Marie Carlén, Ph.D.


Dr. Marie Carlén is an associate professor and group leader at the Department of Neuroscience, and the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Marie received her Ph.D. in medicine from Karolinska Institutet in 2005. Her doctoral studies were conducted in the laboratory of Professor Jonas Frisén and focused on stem cells and neurogenesis in the adult brain and spinal cord. Marie went to Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), Boston, for postdoc studies in the laboratory of Professor Li-Huei Tsai at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. During her postdoc Marie investigated how the activity of inhibitory interneurons expressing parvalbumin (PV) relate to cortical oscillatory activities and cognitive functions.

In 2010 Marie was recruited back to Karolinska Institutet, and her laboratory is investigating cellular and circuit underpinning of cognition, with a focus on the prefrontal cortex. 

Current positions
  • From July 2013: Associate Professor & Principal Investigator (Permanent position) Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet
  • From Jan 2017: Associate Professor & Principal Investigator (Permanent position) Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet
Previous positions
  • 2010-2013: Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.
Postdoctoral research
  • 2007-2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA. Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Supervisor: Professor Li-Huei Tsai
  • 2005-2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet. Supervisor: Professor Jonas Frisén
PhD studies
  • PhD in Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2000-2005. Thesis: ‘ Adult neurogenesis – from stem cell to functional neuron’. Supervisor: Professor Jonas Frisén, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

BSc in Biology, Stockholm University, 1996-1999


Awards and distinctions
  • Wallenberg Scholar (medicine). 2019 (5 years)
  • Karolinska Institutet Senior Researcher. 2017 (5 years)
  • Wallenberg Academy Fellow (medicine) Prolongation. 2017 (6 years)
  • Consolidation grant from Swedish Research Foundation. 2016 (6 years)
  • CIMED Junior Investigator. 2016 (5 years)
  • Karolinska Institutet Researcher. 2014 (2 years)
  • ERC Starting Grant, LS5 Neuroscience 2013
  • Wallenberg Academy Fellow. 2012 (medicine) (5 years)
  • Ragnar Söderberg Fellow in Medicine 2012 (5 years)
  • 2012 Freedman Prize Honorable Mention for Outstanding Research in Basic Brain and Behavior Science. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (former NARSAD).
  • Sven och Ebba-Christina Hagbergs Prize 2010. Awarded every 2nd year by Karolinska Institutet.
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award 2010
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award 2008
  • PIIF: Picower Institute Innovation Fund 2007 (MIT; Cambridge, USA)
  • Keystone Symposium on Stem Cells. 2006 Scholarship
  • Award of Excellence: The Alzheimer’s Association Route28 Summits in Neurobiology, 2001

Bibliography, in reversed chronological order

*) equal contribution

A critical role for trkB signaling in the adult function of parvalbumin interneurons and prefrontal network dynamics.
Guyon N, Rakauskas Zacharias L, van Lunteren JA, Immenschuh J, Fuzik J, Märtin A, Xuan Y, Zilberter M, Kim H, Meletis K, Lopes-Aguiar C, Carlén M

(2021) Journal of Neuroscience. 2021 Apr 7;41(14):3120-3141

Network asynchrony underlying increased broadband gamma power. 
Guyon N, Rakauskas Zacharias L, Rermino de Oliveira E, Kim H, Pereria Leite J, Lopes-Aguiar C*/Carlén M*
(2021) Journal of Neuroscience. 2021 Mar 31;41(13):2944-2963

Neuronal oscillations and the mouse prefrontal cortex. Book chapter
Jung F, Carlén M.
(2021) International Review of Neurobiology. 158:337-372. ISSN 0074-7742. Elsevier Inc. doi: 10.1016/bs.irn.2020.11.005

A latent lineage potential in resident neural stem cells enables spinal cord repair
Llorens-Bobadilla E, Chell JM, Le Merre P, Wu Y, Zomboni M, Bergenstråhle J, Stenudd M, Sopova E, Lundeberg J, Shupliakov O, Carlén M, Frisén J
(2020). Science. 2020 Oct 2;370(6512):eabb8795

The DMCdrive: practical 3D-printable micro-drive system for reliable chronic multitetrode recording and optogenetic application in freely behaving rodents
Kim H* / Brünner H*, Carlén M.
(2020) Scientific Reports Jul 16;10(1):11838

A hypothalamus-habenula circuit controls aversion.
Lazaridis I, Tzortzi O, Weglage M, Märtin A, Xuan Y, Parent M, Johansson Y, Fuzik J, Fürth D, Fenno LE, Ramakrishnan C, Silberberg G, Deisseroth K, Carlén M, Meletis, K.
(2019) Molecular Psychiatry. Sep;24(9):1351-1368

A whole-brain atlas of the monosynaptic input targeting four different cell-types in the prefrontal cortex of the mouse.
Ährlund-Richter S* / Xuan Y*, van Lunteren JA, Kim H, Ortiz C, Pollak Dorocic I, Meletis K, Carlén M.
(2019) Nature Neuroscience. Apr;22(4):657-668.

Reducing pericyte-derived scarring promotes recovery after spinal cord injury.
Dias DO, Kim H, Holl D, Solnestam BW, Lundeberg J, Carlén M, Göritz C*/ Frisén J*.
(2018) Cell. Mar 22;173(1):153-165.e22.

An interactive framework for whole-brain maps at cellular resolution.
Fürth D, Vaissière T, Tzortzi O, Xuan Y, Lazaridis I, Spigolon G, Fisone G, Tomer R, Deissoerth K, Carlén M, Miller C, Rumbaugh G. Meletis K.
(2018) Nature Neuroscience. Jan;21(1):139-149

What constitutes the prefrontal cortex? Review
Carlén, M.
(2017) Science. Oct 27; 285(6362):478-82.

Prefrontal parvalbumin neurons in control of attention.
Kim H, Ährlund-Richter S, Wang X, Deisseroth K, Carlén M.
(2016) Cell. Jan 14:164(1-2):208-218

Structural foundations of optogenetics: Determinants of channelrhodopsin ion selectivity.
Berndt A, Lee SY, Wietek J, Ramakrishnan C, Steinberg EE, Rashid AJ, Kim H, Park S, Santoro A, Frankland PW, Iyer SM, Pak S, Ährlund-Richter S, Delp SL, Malenka RC, Josselyn SA, Carlén M, Hegemann P, Deisseroth K.
(2016) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 26;113(4):822-9

The Diameter of Cortical Axons and Their Relevance to Neural Computing. Book chapter
Innocenti GM, Carlén M, Dyrby TB.
(2015) Axons and Brain Architecture. Dec 15. ISBN: 978-0-12-801393-9. Elsevier Inc.

Loss of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 from parvalbumin interneurons leads to hyperinhibition, decreased anxiety, and memory impairment.
Rudenko A, Seo J, Hu J, Su SC, de Anda FC, Durak o, Ericsson m, Carlén M, Tsai L-H.
(2015) Journal of Neuroscience. Feb 11;35(6):2372-83.

A whole-brain atlas of inputs to serotonergic neurons of the dorsal and median raphe nuclei.
Pollak Dorocic I, Fürth D, Xuan Y, Johansson Y, Pozzi L, Silberberg G, Carlén M, Meletis K.
(2014) Neuron. Aug 6;83(3):663-78.

Mice lacking NMDA receptors in parvalbumin neurons display normal depression-related behavior and response to antidepressant action of NMDAR antagonists.
Pozzi L, Dorocic IP, Wang X, Carlén M, Meletis K.
(2014) PLoS One. Jan 16;9(1):e83879.

Target selectivity of feedforward inhibition by striatal fast-spiking interneurons.
Szydlowski SN, Pollak Dorocic I, Planert H, Carlén M, Meletis K* / Silberberg G*.
(2013) Journal of Neuroscience. Jan 23;33(4):1678-83.

A critical role for NMDA receptors in parvalbumin interneurons for gamma rhythm induction and behavior.
Carlén M*/ Meletis K*, Siegle J, Cardin J, Futai K, Vierling-Claasen D, Ruhlmann C, Jones S, Deisseroth K, Sheng M, Moore C, Tsai LH.
(2012) Molecular Psychiatry. May; 17(5)537-48

Optogenetic dissection of cortical information processing – shining light on schizophrenia. Review
Wang X, Carlén M.
(2012) Brain Research. Oct 2; 1476: 31-7. 

Chronically implanted hyperdrive for cortical recording and optogenetic control in behaving mice. Siegle JH, Carlén M, Meletis K, Tsai LH, Moore CI, Ritt J.
(2011) Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc.:7529-32.

Efficient reprogramming of adult neural stem cells to monocytes by ectopic expression of a single gene.
Forsberg M* / Carlén M*, Meletis K, Yeung MS, Barnabé-Heider F, Persson MA, Aarum J, Frisén J.
(2010) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 17;107(33):14657-61.

Targeted optogenetic stimulation and recording of neurons in vivo using cell-type-specific expression of Channelrhodopsin-2.
Cardin JA* / Carlén M*, Meletis K, Knoblich U, Zhang F, Deisseroth K, Tsai LH, Moore C.
(2010) Nature Protocols. Jan 21 5(2):247-254

Neocortical Interneurons: From Diversity, Strength. Review
Moore CI, Carlén M, Knoblich U, Cardin J.
(2010) Cell. Jul 21; 142(2):184-88. 

Driving fast-spiking cells induces gamma rhythm and controls sensory responses.
Cardin JA* / Carlén M*, Meletis K, Knoblich U, Zhang F, Deisseroth K, Tsai LH, Moore C.
(2009) Nature. Jun 4;459(7247):663-7.

Forebrain ependymal cells are Notch-dependent and generate neuroblasts and astrocytes after stroke.
Carlén M, Meletis K, Göritz C, Darsalia V, Evergren E, Tanigaki K, Amendola M, Barnabé-Heider F, Yeung MSY, Naldini L, Honjo T, Kokaia Z, Shupliakov O, Cassidy RM, Lindvall O, Frisén J.
(2009) Nature Neuroscience. Mar;12(3):259-67.

Spinal Cord Injury Reveals Multilineage Differentiation of Ependymal Cells.
Meletis K*/ Barnabé-Heider F* / Carlén M*, Evergren E, Tomilin N, Shupliakov O, Frisén J.
(2008) PLoS Biology. Jul 22;6(7)

Genetic visualization of neurogenesis.
Carlén M, Meletis K, Barnabé-Heider F, Frisén J.
(2006) Exp Cell Res. Sep 10;312(15):2851-9.

Evidence for neurogenesis in the adult mammalian substantia nigra.
Zhao M* / Momma S*, Delfani K, Carlén M, Cassidy RM, Johansson CB, Brismar H, Shupliakov O, Frisen J, Janson AM.
(2003) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 24;100(13): 7925-30.

Gene delivery to adult neural stem cells.
Falk A* / Holmström N*, Carlén M, Cassidy R, Lundberg C, Frisén J.
(2002) Exp Cell Res. Sep 10; 279(1): 34-9.

Functional integration of adult born neurons.
Carlén M* / Cassidy RM*, Brismar H, Smith GA, Enquist LW, Frisén J.
(2002) Current Biology. Apr 2, 12(7): 606-08



  • Neuroscience Day, Lund University Neuroscience, Lund, Sweden. May 6 2021. Canceled
  • Gordon Research Conference (GRC) “Inhibition in the CNS”. Les Diablerets, Switzerland. July 18-23 2021. Postponed to 2023
  • JANUBET Young Scientists Meeting. Athens, Greece. April 21-23 2021. Postponed to 2022
  • Neural circuit basis of computation and behavior. CAJAL Training programme. Nov 9-27 2020. Postponed to 2022


  • StratNeuro Retreat. Stockholm, Sweden. May 14-45 2020. Postponed
  • Neuroscience Day, Lund University Neuroscience, Lund, Sweden. May 72020. Canceled
  • ECNP Workshop for Early Career Scientist in Europe. Nice, France. March 5-8 2020. Canceled
  • ICM Brain and Spine Institute. Paris, France. March 2 2020.
  • Neuronal circuits and intelligence. Karolinska Institutet-The University of Tokyo workshop. IRCN, Tokyo, Japan. Jan 26-28 2020
  • Conference: Hellenic Neuroscience Society, Heraklion, Greece. Oct 2-6 2019.
  • Research school: Molecular Genetic Tools of the Study of Neural Circuits. Tromsö, Norway. Aug 11-18 2019
  • Conference: 3rd Nordic Neuroscience Meeting 2019. Helsinki, Finland. June 12-14 2019
  • Meeting: 13th Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society. Göttingen, Germany. March 20-23, 2019
  • Conference: FENS 2018, symposium: Resolving the cognitive function of prefrontal circuits: from neurons to behaviour. Berlin, Germany. July 7-11, 2018,
  • Conference: FENS 2018, satellite symposium: Cracking the code: from structural connectomics to neuronal synchrony. Berlin, Germany. July 6, 2018.
  • Symposium: Brain Rhythms in Health and Disease. Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and MIT’s Aging Brain Initiative. MIT, Cambridge, USA. April 4, 2018.
  • Minisymposium: Neuroendocrine interfaces in physiology and disease. Stockholm, Sweden. March 27-28, 2018.
  • Conference: The 2nd conference on The Neurobiology of Mental Health. A NCCR Synsapsy conference. Geneva, Switzerland. Jan 24-46, 2018.
  • Conference: Brain Interfaces – bridging basic and translational neuroscience. Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Jan 3-4, 2018.
  • Graduate training center for Perception in Context. University of Munich, Munich, Germany. Nov 27, 2017
  • Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation 100-year anniversary Molecular Life Science symposium. Stockholm, Sweden. Sep 15, 2017.
  • Cobolt Hübner Days; Why photonics matters in Life Science. Stockholm, Sweden. May 29, 2017.
  • Center for Innovative Medicine (CIMED) retreat. Stockholm, Sweden. May 17 2017
  • StratNeuro retreat. Stockholm, Sweden. May 4, 2017.
  • Kavli Salon: Systems Neuroscience I (Circuit Mechanisms). Havanna, Cuba. Jan 20-21, 2017.
  • Korean Scandinavian Scientists & Engineers Association (KSSEA) Workshop on Bio Technology. Stockholm, October 20-21, 2016.
  • Conference: Ernst Strüngmann Institutet (ESI) Systems Neuroscience conference. Frankfurt, Germany. July 7-8, 2016.
  • Conference: 34th Blankenese Conference on ‘Synaptic Dynamics through life’.Hamburg-Blankenese, Germany. May 10, 2014.
  • Karolinska Institutet, Department of Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics seminar series. April 26, 2016.
  • Donders Centre for Neuroscience seminar series. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. June 2, 2015.
  • Neuro Lunch, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. Dec 9, 2014.
  • Kick-off symposium: the German Priority Program 1665 Resolving and manipulating neuronal networks in the mammalian brain. Hamburg, Germany. March 6, 2014.
  • MASS seminar, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. January 27, 2014.
  • Bagadilico Invited Lecture Series, Lund, Sweden. October 17, 2013. August 30, 2013.
  • Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Trondheim, Norway. April 18, 2013.
  • SciLifeLab The Svedberg Seminar Series. Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. March 18, 2013.
  • University of Eastern Finland (UEF) Brain Consortium. Kupio, Finland. June 13, 2012.
  • Seminars in Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Novum, Sweden. April 24, 2012.
  • Multipark Lectures, Lund University, Sweden. April 19, 2012.
  • Karolinska Institutet, Schizophrenia Lectures, Stockholm, Sweden. March 7, 2012.
  • Stockholm Brain Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Feb 7, 2011.
  • Symposium: Karolinska Institutet / AstraZeneca Gene Delivery Symposium. Nov 17, 2010.
  • Symposium: Neuronal Network Oscillations in Health and Disease Symposium. Nobel Forum, Stockholm, Sweden. Sep, 2010.

Marie Carlen

Senior researcher

Phone: + 46 8 5248 3043
Organizational unit: Department of Neuroscience (Neuro; C4) and Department of Biosciences and Nutrition (BioNut; H2).

ORCID: 0000-0003-1658-1631

Twitter: CarlenLab

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