Marianne L. Seney, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Psychiatry






Education & Training

PhD, University of Massachusetts (2009)


Bridgeside Point II, Suite 231

Research Interest Summary

The molecular basis of sex differences in depression

Our laboratory investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying sex differences in mood disorders.Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to men. In addition, when men and women diagnosed with depression are compared, women tend to have more symptoms and higher symptom severity. Further, women are more likely than men to have a co-morbid anxiety disorder with depression, and men are more likely to have a co-morbid substance abuse disorder. It is not known whether these sex differences in depression represent varying coping strategies or biological differences. Despite these well-known sex differences in depression prevalence and symptomatology, few studies have focused on determining whether sex differences exist in the brain. We recently showed, for the first time, that depression is not only distinct in men and women, but is characterized by opposite molecular pathology, specifically related to immune- and synaptic-related functions. This finding has significant implications for novel treatment development, suggesting that pathology-targeting treatments should be developed separately for men and women. The overall research program of the Seney Lab is twofold. First, we aim to characterize the primary pathology of depression using human postmortem brain resources, with a specific focus on sex-specific immune and synaptic pathologies. Second, we use relevant mouse models to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying the sex differences observed in humans with depression. Our work combines molecular, cellular, and behavioral approaches, with the overall goal of helping to develop more effective, and potentially sex-specific treatments for depression.  

Seney ML, Cahill K, Enwright JF 3rd, Logan RW, Huo Z, Zong W, Tseng G, McClung CA. Diurnal rhythms in gene expression in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 9;10(1):3355. PMID: 31399567.


Seney ML, Huo Z, Cahill K, French L, Puralewski R, Zhang J, Logan RW, Tseng G, Lewis DA, Sibille E. Opposite molecular signatures of depression in men and women. Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jul 1;84(1):18-27. PMID: 29548746.


Puralewski R, Vasilakis G, Seney ML. Sex-related factors influence expression of mood-related genes in the basolateral amygdala differentially depending on age and stress exposure. Biol Sex Differ. 2016;7:50. PMID: 27660699.


Seney ML, Tripp A, McCune S, Lewis DA, Sibille E. Laminar and cellular analyses of reduced somatostatin gene expression in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex in major depression. Neurobiol Dis. 2015 Jan;73:213-9. PMID: 25315685.


Seney ML, Chang LC, Oh H, Wang X, Tseng GC, Lewis DA, Sibille E. The role of genetic sex in affect regulation and expression of GABA-related genes across species. Front Psychiatry. 2013;4:104. PMID: 24062698.