJ, Nelson PT. Brain pathologies in extreme old age. Neurobiol Aging 2016;37:1-11.
  • Gentry E, Henderson B, Arrant A, Gearing M, Feng Y, Riddle N, Herskowitz J. Rho kinase inhibition as a therapeutic for progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration. J Neurosci 2016;36:1316-1323.
  • Buijsen R, Visser J, Kramer P, Severijnen L-A, Gearing M, Berguerand C, Sherman S, Berman R, Willemsen R, Hukema R. Presence of FMRpolyG-positive inclusions in ovarian tissue indicates that non-AUG translation plays a role in FXPOI. Human Reproduction 2016;31:158-168.
  • Hu WT, Watts KD, Tailor P, Nguyen TP, Howell JC, Lee RC, Seyfried NT, Gearing M, Hales CM, Levey AI, Lah JJ, Lee EK, ADNI. CSF complement 3 and factor H are staging biomarkers in Alzheimer's disease. Acta Neuropathol Commun 2016;4:14. doi: 10.1186/s40478-016-0277-8.
  • Dunn DJ Jr, Gearing M, Park Y, Zhang L, Hanfelt J, Glass JD, Gutman DA. Applicability of digital analysis and imaging technology in neuropathology assessment. Neuropathology 2016;36:270-282.
  • Karch CM, Ezerskiy LA, Bertelsen S, Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC), Goate AM. Alzheimer¿s disease risk polymorphisms regulate gene expression in the ZCWPW1 and the CELF1 loci. PLOS One 2016 Feb 26;11(2):e0148717. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148717.
  • Hales C, Dammer E, Deng Q, Duong D, Gearing M, Troncoso J, Thambisetty M, Lah J, Shulman J, Levey A, Seyfried N. Changes in the detergent-insoluble brain proteome linked to amyloid and tau in Alzheimer's disease progression. Proteomics 2016;16:3042-3053.
  • Bernstein AI, Lin Y, Street RC, Lin L, Dai Q, Yu L, Bao H, Gearing M, Lah JJ, Nelson PT, He C, Levey AI, Mullé JG, Duan R, Jin P. 5-Hydroxymethylation-associated epigenetic modifiers of Alzheimer's disease modulate tau-induced neurotoxicity. Hum Mol Genet 2016 Jun 15;25(12):2437-2450.
  • Jun G, Ibrahim-Verbaas CA, Vronskaya M, Lambert J-C, Chung J, Naj AC, Kunkle BW, Wang L-S, Bis JC, Bellenguez C, Harold D, Lunetta KL, Destefano AL, Grenier-Boley B, Sims R, Beecham GW, Smith AV, Chouraki V, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Ikram MA, Fievet N, Denning N, Martin ER, Schmidt H, Kamatani Y, Dunstan ML, Valladares O, Laza AR, Zelenika D, Ramirez A, Foroud TM, Choi S-H, Boland A, Becker T, Kukull WA, van der Lee SJ, Pasquier F, Cruchaga C, Beekly D, Fitzpatrick AL, Hanon O, Gill M, Barber R, Gudnason V, Campion D, Love S, Bennett DA, Amin N, Berr C, Tsolaki M, Buxbaum JD, Lopez OL, Deramecourt V, Fox NC, Cantwell LB, Tárraga L, Dufouil C, Hardy J, Crane PK, Eiriksdottir G, Hannequin D, Clarke R, Evans D, Mosley TH Jr, Letenneur L, Brayne C, Maier W, De Jager P, Emilsson V, Dartigues J-F, Hampel H, Kamboh MI, de Bruijn RFAG, Tzourio C, Pastor P, Larson EB, Rotter JI, O'Donovan MC, Montine TJ, Nalls MA, Mead S, Reiman EM, Jonsson PV, Holmes C, St. George-Hyslop PH, Boada M, Passmore P, Wendland JR, Schmidt R, Morgan K, Winslow AR, Powell JF, Carasquillo M, Younkin SG, Jakobsdóttir J, Kauwe JSK, Wilhelmsen KC, Rujescu D, Nöthen MM, Hofman A, Jones L, IGAP Consortium, Haines JL, Psaty BM, Van Broeckhoven C, Holmans P, Launer LJ, Mayeux R, Lathrop M, Goate AM, Escott-Price V, Seshadri S, Pericak-Vance MA, Amouyel P, Williams J, van Duijn CM, Schellenberg GD, Farrer LA. A novel Alzheimer disease locus located near the gene encoding tau protein. Molec Psychiatry 2016;21:108-117.
  • Ridge PG, Hoyt KB, Boehme K, Mukherjee S, Crane PK, Haines JL, Mayeux R, Farrer LA, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD, Kauwe JSK, Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium. Assessment of the genetic variance of late-onset Alzheimer¿s disease. Neurobiol Aging 2016 May;41:200.e13-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.02.024.
  • Umoh ME, Fournier C, Li Y, Polak M, Shaw L, Landers JE, Hu W, Gearing M, Glass JD. Comparative analysis of C9orf72 and sporadic disease in an ALS clinic population. Neurology 2016;87:1024-1030.
  • Dammer EB, Lee AK, Duong D, Gearing M, Lah JJ, Levey AI, Seyfried N. Quantitative phosphoproteomics of Alzheimer's disease reveals crosstalk between kinases and small heat shock proteins. Proteomics 2015.;15:508-519.
  • Rangaraju S, Gearing M, Jin L-W, Levey A. Potassium channel Kv1.3 is highly expressed by microglia in Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimer¿s Dis 2015;44:797-808.

Book Chapters -

  • Gearing M, Mirra SS. Neuropathology of movement disorders: An overview. In: Watts RL, Koller WC, eds. Movement Disorders: Neurologic Principles and Practice. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004:143-158.
  • Mirra SS, Schneider JA, Gearing M. Neuropathology of movement disorders: An overview. In: Watts RL, Koller WC, eds. Movement Disorders: Neurologic Principles and Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997:125-134.
  • Mirra SS, Gearing M. The neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. In: Morris JC, ed. Handbook of Dementing Illnesses. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1994:189-226.

Other Publications -

  • Reitz C, Mayeux R, for the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium. TREM2 and neurodegenerative disease. N Engl J Med 2013;369:1564-1565
  • Mirra SS, Gearing M, Nash F. The neuropathological assessment of Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1997;49(Suppl 3):S14-S16.
  • Mirra SS, Gearing M. Brain infarction and the clinical expression of Alzheimer disease. The Nun Study [letter]. JAMA 1997;278:113.
  • Gearing M, Mirra SS, Hedreen JC, Sumi SM, Hansen LA, Heyman A. AD Neuropathology: Reply. Neurology 1996;46:1186-1187.
  • Mirra SS, Gearing M, McKeel DW, Crain BJ, Hughes JP, van Belle G, Heyman A. Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease: Reply. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 1995;54:131.
  • Mirra SS, Gearing M, Heyman A. CERAD Guide to the Neuropathological Assessment of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias. Copyright CERAD, 1994.
  • Mirra S, Gearing M, Sumi SM, Crain B, Heyman A, CERAD neuropathologists. The neuropathological assessment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: The CERAD experience. In: Corain B, Iqbal K, Nicolini M, Winblad B, Wisniewski H, Zatta P, eds. Alzheimer's Disease: Advances in Clinical and Basic Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 1993:207-211. Presented at the 3rd International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Padua, Italy.