Dani Dumitriu, MD, PhD

Board Certifications: 
Treats Children
Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Administrative Titles

  • Co-Chair, The WiSE Club, Psychiatry
  • Director of Translational Science, Nurture Science Program
  • Training Faculty, Columbia Doctoral Program in Neurobiology & Behavior

Dani Dumitriu, MD, PhD, is a Pediatrician, Neuroscientist and Environmental Health Scientist. She joined Columbia Univerisity as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (in Psychiatry) in November 2018. She dedicates 80% of her time to basic science research into the neurobiological basis of resilience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and 20% time to caring for newborns in the Well-Baby Nursery at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York.

The overarching goal of Dr. Dumitriu's research program is to understand and harness the neurocircuits of resilience to spearhead novel approaches to primary prevention.

During the last century, medicine has made unprecedented progress in the treatment of disease. In contrast, much less focus has been placed on parallel advancement for the prevention of disease. Consequently, the largest current worldwide disease burden comes from preventable mental and physical illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, and hypertension. Stressful life events, particularly during critical developmental periods, have been linked to increased risk of virtually all diseases, including metabolic and cardiovascular ones, and a significant effort is underway to understand stress-induced biological consequences. However, even in the presence of the most severe stressors, some individuals remain resistant to the development of stress-induced pathology. Identifying the neurobiological basis for this natural resilience can therefore lead to the development of novel preventative strategies aimed at strengthening resiliency neurocircuits.

To tackle the mechanisms for individual variability in stress-responses, the DOOR lab uses several animal models, with the overarching unifying goal of understanding the structure, function, and Developmental Origins Of Resilience. In a mouse model of adult social defeat stress, we dissect preexisting neurocircuit structure-function differences in susceptible versus resilient animals using state-of-the-art tools including in vivo chemogenetics, optogenetics, and miniscope imaging, and ex vivo super-resolution imaging of dendritic spines, whole-brain imaging of functional or structural connectivity using a variety of genetic and/or viral labeling tools, and graph theoretical analysis of co-activation patterns as a proxy for functional connectomics. In a separate set of experiments, we combine rat early life maternal separation with wireless EEG and/or EKG recordings in dams and their pups. This data is used to understand individual variability in developmental trajectories and the role of dam-pup autonomic synchrony as a possible protective factor. Parallel EKG recordings and synchrony analyses are being conducted during mother-infant interactions in the newborn nursery. Finally, the lab is spearheading a study on wild rat stress-responses, asking the simple question: do depressive-like states occur in the wild, or are they a genetic and environmental epiphenomenon of laboratory breeding?

In addition to answering questions about the neurobiological basis for resilience, the DOOR lab is committed to the development of new tools and to the movement toward open science. In collaborative work with two different engineering groups, we are developing novel wireless telemetry devices for wild rats and a robotic solution for single neuron microinjections. Recently, we also launched a website, MouseCircuits.org, as an open science repository of chemogenetic and optogenetic circuit dissection.

Hospital Affiliations

  • NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia
  • NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital


  • Romanian
  • Swedish


  • Female

Insurance Accepted


  • EPO
  • HMO
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • NY Signature
  • NYP Employee Plan
  • POS
  • PPO
  • Signature Administrators
  • Student Health


  • EPO
  • Great West
  • HMO
  • POS
  • PPO


  • Medicare Managed Care
  • PPO


  • ConnectiCare
  • EPO
  • Essential Plan
  • HMO
  • Medicaid Managed Care
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • POS
  • PPO
  • Select Care (Exchange)
  • Vytra

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • EPO
  • HMO
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • POS
  • PPO

Local 1199

  • Local 1199


  • MagnaCare


  • Multiplan

MVP Health Care

  • Child/Family Health Plus
  • Essential Plan
  • HMO
  • Medicaid Managed Care

Oxford Health Plans

  • Freedom
  • Liberty
  • Medicare Managed Care


  • Columbia University Employee Plan
  • Compass (Exchange)
  • HMO
  • Medicaid (Community Plan)
  • Medicare Managed Care
  • POS
  • PPO

*Please contact the provider’s office directly to verify that your particular insurance is accepted.

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Residency: Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Fellowship: Mount Sinai Hospital

Board Certifications

  • Pediatrics

Honors & Awards

2000 Highest Honors, UC, Santa Barbara, CA

2000 Academic Excellence Award, UC, Santa Barbara, CA

2002 Gordon Research Conference in Synaptic Transmission travel award, Meriden, NH

2008 NIMH F30 Ruth L Kirschtein National Research Service Award

2009 National MD/PhD Student Conference Travel Award, Keystone, CO

2010 Analytical and Quantitative Light Microscopy scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory, MA

2010 Biological Methods in Comp Neuroscience scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory, MA

2012 NINDS/AUPN/ANA Combining Research and Clinical Careers in Neuroscience, DC

2015 NARSAD Young Investigator Award

2016 Reach for Your First R01 scholar, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY

2016 AAP SOPT Partner for Resilience

2017 Kurt Hirschhorn MD Clinician-Scientist Award, Kravis Children’s Hospital, NY

2018 2019 Society for Biological Psychiatry Domestic Travel Fellowship Award


Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Original Contributions

  1. Gotay CC, Dumitriu D. Health food store recommendations for breast cancer patients. Arch Fam Med. 2000 Aug;9(8):692-9
  2. Cossart R, Petanjek Z, Dumitriu D, Hirsch JC, Ben-Ari Y, Esclapez M, Bernard C. Interneurons targeting similar layers receive synaptic inputs with similar kinetics. Hippocampus. 2006;16(4):408-20(Contribution: developed new analytic approach and worked with a company on design and implementation of proposed data acquisition method, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript revision)
  3. Dumitriu D, Cossart R, Huang J, Yuste R. Correlation between axonal morphologies and synaptic input  kinetics of interneurons from mouse visual cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2007 Jan;17(1):81-91
  4. Dumitriu D, Hao J, Hara Y, Kaufmann J, Janssen WGM, Lou W, Rapp PR, Morrison JH. Selective changes in thin spine density and morphology in monkey prefrontal cortex correlate with aging-induced cognitive impairment. J Neurosci 2010; Jun 2; 30(22):7507-15  PMCID: PMC2892969
  5. LaPlant Q, Vialou V, Covington HE, Dumitriu D, Feng J, Warren BL, Maze I, Dietz DM, Watts EL, Iniguez SD, Koo JW, Mouzon E, Renthal W, Hollis F, Wang H, Noonan MA, Ren Y, Eisch AJ, Bolanos CA, Kabbaj M, Xiao G, Neve RL, Hurd YL, Oosting RS, Fan G, Morrison JH, Nestler EJ. Dnmt3a regulates emotional behavior and spine plasticity in the nucleus accumbens. Nat Neurosci :1137-1143PMCID: PMC2928863  (Contribution: dendritic spine study design, single cell microinjections, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript revision)
  6. Christoffel D,Golden S, Dumitriu D, Robison A, Janssen W, Ahn H, Krishnan V, Reyes C, Han M, Ables J, Eisch A, Dietz D, Ferguson D, Greengard P, Neve R, Kim Y, Morrison JH, Russo SJ.IkappaB kinase regulates social defeat stress induced synaptic and behavioral plasticity. J Neurosci 2011; Jan 5; 31(1):314-21PMCID: PMC3219041(Contribution: dendritic spine study design, single cell microinjections, data analysis and interpretation)
  7. Dumitriu D, Rodriguez A, Morrison JH. High-throughput, detailed, cell-specific neuroanatomy of dendritic spines using microinjection and confocal microscopy. Nat Prot 2011; Aug 25; 6(9): 1391-411  PMCID: PMC3566769
  8. Dumitriu D, Laplant Q, Grossman Y, Dias C, Janssen WG, Morrison JH, Nestler EJ. Subregional, dendritic compartment, and spine subtype specificity in cocaine-regulation of dendritic spines in the nucleus accumbens. J Neurosci 2012; May 16; 32(20):6957-66  PMCID: PMC3360066
  9. Dumitriu D, Berger SI, Hamo C, Hara Y, Bailey M, Grossman YS, Janssen WG, Morrison JH. Vamping: Stereology-based automated quantification of fluorescent puncta size and density. J Neurosci Methods 2012; Jun 7; 209(1):97-105  PMCID: PMC3402578
  10. Young ME, Ohm DT, Dumitriu D, Rapp PR, Morrison JH. Differential effects of aging on dendritic spines in visual cortex and prefrontal cortex of the rhesus monkey. Neuroscience 2014; Aug 22; 274:33-43PMCID: PMC4108992(Contribution: developed method enabling study, study design, single cell microinjections, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript revision)
  11. Pereira AC, Lambert HK, Grossman YS, Dumitriu D, Waldman R, Jannetty SK, Calakos K, Janssen WG, McEwen BS, Morrison JH. Glutamatergic regulation prevents hippocampal-dependent age-related cognitive decline through dendritic spine clustering. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2014; Dec 30; 111(52): 18733-8 PMCID: PMC4284552(Contribution: study design, single cell microinjections, data analysis and interpretation, developed new analytic approach)
  12. Takahashi A, Chung J, Zhang S, Zhang H, Grossman YS, Aleyasin H, Flanigan ME, Pfau ML, Menard C, Dumitriu D, Hodes GE, McEwen BS, Nestler EJ, Han MH, Russo SJ. Establishment of a repeated social defeat stress model in female mice. Scientific Reports 2017; Oct 9; 7(1):12838 PMCID: PMC5634448 (Contribution: my lab took part in a multi-lab effort to generate a female counterpart for social defeat stress.)
  13. Chan TE, Grossman YS, Bloss EB, Janssen WG, Lou W, McEwen BS, Dumitriu D, Morrison JH. Cell-type specific changes in glial morphology and glucocorticoid expression during stress and aging in the medial prefrontal cortex. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 2018; May 23; 10; 146 PMCID: PMC594224 (Contribution: my lab designed experiments and developed image analysis software)
  14. Motley S, Grossman YS, Janssen, WG, Baxter M, Rapp P, Dumitriu D, Morrison JH. Selective loss of thin spines in area 7a of the primate intraparietal sulcus predicts age-related working memory impairment. Journal of Neuroscience 2018; Oct 24 [epub ahead of print] PMCID pending (Contribution: paper represents thesis work of Sarah Motley, a graduate student co-mentored by Drs. Dumitriu and Morrison)
  15. Smith TM, Austin C, Green DR, Joannes-Boyau R, Bailey S, Dumitriu D, Fallon S, Grün R, Jaimes HF, Moncel M-H, Williams IS, Wood R, Arora M. Wintertime stress, nursing, and lead exposure in Neanderthal children. Scientific Advances 2018; Oct 31 [epub ahead of print] PMCID: PMC6209393 (Contribution: my lab developed imaging techniques for teeth)

Book Chapters

  1. Tashiro A, Aaron G, Aronov D, Cossart R, Dumitriu D, Fenstermaker V, Goldberg J, Hamzei-Sichani F, Ikegaya Y, Konur S, MacLean J, Nemet B, Nikolenko V, Portera-Cailliau C, Yuste R (2006) Chapter 41: Imaging brain slices. in Handbook of Biological Confocal Microscopy, 3rd ed, ed Pawley JB, Springer, New York, New York

Reviews and Editorials

  1. Dumitriu D. Author's comment. Arch Fam Med. 2000 Aug;9(8):699
  2. Dumitriu D, Collins K, Alterman R, Mathew S. Neurostimulatory therapeutics in management of treatment-resistant depression with focus on deep brain stimulation. Mt Sinai J Med. 2008 May-Jun;75(3):263-75
  3. Alterman RL, Dumitriu D, Mathew S. Deep brain stimulation for major depressive disorder. Clinical Neuropsychiatry 2009; 6(6):259-265
  4. Russo SJ, Dietz DM, Dumitriu D, Malenka RC, Nestler EJ. The addicted synapse: mechanisms of synaptic and structural plasticity in nucleus accumbens. TINS 2010; Jun; 33(6):267-76PMCID: PMC2891948
  5. Dumitriu D, Rapp PR, McEwen BS, Morrison JH. Estrogen and the aging brain: An elixir for the weary cortical network? Ann NY Acad Sci 2010; Aug; 1204:104-12  PMCID: PMC2951002
  6. Bailey ME, Wang AC, Hao J, Janssen WG, Hara Y, Dumitriu D, Hof PR, Morrison JH. Interactive effects of age and estrogen on cortical neurons: implications for cognitive aging. Neuroscience 2011; Sep 15; 191:148-58PMCID: PMC3166405
  7. Dumitriu D. Past Medical Story. Neurology. 2012; Sep 18;79(12):e98-e100