Marina Spanos, PhD

Faculty Research Affiliate, Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development

Dr. Spanos is a translational neurobiologist. Currently, Dr. Spanos’s research aims to better understand the relationship between the brain oxytocin system and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her current research interests are focused on elucidating the relationship between ASD and the underlying oxytocin system and their resulting effects on the brain and social behavior. Using her chemistry background she has helped to develop a novel intranasal oxytocin formulation for an NIH Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) grant focusing on the study of intranasal oxytocin in autism to improve reciprocal social behaviors (SOARS-B). She is interested in drug development and hopes to use her training in both chemistry and neurobiology to help develop/optimize new pharmacologic interventions for ASD.  She is also interested in establishing better methods/instruments to monitor safety in pediatric psychiatric clinical trials. Dr Spanos hopes to help establish a comprehensive, yet clinically relevant, method to longitudinally monitor adverse events (AEs) in psychiatric trials.

Dr. Spanos received her undergraduate biology/chemistry degree, and her masters in chemistry, from Virginia Tech. Dr. Spanos received her Ph.D in Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she examined the developmental differences in ERK/MAPK signaling  and behavior between adolescent and adult mice after alcohol exposure. In May 2013, Dr. Spanos joined the lab of Dr. Linmarie Sikich as a Postdoctoral Associate, where she continued her training in clinical neuroscience.