Neurological Surgery Department
Neuroepigenetics of human behavior
Uw Psychiatric Inst & Clinics
6001 Research Park Blvd
Madison, WI 53719
Transcriptional Mechanisms; Systems Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine
My research focuses on the role of DNA methylation in human disease processes. My laboratory utilizes an innovative interdisciplinary combination of brain imaging and state-of-the-art molecular genetic methods to investigate molecular contributions to psychiatric disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, etc.). We extensively utilize rodent and non-human primate models to study the temporal and spatial changes of DNA methylation throughout neurodevelopment and due to prenatal/early life stimulus. Recently, we identified a gene by environment interaction that results in repetitive behaviors and social deficits, which suggested that DNA methylation (5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC)) contributes to this outcome. Together, these findings will identify stress-related molecular targets in the brain that are influenced by environmentally sensitive epigenetic mechanisms and are involved in developmental brain disorders.