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Kristen Maynard, Ph.D. is an Investigator in the Molecular Neuroanatomy Division at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at Bowdoin College and completed her doctoral degree in neuroscience at Yale University where she studied mechanisms governing cortical neuron development. Dr. Maynard received specialized training in translational research through the Yale Medical Research Scholars Program and joined the then-newly established Lieber Institute for a postdoctoral fellowship in biological psychiatry with Dr. Keri Martinowich in 2012. Using cell type-specific molecular profiling techniques in combination with circuit biology and systems neuroscience in mice, she identified novel links between gene expression, plasticity, and behavior in the context of chronic stress, fear regulation, aggression, and social behavior. She was recruited as a Research Scientist to advance novel methodologies and tools for studying gene expression with single cell and spatial resolution in postmortem human brain. In collaboration with her colleagues, Dr. Maynard conducted the first transcriptome-scale spatial gene expression studies in human cortex using Visium spatial transcriptomics technology. Her cross-species research program integrates circuit-specific studies in mice with cell type-specific molecular studies in postmortem human brain to identify novel mechanisms underlying psychiatric disease and addiction for the development of therapeutic targets.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Full list of publications available on Google Scholar:


Ramnauth A*, Maynard KR*+, Kardian A, Phan B, Tippani M, Rajpurohit S, Hobbs J, Page S, Jaffe A, Martinowich K, “Induction of Bdnf from promoter I following electroconvulsive seizures contributes to structural plasticity in neurons of the piriform cortex.” Brain Stimulation, 15(2), 427-433, 2022, PMID: 35183789, PMCID: PMC8957536 . *equal contributors, +corresponding author

Pardo B, Spangler A, Weber L, Page S, Hicks S, Jaffe A, Martinowich K, Maynard KR, Collado-Torres L, “spatialLIBD: an R/Bioconductor package to visualize spatially-resolved transcriptomics data,” BMC Genomics, 23(1), 434, 2022, PMID: 35689177, PMCID: PMC9188087

Huuki-Myers LA, Montgomery KD, Kwon S, Page SC, Hicks SC, Maynard KR+, Collado-Torres L+, “Data-driven Identification of Total RNA Expression Genes (TREGs) for Estimation of RNA Abundance in Heterogeneous Cell Types,” bioRxiv, +co-corresponding author


Maynard K*, Collado-Torres L*, Weber L, Uytingco C, Barry B, Williams S, Catallini J, Tran M, Besich Z, Tippani M, Chew J, Yin Y, Kleinman J, Hyde T, Rao N, Hicks S, Martinowich K, Jaffe E. “Transcriptome-scale spatial gene expression in the human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Nature Neuroscience, 24, 425-436, 2021, PMID: 33603232. *equal contributors

Tran M*, Maynard K*, Spangler A, Huuki L, Montgomery K,  Sadashivaiah V, Tippani M, Barry B, Hancock D, Hicks S, Kleinman J, Hyde T, Collado-Torres L, Jaffe A, Martinowich K. “Single-nucleus transcriptome analysis reveals cell type-specific molecular signatures across reward circuitry in the human brain,” Neuron, 109(19): 3088-3103, 2021, PMID: 34582785.  *equal contributors

Takahashi Y, Maynard K, Tippani M, Jaffe A, Martinowich K, Kleinman J, Weinberger D, Hyde T, “Single molecule in situ hybridization reveals distinct localizations of schizophrenia risk-related transcripts SNX19 and AS3MT in human brain,” Molecular Psychiatry, 2021, doi 10.1038/s41380-021-01046-9, PMID: 33649454.


Maynard K+, Tippani M, Takahashi Y, Phan B, Hyde T, Jaffe A+, Martinowich K.  “dotdotdot: an automated approach to quantify multiplex single molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization (smFISH) images in complex tissues.” Nucleic Acids Research, 48 (11), e6, 2020; PMID: 32383753; PMCID: PMC7293004. +co-corresponding author

Maynard K+, Jaffe A, Martinowich K. “Spatial transcriptomics: putting genome-wide expression on the map,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 45 (1), 232-233, 2020. PMID: 31444395; PMCID: PMC6879618. +corresponding author

Maynard K, Kardian A, Hill J, Mai Y, Barry B, Hallock H, Jaffe A, Martinowich K, “TrkB Signaling Influences Gene Expression in Cortistatin-Expressing Interneurons, eNeuro, 7(1), 2020, doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0310-19.2019, PMID: 31941661; PMCID: PMC7031852.


Hallock HL, Quillian HM, Mai Y, Maynard KR, Hill JL, Martinowich K, “Manipulation of a genetically and spatially defined sub-population of BDNF-expressing neurons potentiates learned fear and decreases hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony in mice,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 44(13), 2239-2246, 2019, PMID: 31170726, PMCID: PMC6898598.

2018 and earlier:

Maynard K, Hobbs J, Rajpurohit S, Martinowich K,  “Electroconvulsive seizures influence dendritic spine morphology and BDNF expression in a neuroendocrine model of depression,” Brain Stimulation, 11 (4), 856-859, 2018 PMID: 29674117; PMCID: PMC6245665.

Maynard K, Hobbs J, Phan B, Gupta A, Rajpurohit S, Williams C, Rajpurohit N, Shin J, Jaffe A, Martinowich K, “BDNF-TrkB signaling in oxytocin neurons contributes to maternal behavior,” ELife, Sep 7;7, 2018, PMID: 30192229; PMCID: PMC6135608.

Maynard K, Hill J, Calcaterra N, Palko M, Kardian A, Paredes D, Sukumar M, Adler B, Jimenez D, Schloesser R, Tessarollo L, Lu B, Martinowich K, “Functional role of BDNF production from unique promoters in aggression and serotonin signaling,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(8), 1943-55, 2016. PMID: 26585288; PMCID: PMC4908631.




A major goal of our research is to define the molecular neuroanatomy of key structures in the human brain implicated in reward processing.  Using this molecular information, we aim to identify cell populations and circuits vulnerable to genetic risk for neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction to advance the development of therapeutic targets.  To accomplish our goals, we take a cross-species approach that integrates cell type- and region-specific molecular profiling in the postmortem human brain with circuit-specific molecular profiling in rodents. We use cutting-edge multi-omic technologies such as single-cell sequencing and spatially-resolved transcriptomics.



Interested in joining our Molecular Neuroanatomy team? Check out our careers page or contact

We’re hiring for:

Research Assistant
Research Associate
Staff Scientist I

Heena Divecha, Research Associate

Sophia Cinquemani, Research Assistant

Ege Yalcinbas, Postdoctoral Fellow

Ege is a postdoctoral trainee with the Neural Plasticity/Molecular Neuroanatomy teams at the Lieber Institute and was awarded a Johns Hopkins Psychiatry and Neuroscience T32 postdoctoral fellowship. Her main project seeks to understand how neuronal projections from the habenula to dopaminergic and serotonergic neuromodulatory hubs are implicated in motivated behaviors and neuropsychiatric disorders, including opioid use disorder. Ege graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Neuroscience with Distinction and a minor in Education, and she obtained her Ph.D. in Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego.

Sang Ho Kwon, Johns Hopkins Graduate Student (BCMB)

Erik Nelson, Johns Hopkins Graduate Student (CMM)

Jashandeep Lobana, Johns Hopkins Undergraduate (Neuroscience)

Annie Nguyen, Johns Hopkins Undergraduate (Neuroscience)


Check out our available positions …

Postdoctoral Fellow–Molecular Anatomy

Research Associate–Molecular Anatomy

Staff Scientist I–Molecular Anatomy